Joseph Achakji (born in Kingston, Ontario on February 11, 1981) and better known by his stage name XLA is a Canadian urban indie artist of Egyptian origin In 2006, he also established the independent music production and record label Les Disques XWide Tidals Inc. He sings mainly in French, but also occasionally in English, Spanish and Arabic. Besides vocals, he plays guitar, piano, keyboards, drums and tabla.
In 2002, he was the "Pop star" competition winner in Ottawa organized by the University of Ottawa where Achakji studied Engineering. He graduated with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering in 2004 with a Management option. However, he decided to pursue a musical career. In his YouTube page, he explains his artistic name was originally BETO XL and that he chose the letters X-L-A as pronounced English - French - world languages (Arabic / Spanish etc.) respectively as to represent a fusion of cultures.
XLA performs in a music style he calls "Urbaine-Monde" (Urban-World). His debut album was Nouvel Autrefois that was released in 2007 on XWide Tidals record label and distributed by Sizzle-Distribution Select. The album has Latin, Middle Easten, Reggaeton and World-Urban influences.
The single "Quoi Faire" taken from the album was nominated in 2009 for Best Video Clip at the Trille Or awards gala, and XLA nominated for Best New Discovery and Best Singer-Songwriter. Other notable singles / videos from the album include "Jusqu'à Demain" and "J'aime Jammer".
Festivals and events
In addition to many gigs in various cities around Canada, XLA has taken part in a number of festivals and public events including:
"Francofêtes en Acadie" in November 2009, broadcast on Radio-Canada's Première Chaîne on 16 December 2009 ,
Three times at the Melkite Festival in Montreal in 2007, 2008 and 2010.,
He was also part of a group of 12 North American French-speaking artists that took part between June 2009 and April 2010 in workshops organized jointly by Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), l'Union des Artistes (UDA) and Alliance National de l'Industrie Musicale (ANIM) in Petite Vallée and Montreal in (Quebec) and Moncton in New Brunswick and taking part in "Festival en Chanson" and "Vue sur la Relève",
In 2010, he took part in the "Festival Quand Ça Nous Chante" broadcast by Radio-Canada,
XLA also recorded a live concert for TFO television program "En Concert" to be broadcast in 6 November 2010.,
He is a member of Association des Professionnel de la Chanson et de la Musique (APCM), L'Union des Artistes (UDA), Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), Société Canadienne de Gestion du Droit de Reproduction (SODRAC) and "Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo" (ADISQ)
XWide Tidals is a music publishing and record label established in 2006 by Joseph Achakji (XLA) for release of his own materials and those of other artists. In 2011, he signed the Quebec French act La classe à part for launching later in the year in France and Quebec.
He collaborated in his debut album Nouvel Autrefois and in the new album in preparation for release in 2011 with Ghislain Brind'Amour who is a record producer. Nouvel Autrefois was recorded in Planet Studio in Montreal. Fernando Barrio also co-wrote and co-produced the album.,
In 2007, his single "Angle Obtus" featured Jérôme-Philippe Bélinga (aka Disoul of the French Quebec group Dubmatique),
In 2005, he was the recipient of a grant from Ontario Arts Council in the "shows" category and again in November 2007 in category for "music videos",
In 2009, XLA was nominated for 4 awards at Trille Or 2009 gala:Best Music Video for "Quoi Faire",
Best Singer-Songwriter for "Quoi Faire",
Best New Discovered Artist 2009 for album Nouvel Autrefois,
Best Album Cover for album Nouvel Autrefois,
In April 2009, he also won second prize for "J'aime Jammer Remix" at the "International Riffstar Hottest Song 2009 Competition",
In September 2009, he was chosen "Artist of the Year" for "excellence in music - vocal technique, classical guitar and piano" at École de Musique Culture X.,
In January 2011, his song "On Est Là" was nominated for Radio-Canada Prize for "Best Song" at the Trille Or 2011 gala.,
In popular culture:
XLA's "Jusqu'à demain" was included in 2009 La Compilation Trille Or" album alongside contributions of finalists to the "Trille Or" awards,
XLA took part in "Chantez Moi Vos 20 Ans" on the occasion of Association des professionnels de la chanson (APCM) 20th anniversary broadcast in a special program on "Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau".,
He has been interviewed on several cultural programs including in "Bonté Divine" (Radio-Canada), "Musimission" (TFO), "EntreAct" (Tele-Rogers).