Sisters Omnia and Leila Hegazy are here to pull on your heartstrings with their new single, “Alive”. Their smooth blend of pop and soul has an immediate effect.
Neither singer outshines the other, instead they play off of each other with vocal melodies that are calming without being stale. The song builds and stays strong throughout, leaving nothing to be desired.
Influences from contemporary pop to jazz are evident in HEGAZY‘s music. They elaborated on the music that inspires them:
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Leila: “Lauryn Hill is a major influence for both of us and her prowess and a vocalist an emcee still hasn’t been matched. Her vocal riffs are often layered with multiple harmonies and while this might seem over-indulgent to some, we think it’s killer and it’s something we’ve adapted into our own arrangements as a duo.”
Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color
Omnia: “This album is more recent but was fundamental in our development as a duo. These folks know how to blend rock and soul, which has been our mission as Hegazy all along. Brittany Howard’s vocals are so raw and emotive and I love the way that her guitar licks and Heath Foggs’s are in constant conversation with each other. When we became Hegazy, I told myself that if my guitar tone could marry the dirt of the Alabama Shakes’ with the singing quality of John Mayer’s, we’d be good to go.”
Emily King – The Seven EP
“We’ve loved Emily King’s music for years; she’s a fellow New York indie artist and her vocals are both soothing and powerful, despite the fact that she never belts. While this record is technically a long EP, not an album, it really is a complete collection of music from beginning to end. Her background vocals are lush and soulful, serving her arrangements like a string section would. Favorite song: Georgia (this song is so minimal and stunning)”
Emily King – The Switch
“Yes, we put two Emily King records on this list. We’ve probably played both of these albums more than anything else, ever.
The songs on this album are more rhythmic and dance-able than her previous records. The grooves and vocal delivery remind us of Prince and Michael Jackson (can’t go wrong there) and the background vocals are as lush and soulful as ever.”
John Mayer – Continuum
Omnia: “John Mayer is still one of my favorite singer/songwriters and guitarists of all time. Continuum was one of his more soulful albums and everything about it was perfect to me: Steve Jordan’s drums/production, Pino Palladino’s bass, and John bluesy guitar licks. My guitar playing for Hegazy is greatly influenced by this album (and also Sound and Color by Alabama Shakes as mentioned above). Favorite song: “Gravity”
Norah Jones – Come Away with Me
Leila: “I had heard of Norah Jones for years before I was ever drawn to her music. I got into this record in college (many years after it came out) and once I got it, I played it on repeat for months and months. Her vocal style/piano playing is so tasteful, delicate, and captivating. This record is a true testament to the fact that less is sometimes more.”
Michael Jackson – Thriller
“This record is often dubbed one of the best records of all time, and for good reason. Literally every one of the tracks on this record is songwriting gold. MJ+Quincy Jones = pure genius.”
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Ella and Louis
Leila: “Ella Fitzgerald was a huge vocal influence of mine, and if it were up to me, I’d probably choose every record she’s ever made for this albums list. I settled on ‘Ella and Louis’ because this record clearly stands out among the rest, and includes another jazz great who I fell in love with during my college years (Louie Armstrong).
The way these that these three musical forces interact (Ella vocal + Louie vocal + Louie trumpet) = heaven. This is music that makes you feel good.”
Billy Joel – The Stranger
“Our Mom is a super-fan of Billy Joel; she knows the lyrics to every song, including his deeper album cuts. Billy Joel was probably the first self-contained singer/songwriter/instrumentalist we were exposed to as kids. We grew up in the 90’s and most of the artists at the time were pop or R&B acts who did not write their own songs. “Vienna”, written to a young person trying to conquer the world without stopping to smell the roses, is one of the lesser-known songs on the album, but one of the most impactful for us as ambitious millenials with big dreams. Billy Joel told stories in his songwriting: not necessarily with metaphor and fancy language, but with honesty. There’s nothing more New York than that.”
Oum Kalthoum- Greatest Hits
“Oum Kalthoum was the mother of Egyptian music, and is still loved throughout the entirety of the Middle East. Our Dad played her music for us since we were little, but at the time, we didn’t really get it. She had a very deep voice that wasn’t always aesthetically pleasing and the recordings of her sounded old (they were from the 1950’s). Her greatest hits were actually recorded live at her concerts, not in a recording studio, so you can hear show-goers heckling and egging her on, demanding even more passion from her on as they reached tarab (an Arabic word for musical ecstasy). If you watch live footage of her in her prime, you’ll see that she looked like she was in pain as she sang. This was because she was digging deep into her soul, in search of just the right amount of heartbreak and lovesickness needed to make the audience feel what she was feeling. You don’t need to speak Arabic to hear the emotion in her vocal delivery. When we listen to Oum Kalthoum, we feel like we are with our Dad again (he passed away in late 2015).”
Check out the video for HEGAZY’s single, “Alive”: