YUNG Selects: Tuning into WANA with Elia Mssawir

The driving force behind Dubai’s GXR Records turns his finely tuned ear to curating the latest YUNG Selects.

YUNG Selects: Tuning into WANA with Elia Mssawir
Menna Shanab

YUNG Selects, your fav series that tunes into the playlists of music’s most influential tastemakers, is back again with its latest installment. This time, we are handing the controls to none other than Elia Mssawir, industry titan, award-winning artist manager and head of one of the most buzzed-about new labels on the block, GXR Records. This edition is more than just a compilation of tracks, it’s a testament to Mssawir’s unmatched knack for identifying and nurturing talent.

Mssawir’s unabashed love for his GXR artists radiates throughout the playlist. “People might call me biased as most of these artists are signed to GXR Records, but I genuinely have this playlist on repeat,” he shares with contagious enthusiasm. The playlist is a tapestry, each thread representing a unique story spun by WANA artists—carrying a distinct voice, but unified in their shared origin. But more than anything, it’s just what he is vibing to these days.

YUNG Selects x Elia Mssawir

As a leading figure in the industry, Mssawir has used his position to elevate regional music, focusing on bridging the gap between the East and West, MENA and Asia. His YUNG Selects playlist, in essence, extends his dedication to this mission, spotlighting artists who daringly defy the conventional expectations of regional music.

Mssawir’s musical journey is as diverse as the artists he works with. His career began with an unorthodox challenge from his late friend JP Haddad, who dared him to book his Lebanese metal band, Kimaera, for a European gig. The successful booking of Kimaera for Masters of Rock in the Czech Republic was the springboard for Mssawir’s career. Fast forward almost a decade to 2019, and his tireless work in artist management and development earned him TP Magazine’s Entertainment Manager of the Year. He has not only composed an illustrious career for himself but has also succeeded in creating a stage on which Middle Eastern talents can shine.

YUNG Selects x Elia Mssawir

In 2022, Mssawir orchestrated his most daring venture to date—the launching of GXR Records. As the label’s helmsman, Mssawir has attracted a fine repertoire of talents, such as Noel Kharman, Freek, Dyler, Reina Khoury, Ugly Moss, and Magnum Ghandour. The label aims to bridge the East-West and MENA-Asia industry divide, fostering growth within a multitude of emerging markets. GXR Records’ ethos is rooted in celebrating cultural diversity and fostering collaboration.

Mssawir’s YUNG Selects is a tribute to the defining sounds of the WANA region and a manifestation of his faith in the artists behind this music.

Be sure to check out our previous selections and those of Elia Mssawir on Spotify.

For more stories of musicians and singers from across the region, head over to our dedicated pages.