Maher Zain bribed daughter with toys to get her to sing on his new album
For his third and latest album, One, Lebanon-born singer Maher Zain worked with a handful of international artists hailing from countries like Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey and even South Africa.
But perhaps, his most striking collaborator is none other than his own flesh and blood - his daughter Aya who is just five years old.
His firstborn's adorable vocals open and close Medina, a song about one of Islam's holiest sites located in Saudi Arabia.
It all worked out well in the end but his young guest star turned him down twice before she agreed to do it.
Maher told The New Paper in a Skype interview from Stockholm, Sweden, where is he based: "I often hear Aya and my (three-year-old) son, Abdullah, sing 'Medina, Medina' at home so I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate a child's voice into a song.
"When I first asked Aya, she said no."
Maher, who will be here for a concert on Dec 3 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, added with a laugh: "It's not like you can bribe a five-year-old with money. We had a deal after I said I'd get her all the toys she wanted."
Despite that, Aya settled only on a doll and agreed to follow her father to the recording studio.
As soon as he hit the record button, she ran out of the studio.
Luckily for him, she returned minutes later on her own to record the song.
The official audio clip for Medina has raked in over 5.6 million views on YouTube to date and is among some of the 35-year-old's most-watched videos.
It is also testament to the singer's strong global Muslim following, thanks to his pop-infused, modern Islamic music which has received constant airplay since he delved into this genre in 2009.
Maher was previously based in New York where he worked closely with Moroccan music producer RedOne.
Maher's songs are so widely celebrated that hits like Baraka Allahu Lakuma (May The Blessings Of Allah Be Upon You), Insha Allah (God-willing) and For The Rest Of My Life are staples at Muslim weddings both here and abroad.
Asked if he has received any requests to sing live at weddings, Maher said: "I haven't really thought about it, but I don't think it's something I would go into."
Maher's songs have always touched on faith and unity among mankind, inspired by conflict in war-torn countries like Syria and Afghanistan.
"We are all part of the human race, we should live in harmony together. I may not be able to change the world, but I want to be part of this change. I want to leave a legacy where I'm remembered for doing good and helping others," said Maher, who also uses music to do charity.
While he enjoys mainstream success across the globe, his current home in Sweden is ironically where he and his family can enjoy the most privacy.
"In Sweden, I'm just like everyone else. I do everyday things. At home, I try to maintain a low profile and be as normal as possible with my family," he said.
WHAT: MAHER ZAIN 'ONE' CONCERT TOUR 2016
WHEN: Dec 3, 8pm
WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium
TICKETS: $78 - $198 from Sports Hub Tix (www.sportshub.com.sg/sportshubtix)
"I want to leave a legacy where I'm remembered for doing good and helping others."
- Lebanon-born singer Maher Zain on his music career