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Five Huge Hits You Didn’t Know Were Produced by Jean-Marie Riachi

By STEP Music
Jean-Marie Riachi

Lebanese arranger, composer and producer Jean-Marie Riachi has enjoyed a stellar career working with most of the biggest names in Arabic pop music. He’s the musical director and producer of the Arabic version of The Voice and runs his own studio (JMR Studios) and label (Oriental Music Publishing).

But producers don’t always get public recognition for their work, and chances are you might not even know Jean-Marie was involved in many of the biggest hits he’s worked on. So here’s just a selection of hugely successful songs produced by Jean-Marie:

“Eetazalt El Gharam” – Majida El Roumi

After an eight-year absence, and following a tumultuous divorce in 2006, Lebanese diva Majida El Roumi took the Arab world by storm with a comeback track that was as monumental as the signatures it bore. Produced by Jean-Marie, “Eetazalt El Gharam” (‘I Quit Love’) was co-written with Nizar Francis, and composed by the legendary ‘Abou Majd’ Melhem Barakat.

“Mabrouk Mabrouk” – Ramy Ayach

If you’ve set foot in a wedding in Lebanon, Syria or Jordan in the last 10 years, chances are this earworm is still stubbornly stuck in your head. Upon its release in 2004, “Mabrouk Mabrouk”, composed and produced by Jean-Marie, instantly became the most popular wedding anthem of the Levant.

“Belaaks” – Abeer Nehme & Ramy Ayach

Combine a live jazz band, pop heavyweight Ramy Ayach, songbird Abeer Nehme, and one of the most famous tunes of the 20th century, and you get “Belaaks”. This Arabic adaptation of "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" became the title track of Jean-Marie’s 2009 platinum-certified album, which is one of the most awarded musical records in the Arab world.

“Ayshalak” – Elissa

Two things we should be thankful to 2002’s “Ayshalak” for – Number One: Proving that post-Nineties Arabic pop music could still be inventive, bold, and stand the test of time. Number Two: Placing Elissa on the World Music map, leading to her notorious WMA “Best Album” acceptance speech, the “Thanks” of which still resonate in Lebanese popular culture until this day.

“Sahara Al-Arab” – Ardi Group

In 2015, Jean-Marie teamed up with Saudi producer Omar Basaad for one of the most ambitious pieces of his career, which took him on a journey across the deserts, souks, seas and villages of the Arab World, capturing the sounds and instruments of each location in a portable studio, to create this timeless pan-Arab hit.

Jean-Marie doesn’t only produce mainstream megahits, though. He’s also behind the latest album from Lebanese indie band Adonis – who will perform at STEP Music on April 7th – for example. Check out this single they released last year:

“Eza Shi Nhar” – Adonis

This disarming collaboration between the regional music mogul and the small-town Lebanese act sent electronic ripples across the Arab indie landscape, and built high expectations for the band’s third album, to be released in 2017 under JMR's label.

Jean-Marie Riachi will also be appearing at STEP Music, speaking on a panel about the rise of the Arab alternative music scene and its impact on the regional industry. You can get your tickets for STEP Music here: