Khaled (musician)

Khaled Hadj Ibrahim (Arabic: خالد حاج إبراهيم, born 29 February 1960), better known by his mononym Khaled (Arabic: خالد, pronounced [ˈxaːled]), is an Algerian Raï singer, musician and songwriter born in Oran. He began recording in his early teens under the name Cheb Khaled (الشاب خالد, Arabic for "Young" Khaled, as opposed to the traditionalist Sheikh elders). He was crowned "King of Raï" in the first Raï festival in Oran and has since become one the world's best-known Arab singers.[2]

Khaled performing in Oran in July 2011
Background information
Birth nameKhaled Hadj Ibrahim
(خالد حاج إبراهيم)
Also known asKing of Raï
Cheb Khaled
The Ambassador of Arab music
Born (1960-02-29) 29 February 1960
Oran, Algeria
  • Musician
  • singer
Years active1974–present
LabelsUniversal Music

Khaled helped transform the rai music in his native Algeria, and then went on to make it a part of the global music scene. And with 10 diamond, platinum, and gold albums, as well as the highest-selling Arab album in history (1,2,3 Soleils),[3] he's the star all other rai singers aspire to be. His most famous songs are "Didi", "El Arbi", "Abdel Kader", "La Poupée qui fait non", "Wahran Wahran", "Bakhta", "Aïcha" and "C'est la vie" as well as "Alech Taadi", which was prominently featured in the 1997 film The Fifth Element.[4]

Khaled was named top 50 Voices in the World by NPR.

To date, Khaled has sold over 80.5 million albums (10 diamond, platinum, and gold) worldwide. This turned him into one of the bestselling Arabic singing artists in history.[5]

Khaled is considered one of the most-selling Arab singers of all time.

Khaled performed ‘Didi’ at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

On 16 October 2003, Khaled was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Early life

Khaled Hadj Ibrahim was born in 1960 in Oran's Eckmühl neighborhood, Algeria.[6][7]

Khaled was a playboy and a partier, even rejecting the polite traditions of Algeria's poetry. When a traditional Oranese poet wants to describe love, Khaled says he prefers to take a different approach.

On 12 January 1995, Khaled married Samira Diabi, 27, has four daughters and one son.

In 1997, his wife filed a complaint against him for domestic violence, before retracting.[8][9]

In 1998, the documentary Khaled: Derrière le sourire was produced, recounting his life.

Khaled has an illegitimate son with whom he has no contact. Before a court in 2001, he denied being the father of the child, continuing to claim that he had been "deceived".[10][11] On 7 May 2001, Khaled was sentenced by the Nanterre criminal court to a two-month suspended prison sentence for "family desertion".[12] His move to Luxembourg in 2008, where he's been residing ever since, has reportedly been motivated by these charges.[13]

He was awarded Moroccan citizenship in August 2013,[14] which he didn't ask for but accepted because he felt he could not refuse.[15]

On 3 April 2015, Khaled was convicted for plagiarism of Didi, from Angui ou Selmi, a musical composition recorded by Cheb Rabah (born Rabah Zerradine) in 1988.[16][17][18] But on 13 May 2016, Court of Cassation removed the charges against Khaled, when a 1982 audio tape with the song was shown. This tape was recorded by Khaled and given to a producer located in Oran, 6 years before Cheb Rabah's record. In the end, Rabah had to compensate Khaled for the fees during this case.[19]

Musical career

At the age of 14, he founded the Cinq Étoiles (Five Stars) band and started performing in nightclubs and at weddings. In the 1980s, Khaled started producing and singing songs in the Raï genre.

His rise to national fame was mainly due to the efforts of Lieutenant-Colonel Hosni Snoussi, director of the state-supported arts and culture Office Riadh el Feth, who took Khaled under his wing and invited him along with other rai stars to perform at the state-sponsored Festival de la Jeunesse pour la Fête Nationale in Algiers in July 1985.[13][2] In the same year, he was crowned king of rai in the first official festival of rai which was staged in Oran.[20]

Khaled a la Coupole 2014 Algerie

Hosni Snoussi and Martin Meissonnier, who met at the Festival, convinced France's Minister of Culture Jack Lang that the export of rai from Algeria to France was in the French government's interest and together they organized the first rai festival in France at Bobigny in 1986. Cheb Khaled, who had been avoiding his mandatory military service, was able to perform at Bobigny only after Colonel Snoussi intervened with the Algerian military authorities to secure him a passport.[13][2] Shortly thereafter, Snoussi arranged for Cheb Khaled to record in France, with funding from the Office Riadh el Feth. The album, Kutché, released in 1988, a collaboration between Khaled and the Algerian jazz musician Safy Boutella, expanded his reputation in France, where he soon settled.[13]

Guitarist Steve Hillage produced many of Khaled's career.

By 1986, Khaled (who'd now dropped the Cheb) had been forced to move to Paris, as violence in Algeria claimed lives and he'd been threatened several times (producer Ahmed would, in fact, be murdered, as would several Raï performers). Arriving with a reputation, he attempted to take his music to a global level, although his real debut, Kutche, did him no favors with its jazz-rock arrangements. He fared much better with 1992's Khaled, with some tracks produced by Michael Brook and others by Don Was. It yielded his first big hit, "Didi" and helped consolidate his reputation as Raï's first superstar. That was firmly cemented the following year with the Was-produced N'ssi N'ssi, which mixed funk, rock, and an Egyptian orchestra behind Khaled's persuasive voice and winning smile for a major commercial breakthrough in France, winning a European, as well as North African, audience. In 1996, he hit again with Sahra, whose first single, "Aïcha," written for his daughter, gave Khaled a French number one hit. A mix of producers gave varying sounds, with French hip-hoppers Akhenton & Imhotep proving the hardest on the track "Oran Marseille" with its rapid-fire rap. There was even some reggae on "Mektoubi," which merged relatively seamlessly with the North African sound. While well-received critically, it sold little in the U.S. however, unlike France, where the album became Khaled's biggest success. Perhaps the moment that justified his title of King of Raï, however, came in 1999, when he headlined the 1-2-3 Soleils concert in Paris (which led to the album of the same name), over Rachid Taha and Faudel. It was the biggest Algerian show ever staged in France and left no doubt that Khaled remained Raï's hottest attraction. 2000 brought Kenza and a change of producer, as former prog rocker Steve Hillage helped bring a more organic feel to the proceedings. A smash in Europe, once again it did little business in the U.S.[21]

International audience

Cheb Khaled performing at the 7th annual Concert for Tolerance in Agadir (2012).

International Fame

One of the Pioneers of world music, Rai musician Khaled has gone beyond all geo-political boundaries to become one of the world's most popular performers, mixing traditional Algerian music with western rhythms and styles such as soul, rock and reggae to achieve his distinctive sound and voice unlike anyone ever.

Khaled has been celebrated not only for his music, but for his role as a builder of bridges between cultures. selling more than 80 millions copies around the world makes him a nationwide celebrity and unofficial ambassador for the country's Arab minority.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2008 [22]

Worldwide signature

Khaled's signature song, the 1993 hit "Didi", became extremely popular in the Arabic-speaking countries and also in several other continents, including Europe, where it entered top charts in France, Belgium and Spain, and in Asia, including India and Pakistan. The song was also used in a Bollywood films Shreeman Aashiq and Airlift and a Mollywood film titled Highway. Khaled and producer Don Was appeared on The Tonight Show on 4 February 1993.[23] [24]

In the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, Khaled became the first Arab artist to headline a U.S. tour, breaking attendance records throughout the U.S. in February 2002. In May of last year 2004 the two performed together for the first time since recording Khaled's hit single Didi, in Rome, Italy. Together Don Was & Khaled performed live a new rendition for Quincy Jones's historic concert "We Are the Future". The song was part of the compilation CD and a Live DVD to be released throughout the world all the proceeds, to support children of war torn areas.

Khaled returned to the America in December of 2004 for a special guest performance at the GRAMMY JAM 2004 in Los Angeles, Ca. He joined a cast of celebrity artists honoring the great musical legends Earth Wind and Fire, performing Brazilian Rhymes into DIDI showing how there music crossed the world, fusing with his North African style.[25]

In 2010 he performed Didi at the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

In 2012 Khaled's album C’est la vie sold more than one million copies in the European market, 1.8 million copies in the Middle East and North Africa, and over 4 million copies worldwide.[26][27] The album reached number 5 on SNEP, the official French Albums Chart.[28]


This discography does not include a number of albums released on cassette in Algeria early in his career, and several bootleg/unofficial albums.

Grammy - Dawn Elder, Kc Porter, India Arie, Stevie Wonder, and Khaled.

Studio albums

Year Album Charts Certification
1988 Kutché (with Safy Boutella)
1992 Khaled
1993 N'ssi N'ssi
1996 Sahra 24 7 3 33 26
1999 Kenza 49 57
2004 Ya-Rayi 41 52 70
2009 Liberté 95 51
2012 C'est la vie 27 18 96
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released

Live albums

Year Album Charts Certification
1998 Hafla 28 29
Year Album Charts Certification
1999 1, 2, 3 Soleils
(credited to Taha / Khaled / Faudel)
14 4

Compilation albums

  • 1991: Le Meilleur de Cheb Khaled
  • 1994: Le Meilleur de Cheb Khaled 2
  • 2005: Forever King
  • 2005: Spirit of Rai
  • 2006: Maghreb Soul – Cheb Khaled Story 1986–1990
  • 2007: Best of Khaled
  • 2009: Rebel of Raï – The Early Years
Festival de la chanson Raï en France (1986), de gauche à droite : Cheb Mami, Khaled, Cheb Hamid, Cheb Sahraoui


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1988 "Chebba" / "Baroud"
(Cheb Khaled & Safy Boutella)
23 25 1 88 5 7 11 Kutché
"Le Camel"
(Cheb Khaled & Safy Boutella)
1992 "Didi" 9 29 30 Khaled
"Ne m'en voulez pas"
"Mauvais sang"
1993 "Serbi Serbi" 50 N'ssi N'ssi
1994 "N'ssi N'ssi"
1995 "Bakhta"
1996 "Aïcha" 25 1 1 33 14 11 Sahra
1997 "Ouelli El Darek" 33 45 23 12 10 66
"La poupée qui fait non (live)"
(Mylène Farmer & Khaled)
5 6 Mylène Farmer's album
Live à Bercy
"Le jour viendra" 12 24 14 36 Sahra
1998 "Abdel Kader (Live à Bercy)"
(Taha / Khaled / Faudel)
36 6 Joint album 1, 2, 3 Soleils
by Taha / Khaled / Faudel
Original by Khaled alone
in his album N'ssi N'ssi
1999 "Comme d'habitude"
(Taha / Khaled / Faudel)
40 40 Joint album 1, 2, 3 Soleils
by Taha / Khaled / Faudel
"C'est la nuit" 35 29 Kenza
2000 "El harba wine"
(feat. Amar)
"Les ennemis (el Aâdyene)"
(Khaled vs. Fonky Family)
63 Single only
2001 "Wana wana" 97
2004 "Ya-Rayi" 12 11 36 25 80 Ya-Rayi
"Love to The People"

(ft Carlos Santana)

"Zine Zina" 12 22 18 58 12 23
2007 "La terre a tremblé" Best of Khaled
2009 "Même pas fatigué !!!"
(Magic System & Khaled)
10 1 49 Non-album release
(cover of Blaoui Houari)
2012 "C'est la vie" 5 5 4 92 34 33 C'est la vie
"Hya hya"
(feat. Pitbull)
"Dima Labess"
(featuring Mazagan)
2016 "Wahda Be Wahda" TBA
2018 "Mirage"
(featuring Soolking)
74 Fruit du démon
2019 "Maghreb Gang"
(featuring French Montana, Farid Bang)
7 4 6 Non-album release
2020 "Delali"
(featuring Gashi)
Non-album release
"Elle s'appelle Beyrouth"
(featuring Rodge)
Non-album release
Khaled NYC Concert Feb 8 2002

(charting hits only)

Year Single Charts Album
2006 "Henna"[31]
(Cameron Cartio feat. Khaled)
86 9 Cameron Cartio's album


YearSongMain artistAlbum
1990"Be Not Afraid"The Blow MonkeysSpringtime for the World
1992"Amdyaz"Hector ZazouSahara Blue
1995"Revolution, Revolutions"
"ElDorado" (UNESCO official anthem)
Jean Michel JarreConcert Pour La Tolerance
"Didi" (with Johnny Clegg)Various ArtistsDuos Taratata
"N'ssi N'ssi"
Various ArtistsGoing Global Series Voila
"Numb (Gimme Some More Dignity mix)"U2Melon: Remixes for Propaganda
1997"La poupée qui fait non"Mylène FarmerLive à Bercy
"Chanson du herisson"Various ArtistsEmilie Jolie
"Koubou Koubou"Various ArtistsThe Rough Guide to the Music of North Africa
"Mâardi"Various ArtistsSol En Si (Solidarité Enfants Sida)
1998"Ensemble (Understand)"
Alan Stivell1 Douar
"Oasis de los Dioses"KetamaKonfusion
1999"Bladi"Freeman (feat.
K-Rhyme Le Roi & Khaled)
L'palais de justice
"¡Oh Madre!"TekameliIda y Vuelta
"Albey"Amr DiabAmarain
2000"L'aziza"Various ArtistsBalavoine Hommages ...
"Time for a Change"Various Artists
(The Rapsody feat. MC Lyte
& DaNaCeE & Khaled)
The Rapsody
"Emmenez-moi"Les EnfoirésXXème siècle
"Le rêve de mon père"KertraLabyrinthe
2001"Aich Rebel Sun"Various ArtistsBig Men, Raï Meets Reggae
2002Ojos de la Alhambra
(Eyes of the Alhamra)
Vincente AmigoCiudad de los Ideas
(City of Ideas)
"Saludo A Chango"Compay SegundoDuets
2004"Agir Réagir"Various ArtistsAgir Réagir
"Retour aux sources"Kore & SkalpRaï'N'B Fever
"L'enfant du pays"Rim'KL'enfant du pays
"Dance with me"Enzo Avitabile & BottariSave the World
2005"Henna"Cameron CartioBorderless
2006"Mas and Louly"Diana HaddadDiana 2006
"Face à la mer"
(recorded in 1992)
Les Négresses VertesÀ l'affiche (Best of),
"El Marsem"Enrique MorenteMorente sueña la Alhambra (DVD)
2007"Benthi"MélissaTaxi 4
"Erjaii ya alf leila"
BratschPlein du monde
"Salamo Alaykom"Andy, HakimAirport
2010"Citizens of the World"Flying Machines, King Sunny Adé,
Kailash Kher, Cheng Lin
Citizens of the World
2012 "Mazal Wakfin" Warda Al-Jazairia, Baaziz single
"L'Oriental" Enrico Macias Venez tous mes amis!
2013 "El Baraka" Rim'K, Cheba Zahouania Non-album single
"Larosa" Medina Sista Minuten[32]
2014 "Shage3 7elmak-World cup 2014 Nancy Ajram Non-album single[33]
2018 "We Enta Maaya" Tamer Hosny Eish Besho'ak[34]
"Mirage"SoolkingFruit du démon
2019"Salama So Good"AndyNon-album single[35]
2019"Maghreb Gang"Farid Bang, French MontanaNon-album single


YearSoundtrack songFilm
"Mauvais Sang"
"Les ailes"
"Alech Taadi"
1, 2, 3, Sun
(French: Un, deux, trois, soleil)
"Didi"Caro diario
1995"Didi"L' Âge des possibles
"Didi"Highway (1995)
"Les Ailes"Party Girl
1997"Wahrane Wahrane"
"Cameleons" (with Cheb Mami)
100% Arabica
"Alech taadi"The Fifth Element
(featured in film, but not released on soundtrack album)
1999"El Arbi"Vila Madalena soap opera
2000"Wana wana aamel eih"
"Dour biha ya chibani"
Origine contrôlée
2002"Ragda"The Truth About Charlie
"Minuit"The Good Thief
2004De l'autre côté
2006"Ya Dzayer"
"Mort de Messaoud"
"Sur la tombe"
"El Babour"
Indigènes (Days of Glory)
2007"Benthi" (feat. Mélissa M)Taxi 4
2011 "Trigue Lycee" Rabat
2012"Wahran Wahran"The Dictator


  • 1997 100% Arabica
  • 1997 Le Centre de visionnage
  • 2003 Art'n Acte Production
  • 2004 We Are the Future


  • First Arab singer to win World Music Awards (1992).[36]
  • Only Arab singer to perform at Fifa World Cup ceremony (2010).
  • FAO goodwill ambassador.[37]
  • Only Arab singer to perform at European Atheltics Championships (2006).
  • Was named top 50 Voices in the World by NPR.
  • Is decorated « Chevalier  des arts et des lettres »[38]
  • First Rai singer to be named Cheb in 1974 which means (young man), and then all rai singers named (Cheb) or (Cheba) after Khaled.
  • First and only Arab singer to perform in many countries all over the world such as USA, Canada, Japan (1989), Netherlands, Turkey (1996), Germany, Portugal (2018),[39] Italy, Brazil (2000), Spain,[40] England, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Mauritius (2014), Slovienia, Eihiopia (2014), South Africa (2010), Senegal[41] (2014), India (1992), Greece (2006), Hungary and Luxmburg.
  • Only Arab singer to chart in France, Sweden, Blegium, Usa, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland,[42] Austria, Slovakia.
  • First Arab singer to chart in Billboards Hot 100.
  • First Arab singer to chart in France Charts.
  • First Arab singer to chart in European Hot 100 singles (2009).
  • First and Only Arab singer to chart in a latin american country Brazil for the song (El Arbi) [43]
  • Only Arab Musician to win Cesar Award (1994).
  • Only Arab (Musician) to Win Venice Film Festival award (1993).
  • Most-singing Arab singer in L'Olympia in Paris (5 times).
  • Sold over 80.5 million albums (10 diamond, platinum, and gold) worldwide.[44]
  • Considered one of the most-selling Arab singers of all time.[45]


Khaled at the Caesar ceremony 1994.

Below is a chronological list of awards won by Khaled

  • 1985 The first prize of rai music (KING) Oran
  • 1989 best song (chebba) in France
  • 1989 top 100 best album in 20th century (kutché)
  • 1992 top 50 Mtv AMERICA (didi)
  • 1992 World Music Awards (didi)
  • 1992 Mtv India Awards (didi)
  • 1993 Venice Film Festival 50th – (Un, deux, trois, soleil)
  • 1994 César Award – best movie soundtrack
  • 1995 Victoires de la Musique (Artist of the Year)
  • 1997 World Music Awards (Song of the year) (Sahra album)
  • 1997 Victoires de la Musique (Song of the year) ("Aicha")
  • 1997 African Grammys best North African singerKora Awards ("Aïcha")
  • 1998 le Prix européen MTV Europe Music Awards
  • 1999 World Music Awards (1,2,3 Soleils) shared with Rachid Taha and Faudel
  • 2004 Grammy jam Awards (Khaled and Carlos Santana) ("Love to the people")
  • 2005 R3 Awards BBC Awards for World Music – (Mid East & North Africa Winner)
  • 2005 Montreal International Jazz Festival (The Antonio Carlos-Jobim Award)
  • 2005 ImagineNations and DC Internationals (Empowering Award, for spreading the message of peace)
  • 2006 The Mediterranean Prize for Creativity
  • 2008 Award Dutch Virsti - German Academy of Music
  • 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards creativity
  • 2009 NME Awards 2009 (meilleur duo) avec Magic System
  • 2009 MGM Awards (highest-selling Arab album in history) (The legendary) (Las Vegas)
  • 2010 Big Apple Music Awards (best Arab artist selling in United States)
  • 2010 top 50 Voices in the World by NPR.
  • 2009 European Hot 100 Singles 2009 (Billboard Awards) (with Magic System)
  • 2012 France Digital Songs (Billboard Awards) ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2012 African Grammys best North African singer ("C'est La Vie") Kora Awards
  • 2013 Victoires de la Musique ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2013 World Music Awards ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2013 Murex D'Or 2013 – Best International Song & Best International Singer – Cheb Khaled – ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2013 Rabab d’or prix d'honneur – Maroc Festival International Al Ansra de M’diq ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2013 Festival international de la musique kabyle à Tanger festival Touiza MAROC 2013 ("C'est La Vie")
  • 2016 XLII Universal Music Award - Vienna 2016 - for "C'est La Vie" as Best Song
  • 2019 Gq Middle East - Legend Award


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