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Known as a model as well as a singer/songwriter, Tamino found favor with international music audiences with his blend of dark, moody indie rock and classical Arabic melodic accents. Born and raised in Belgium and of Belgian, Egyptian, and Lebanese heritage, his sound reflects his own complex identity, and his idiosyncratic style soon made fans of artists like Lana Del Rey, who invited him on tour, and Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, who appeared on his debut album, 2018's Amir. The follow-up, 2022's Sahar, followed the quietly cinematic lead of the debut. Named for both Prince Tamino in Mozart's The Magic Flute and the Arabic word for "prince," Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad was born in Belgium in 1996. He's the grandson of Egyptian singer and movie-musical star Muharram Fouad, who died in 2002. Several years later, Tamino found his grandfather's antique resonator guitar at a relative's home in Cairo and took it home to Antwerp to fix it up and play it. (He would later use the guitar on tour, although he quickly decided it was too fragile and left it at home.) At 17, he studied voice at the Amsterdam Royal Conservatory. His first single, "Habibi," appeared in 2016, but his music career was launched in earnest when he won a talent competition held by Dutch-language radio station Studio Brussel in 2017. By the end of the year, he was being referred to as "the Belgian Jeff Buckley." Invitations to play at festivals rolled in, and after signing with U.K. independent Communion Music, he released the four-song Habibi EP in mid-2018. His debut album, Amir, followed on Communion that October. It included a collaboration with Colin Greenwood and appearances by the Nagham Zikrayat Orchestra. Tamino made his North American debut at the SXSW Festival in March 2019 and opened for Lana Del Rey in June. A deluxe version of Amir including demos and live tracks arrived in October, marking the one-year anniversary of the album. That year, Tamino also appeared in Vogue magazine and in conjunction with clothing designer Missoni's SS19 Collection (with Gisele Bündchen) as a model; he performed one of his songs during Paris Fashion Week festivities. After two years off the radar (including a break from social media accounts) during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned with the single "The First Disciple" in April 2022. He resumed touring that June, and his second album, Sahar, was released by Communion in September of 2022.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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