A star among us: Nesma Mahgoub

By: Christina Hesham

The following personal interview gives us a look into the artist’s life, and shows how Nesma Mahgoub is such an inspiring, down to earth, totally relatable, and ambitious artist. It’s important for us to benefit from and learn about successful people to reach our own goals. If not that, then maybe just learn more about our idol’s interests and goals. The famous singer Nesma Mahgoub, Star Academy season 8 winner and AUC graduate, is one fine example.

What was your childhood dream?

I had too many before realizing that I wanted to do music. I wanted to be a pediatrician, a spy, a police officer, and an interior designer. As soon as I found out that I needed to study seven years to become a doctor, I cancelled that. My parents told me that we don’t have women police officers like we see in movies. I needed to study engineering for interior design, but took courses for it just for myself; for my home. Then, I found that the only thing I do without getting bored is music. After hearing from a lot of people that my voice is good, I took that further. My mom took me to the opera house and I started taking part in the children’s choir. It all started from there.

Now that you’re a hit singer, what’s your vision and passion?

What drives me is just good music. I have my own taste of course. I feel like I want to do what makes me happy, not only what the music field requires us to do, or what the producers or money makers need from us as singers. I just want to do what I love to do, what I feel good about, and what I feel proud of doing. It’s subjective of course; but for me, real art is just what I want to do.

Is there a message or change you aim to deliver through your work?

I always believe that God gave me this talent for a reason but I don’t know if I’m there yet. I’ve done a lot of things that people heard. I love inspiring others and doing projects that have lots of collaborations with other people. I’m not really the fame freak. Every project that has other artists has a certain flavor and a certain chemistry. I love working with people. I’m not the solo person. It creates magic when you know what you’re doing and you’re really doing it well. I just feel like we are there to change the psychology of the people. I’m sure there’s something much bigger to what I’m doing, but I don’t think I found it or if I’m there yet. I do know it’s for a reason and the reason will come one day, hopefully.

What was your favorite performance so far?

Too many were my favorite.  If we’re talking about CineMania, my favorite one was the last concert on Feb.11 in the Marquee. 

When do you think was your life’s turning point?

Practically speaking, it should be star academy, because it is the turning point of the amateur kind-of-life to the professional kind-of-life. But for me I don’t think it was that significant, or that it made me feel, ‘this is the turning point for my life’. It was just my life’s target. I don’t know if it’s a turning point. I don’t know if I was someone, then something happened and that turned me to someone else. Maybe one turning point is the moment I felt that I don’t want to do commercials anymore and that this is not why I chose music for my life. And that if I’m going to do music I don’t like or am not proud of or convinced of, then I’d rather stop because it’s not why I chose music for myself. Maybe that’s the turning point. When I started to shift everything I do, stopped what I’m doing, and just changed the path. I just said: Okay we’re taking a break, we’re not working anymore until I find what I want. If I want to do music, I want to do it the way I want it to be, not the way any other person wants it to be.

What do you enjoy more, performing or teaching?

Performing, definitely. Teaching is a whole different enjoyment. That’s what I do in my performances as well. Working on projects and getting other people to work with me is kind of the same as helping people to grow. Teaching is something that I really love doing. It’s that moment when you see their eyes shining bright when they understand something or when they get the hang of it. Then you see the improvement.  So I like directing more, like teaching, directing people, coaching them in performances like what I do here at AUC in my class. This is actually a different kind of enjoyment in my life, but if I would choose between performance and teaching, I’d choose performance.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

The giver. I really love giving people and helping them out in anything. Even in my personal life and at home, I try to make sure that everyone is satisfied and that their needs are fulfilled. If one of my students is struggling with something and they tell me that they need help, then that’s it, I’d just make myself free for them. That really tires me, as I give all my energy in the classes to the students and help anyone who needs help until they fully get it. It’s like my day ends after my classes, even if the actual day still has not. I don’t know when to say no for the sake of myself.

If you had not become a hit singer, what other career would you have chosen?

A cook! I’d really have loved to be a cook. If you check my phone, you’ll see that every saved thing on it, is either good music or food-related posts and photos. Food really is an ultimate goal and happiness in itself. In the past, I was 25 kilos fatter than now, and now I’m having my ups and downs with my weight, because of food –  It can really shift my mood. I love eating and experimenting in cuisines. I’m not scared to experiment and try new things or go to the extremes in Egyptian food. Like I love kwarea, fesikh, kebda, and these street food kinds. Street food is a whole new level. So yes, I would’ve definitely been a cook.

Lastly, any message or word of advice to all the dreamers out there?

Don’t worry, just work hard and don’t expect the dream to come to you or happen without you doing any effort. I don’t believe dreams are impossible. You just do what you love, go after it, give it your 100%, and work hard. You’ll reach there. Dreams really are not impossible, but don’t expect them to happen or come to you, if you don’t go out of your way and work exceptionally for them.


Finally, Nesma Mahgoub talked passionately about the course she is  currently teaching at AUC, “singing on stage,” where she trains singers how to perform on stage and ‘own the stage’ – how to perform professionally. The class is anything but ordinary or boring. Their midterm was a performance/concert on April 6th at Malak Gabr’s Hall. Mahgoub also talked about how talented her students are, how her aim is to help them ‘deliver the message of their songs’, and make it more alive and touching. Lastly, next semester she plans to do a pop choir group, like apocala. Having more people would make the class events more interesting and phenomenal. If you have the talent, don’t even miss out on this chance to learn and grow in the hands of such an exceptional, passionate, and unique person-  one of the best in her field.