"What has influenced me most is my country. It's the source of my music.
I was brought up in a music-loving family. The Khairat family has a history of art, going back to our ancestors. I grew up in this family.
I watched my uncle and my father work. My father was an architect and he learnt how to play the piano.
There was a piano in our home. I used to listen to my father play the piano every day. He played the works of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and others. I used to sit next to him when he played the piano.
I tried to re-play what I had heard him play. This attracted my father and uncle's attention. I was lucky that the Conservatoire was established in Cairo in 1959. I applied to join it. I was nine years old then, and I joined the first generation of students at the Conservatoire. It was then that I started my life as a musician. I always wished to become a music composer, like Abu Bakr Khairat. Thank God, I have achieved this dream.
I studied in the Conservatoire. I studied most of the musicians, by analysing their work or by playing their music. I liked all of them; Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Mozart, Bach.
Each of them has influenced music throughout the world. They inspired me to become a music composer and to take a personal interest in other styles of music, such as jazz and oriental music.
Such things have fashioned my musical personality, because of my interests and because I'm an Egyptian.
I heard the music of Umm Kulthum, Riyadh al-Simbati, al-Qasabji, Abdul Halim Hafez. All these big stars. I learnt oriental music, a very beautiful and rich style of music.
We are a people who love the blues. Arabs are affected by the blues. It's different from sadness. Sadness is expressed by another type of music.
The blues touches people's emotions and stirs inexplicable feelings. People love to feel these deep emotions. We Arabs have this emotional sensation, even in our songs, those of Umm Kulthum, Abd al-Halim and Abd al-Wahab. And this feeling is pleasant. I'm an Egyptian. I was raised here. I heard this music and lived these feelings. When I compose music, I think of nothing else. I only say what I feel. This is how my music comes out.
I believe that music is one of the most important forms of art. Actually it is the most important art in our life. I can't imagine life without music."
Next Music Station airs at the following times GMT each week: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.
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Source: Al Jazeera