Sunday, June 19, 2011


He's backkkkkk...yet his spirit never left us. Karl Wolf may be best known for "bless(ing) the rains" down in "Africa" (his first single), but he's been all around the globe. A producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and entrepreneur, he was selected as one of the World’s Most Influential Arabs by’s Power 100 in 2009.

Karl was born in war-affected Lebanon and raised in Dubai before transferring to Montreal with his family when he was 16. " “I was young. I was 3 when the civil war happened in Dubai," Karl tells with - what seems to be over the phone - a subtly composed yet tragically numb tone of voice. "We lost our business, work, etc.; we had no choice but to flee. I only remember so much, but I see it through my parents’ tears, see it through their stories. I want to forget all the negativity and just make my music."

As devastating as a war becomes to one individual as it would to one town, city, or country, Karl still remembers Lebanon for its more upbeat vibe. " Lebanon has less rules, driving – sometimes no one stops at the stoplight J Lebanon is about party or survival." As for Dubai? Well, the binary opposites of work and play definitely blend in juxtaposition. "There is a work ethic taught in schools; in Dubai, it’s very strict. So, I’m used to working hard, which gives me an edge here in Canada. But, Dubai also has the craziest people in the world; it's a real party city. I would invite people to come check it out."

Oddly enough, coming from Dubai himself, Karl doesn't see many differences between his home land and Canada. “Canada’s my home. It’s my family. It’s where I’m from now. Even when I came in 1995, there was no culture shock for me, because where I’m (originally) from is very hip and updated. Living in that part of the world, not many people have access. Dubai was more of a melting pot; British, Dutch people, etc. though." And even though Canada may be somewhat similar to Dubai, Karl doesn't take the Canadian lifestyle or freedom for granted. He is very thankful for how Canada has offered their venue to locate and transport his dreams. “I grew up in Dubai, not Canada. Lifestyle there is a bit different, people aren’t used to being an entertainer or singer not something a reality back then there. But in Canada…never thought it’d be possible growing up there. But I felt different anyway, and being Lebanese and Arabic descent gave me an edge and individuality. East meets west.”

Saying that, Karl is proud to be Arabic, Canadian, and anything else for that matter. "I’m proud to be who I am. It’s not a political statement. Not gunna lie about where I’m from; it’s who I am. If anyone’s gunna be stupid and racist, that’s their prerogative. I wouldn’t want you to be my fan, if you were racist. Who’s to say you’re better than anyone else (because of your race)? I try not to acknowledge racism, because I don’t wanna know about it. I surround myself with positive people"...which is exactly what his song "My Ethnicity" is about. “Dad instilled these thoughts into my head for this song. Remember your roots, and let it be apart of you. Reinforce this to your kids and grandkids.”

Yes, instead of pushing it away, Karl has made culture apart of his identity and music. He has hold and sold two albums previous to NightlifeFace Behind the Face and Bite the Bullet - and has conjured up a storm of musical and cultural strength evident within his Top 5 records in Japan, Lebanon, Egypt, Czech Republic and Dubai. His big breaks in Canada are no less staggering, his single “Africa” was officialized to run 3X platinum, and landed as the #1 spots on MuchMusic (video), the Adult Contemporary Charts (radio) and iTunes influential Pop chart (sales). And yes, Karl shows love for his music and other cultures, as Nightlife was also released in the Middle East and Japan, then in Australia and Europe. On “Love,” Karl protests a need for world peace, singing “Together we can change this world around and you know it.” “Yalla Habibi” - another one of his multiple hits - is Arabic for “let’s go.” Karl celebrates and facilitates a proactive quest for appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism with the earth in its entirety.

It may seem as though Karl popularizes this concept by manipulating his "celebrity," a undeniably powerful influence within society and the media, yet he insists that doesn't get him going. “I want people to shut their eyes, look at my music, and nothing else. I don’t need people to see my celebrity; I don’t act like “I’m the shit.” He wants people to "hear songs the way (he) hears it," especially when he masters his own interpretations of older songs like "Africa." As a producer (and songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and singer AND entrepreneur), he aims to provide the younger generation with the chance to understand how newer remixes derived from their older originals - and without those past opponents, we may not have mused - on the same level - the songs or artists that exist today.

While he adores being both a producer and singer, Karl can hop back and forth between the two based on certain pros and cons. “I like to separate the two, because being a celeb, you have to be in the public eye and look good. But in studio mode (as a producer), I like to grow my beard and look like a bum."

But, being a celebrity definitely has its perks. In 2008, he helped launched MTV Arabia with Akon, Ludacris, and others. "“Akon and Ludacris have been good friends of mine for the past 3 or 4 years. Once you’re respected in the industry, it (becomes) a small world.” Karl's music video for “Africa” was also the first ever to be played on MTV Arabia. In November 2008, Karl won the MTV Europe Music Award for MTV Arabia's Best New Act. Karl has performed across Canada with artists like Akon (with whom he resumes to tour with extensively), Flo Rida, T-Pain, Girlicious, and Sean Kingston.

As for 2011? " My single “Ghetto Love” (ft. Kardinal Offishall) will be released on Itunes on the 28th. My self-titled album (including collaborations with 36 Mafia, Kardinal Offishall, etc.) is out August 16th. I want to tour the world – Holland, Germany, Dubai, Japan.” May Karl bless the world with his music and presence.

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