Salama grew up listening to the radio, which played artists who placed a deep influence upon him. His childhood influences were musicians Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Farid El Atrache. These artists influenced him so much that he decided to get involved with music; he then started to create his own versatile style of music, from playing the piano from the age of six and followed by gigging in Cairo clubs from the age of thirteen. Soon the child of Shobra, the 'Compton of Cairo', made visits to Europe and to New York City to learn jazz with such great artists as Barry Harris, Sun Ra, Roman Bunka, Malik Osman, Hal Galper, Ossman Kareem and Pat Patrick.
He progressed to making plenty of hits in Cairo during the 1980s. He has been touring the world, and he has won two prizes for his film soundtracks for Fallen Angels Paradises and Signs of April. It is with Sharkiat (his own group) that Fathy is making his dreams come true of merging modern and traditional music together, thus expressing both a message from his home country and his love of music.
His music reflects his experience from the Orient and from Europe. His "success" in the music industry plays a secondary role; first and foremost he wants to be understood, and so he works tirelessly on this bridge linking traditional and modern music from the Orient.
Fathy has collaborated in electronic music with Kouchari or his meeting with Alix Roy, and in sacred music on Egypt, the successful Youssou N'Dour album (Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album and BBC Award).
- Ibn Battuta 1994 Schneeball with Embryo
- Color Me Cairo 1995 Enja with Roman Bunka
- Sultany 2006 (Incognito Rec.)
- Philadelphia, USA, 2014: Fathy Salama performed with Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble as part of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture concert series. 
- Cairo: The Practical Guide, Lesley Lababidi, Claire E. Francy (2008), page 84: "Main venues for Western and mixed-style jazz are the cultural centers, the Opera complex, Gumhuriya Theater, and the Wikalat al- Ghuri near the Khan, where Fathy Salama and his band, Sharkiat, have played. Catch this group whenever you ..."
- Frommer's Egypt, Mohamed El Hebeishy (2010), "Grammy award–winner Fathy Salama mixes jazz with Arab elements, and periodically gigs in Cairo with his Sharkiat band."
- Bruno Blum, De l'art de savoir chanter, danser et jouer la bamboula comme un éminent musicien africain: Le guide des musiques africaines (2007), "Le groupe Sharkiat de Fathy Salama évolue de Yaljil vers un rock variété dans les années 1990."
- "Egyptian Jazz and Contemporary Arab Music". Albustanseeds.org. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2014-11-17.