If you’ve yet to hear of 19-year-old London based singer Houssein, then it’s time you sit up and pay attention.
Growing up with music in his blood, Houssein started his career at the tender age of nine when he starred in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang UK tour, followed up by a two year deal in The Sound of Music touring show.
Stepping away from musical theatre, Houssein started to make a name for himself on social media, racking up huge online success on Vine, the app which launched the careers of the likes of Shawn Mendes, Lele Pons, Cameron Dallas and more. Houssein also enjoyed success on Musical.ly, becoming the UK’s number one solo male artist on the app.
Earlier this year, Houssein made his mark on the music industry with the release of his debut single ‘5 Bucks’. The track was followed up by ‘The Days’, ‘Summer Night’, and his most recent single ‘Tokyo’.
With each single, Houssein has managed to give us a taste of what he has to offer as an artist, however, ‘Tokyo’ is something rather special indeed. The track proves that he is definitely one to watch within the music industry, a rising star blossoming in front of our very eyes. There’s no doubt that Houssein has an exciting future ahead and we can’t wait to see what happens next for him.
We recently caught up with Houssein to chat all things ‘Tokyo’, future music plans, childhood inspirations, his passion for the prevention of animal cruelty and much more. Check out what he had to say below.
Congratulations on the release of your latest single ‘Tokyo’. What has the reaction been like to the single?
Thank you very much. The reaction from my fans has been very positive – I have not actually read a negative comment about the track, so either everyone is being very kind or they are just talking bad about it in private.
The positive reception from my fans and from press outlets has just made me want to release new music even more, and I’ve enjoyed watching covers, edits, dances and other creative videos that people have made embracing ‘Tokyo’.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the song? How did the track come about?
I wrote Tokyo with two very talented producers/writers in London called Ed Carlile and Steve Hughes, and we were all in agreement that Tokyo (the city) is this magical, mystical place – due to the fact that so much of its history and culture is so different to how we do things here in England. Therefore it worked as the perfect placeholder for any euphoric place in time or memory that one may have.
You say that the title ‘Tokyo’ is a synonym for euphoria rather than about the city itself. What kind of memories does ‘Tokyo’ evoke for you?
For me, Tokyo mostly reminds me of every trip abroad that I have been on. For example, I have been fortunate enough to travel to America multiple times, and each time, particularly in Los Angeles, it feels very surreal – and I think that fits perfectly with the idea of ‘Tokyo’.
The music video for ‘Tokyo’ was recently released. We love the retro feel to it! What was the filming experience like?
Thank you! Filming the music video was great, we worked with Birdhouse Studios, and it was a very pleasant and fun environment on set. We were very efficient with our shooting, and managed to complete filming within one day at Livingston Studios – which is my favourite recording studio in England, so it’s always fun to be there (particularly as they have a pool table).
You’ve released a few singles online now, we’d love to hear a Houssein album or EP! Is this something you’re working towards? If so, what can we expect from your future music?
An EP or album is an obvious next step, and a challenge I definitely want to undertake soon. I am currently stockpiling a load of music, so perhaps some of these may be released as singles or they could be used for an EP or album. In terms of the direction of my music, I just want to continue developing my sound and making the kind of music that I enjoy listening to.
What do you hope that listeners will take away from your music?
My music does not have any political or social agenda, nor is it offensive or degrading – it’s only goal is to sound good and talk about real life experiences. So I can only hope that listeners are able to relate to some of the songs, or just enjoy how they sound.
Music has been in your blood since you were little. Who were your childhood musical inspirations?
I fell in love with Queen, watching their Live DVD almost daily, when I was about 6, but my first proper obsession was Green Day – I listened to every song, watched every documentary, bought every book and went to multiple shows when they came to London. The lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong was a massive inspiration to me – even though our music style is quite different, his stage presence, writing style and just how cool he is, has always been very inspiring.
You began your career in musical theatre, performing in touring shows of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Sound of Music. Is this something you’d like to revisit in the future?
In the short term, I think I would prefer to focus on my own music. But down the line, I would definitely consider revisiting musical theatre. It would be more of a passion project as opposed to a job, as I will always love the theatre.
Social media has also played a huge role in your success so far as an artist, thanks to your following on Vine and Musical.ly. What drew you to these sites, and what did you enjoy most about them?
Sometimes I only knew a chorus of a song, and so if I wanted to just cover that – it would not really be long enough for YouTube. Vine and musical.ly were both perfect, as I was able to post short clips of whatever song was stuck in my head.
You’ll be performing at Nickelodeon’s Slimefest later this month. What can fans expect from your performance?
I will be performing ‘Tokyo’, and also a song that has not yet been released called ‘Walking Away’ – which is a lot more acoustic than anything else I have released so far.
Outside of your music, you’re also dedicated to supporting numerous animal charities. Can you tell us about your philanthropic work?
I am very passionate about the prevention of animal cruelty. I have never been able to understand how anyone could be cruel to any animal, and I have always had the mindset that: obviously we can unfortunately never save every animal from suffering, but if you help just one animal, you may have had little impact on the world in general, but you’ve literally changed the whole world for that one animal.
So I always make sure to help out where I can, for example, whilst visiting Barbados I went to The Ark, which is an amazing animal rescue shelter, and donated some dog supplies and food. I also played with the dogs which was a lot of fun for me, since dogs are the best things ever.
Are there any other plans in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
My main focus is releasing new music, and doing more performances – so you can expect a lot more of that. I also have a few more television appearances scheduled, as well as a lot more content online. Thank you for the interview!
Keep an eye out for Houssein’s new single ‘Walking Away’, which is due for release on October 26.