You may be familiar with Fares Dehbi as ILQ's Weekend Roundup host. But did you know that Fares is also currently on a quest to break a Guinness World Record by learning to sing 90 national anthems in their native languages? Originally from Morocco, the 20-year old has been living in Qatar for 16 years. Always smiling, Fares Dehbi is a young man of many talents and passions - from music, hosting, volunteering, acting, social media, and even public speaking (TEDx)!
Scroll down to read our interview with Fares and find out about his journey into singing, his goal to sing 90 national anthems, his other talents, and passions in life!
Fares: I started singing at 11-years-old when I first got admitted to the Siwar Choir by Al Jazeera Children's Channel. It was a group of young singers between the ages of 10 and 18 years old, and I was glad to start in that choir very young because I stayed with the choir for 7 years until I reached the age of 18.
I got the chance to perform with the choir in various sporting events, private events, annual concerts, and even international concerts outside Qatar. This journey with them built my vocal structure to help me proceed with a singing career if I want to.
I have since performed in Broadway in New York City in 2018, got the chance to perform in the 'Beauty and the Beast Musical' in Qatar, sung in 2 of Dana Al Fardan’s concerts, and done many more local projects in Qatar.
Fares: Years back I wanted to do something different that I can challenge myself in and at the same time merge it with my singing. One day, I saw a Guinness World Record for a girl who learned to sing 76 National Anthems. That inspired me to take the challenge and break her record with 90 national anthems.
It was definitely not easy to learn different national anthems in their national languages, but with dedication and curiosity, I had the chance to start learning them through the help of some friends who are from those countries. I'm currently at 70 national anthems.
I took a break to complete many commitments but I'm hoping to complete the 90 national anthems before the end of this year 2020. What inspired me to do all of this, is the number of friends that I have from around the world. Qatar is a very diverse country, with many different nationalities living here. It's the perfect place to learn different national anthems using my international friends and, at the same time, be introduced to a new language and culture.
Fares: I took vocal classes since the first days of my choir. I was honored to be trained under one of the best sopranos in Europe, Felicitas Fuchs, a German vocalist. As an international opera star, it was an honor for me that she shared her experience and mentored me.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones to not just be trained by her but also from a young age (starting from 11-years-old) and she definitely helped me in so many ways starting from voice control to every aspect of vocals.
Fares: I have been playing the piano for almost 4 years now. I'm self-taught since I haven’t found time to learn piano professionally. As a singer, it's essential to learn an instrument that can support you when you sing anywhere, so learning piano helped me discover another aspect of music in general.
Fares: If you’ll ask me about my inspiration, I wouldn’t have an easy answer for that. I've always been around people moving from one event to another, one office to another, one country to another. All these people I have met have inspired me somehow with their differences and that’s what shaped me to be the person I am today. So, the people that I meet in my daily life are the people who inspire me and push me to keep doing what I am doing.
Fares: Music has always been my first passion in life but later, after graduating from high school, I slowly started to discover other things that really interest me.
I started with ILQ when I got the chance to host one of their shows called “The Weekend Roundup”. That show has opened so many doors in Qatar for me and given me access to meet so many people in the country that share the same interest as me. That’s where I started in social media and gave it all my focus and that helped me start growing my platform locally in Qatar.
That’s why if someone will ask me today, “What do you do?“ it’ll be hard to choose exactly what I do as I am doing so many things at the same time; I'm enjoying it equally and that’s what’s keeping me busy and around people all the time. I know one day I will have to proceed with my university studies, but meanwhile, I am trying to take in as much experience while I can to help me boost the next stage of my life.
Fares: When I was young, volunteering was my only source of having a good time. I was only 13-years-old when my elder siblings used to go volunteering in some events and I would always stick with them and accompany them in what they did.
Even though I used to be the youngest person there, I used to enjoy helping people and being productive with anything possible. As I grew up, it was easier for me to access these opportunities, and I got the chance to volunteer in major sporting events like the Handball Championship 2015, the UCI Championship 2016, the Tennis Open 2017, 2018 and 2019, and many other social events and awareness events that help the community here in Qatar.
Fares: I'm currently in my gap years before university. It felt pretty weird to see friends my age getting to university while I am working in so many sectors like social media, film industry and even performing arts. But, I totally believed that this path that I chose is going to help me move on easily to the next stage in my life.
I have always wanted to open my own business at a young age and start as a young entrepreneur so that could be one of many possibilities for me in the future. But most importantly, I am keeping the same dedication and energy, and will see where it will take me.
In the near future, I have to make the decision of whether I will carry on to university or take it to the next level and start my own business. I'm blessed to have parents who support me in either of these decisions but hopefully, I'll make the right one.
Fares: My biggest achievement so far will definitely be the amount of evolvement I had in the film industry that led me to many awards from the Doha Film Institute and a nomination in Emmy’s International Awards 2018 in the Young Creative Category. Performing in Broadway New York at the age of 18 is definitely one of my biggest achievements that I will cherish, as it boosted me to start performing in many places and live my performing dream.
Fares: I would like to tell the people of Qatar and remind them that this country is full of opportunities and people from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities and that’s what makes this country so special to every resident here.
So, whether you live alone, with your family, or with your flat-mate, you should know that the sky is the limit here in Qatar. The future will always be brighter and I can see it myself since I have been helping so many youths my age to get involved in events and opportunities. Uniting together as a community regardless of our nationality is the only thing that will keep us standing.
Connect with Fares through the following social media accounts:
Now that you know more about Fares, what do you think of his talents and his goal to learn 90 national anthems? Isn't it amazing? Do you know of someone who’s got an exceptional talent or is making a difference in our Qatar community? Drop us a line in the comments below and you could see them highlighted in Qommunity Voices!
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