Lebanese Singing Star Takes To The World Stage
Lebanese singer and vocalist from Beirut, has become famous in her home country almost instantly. Thanks to a concert and lessons she took as a youngster she held a concert on Saturday, June 7, to mark the release of her first album, and thanks to a clever media campaign released on several social networking platforms, she has quickly become the hottest property in town. Her fans where quick to upload videos of her sexy stage presence and new style, all of which quickly went viral around the World. The venue for the concert, the Beirut Sporting Club, also turned out to be a clever move—being a popular beach spot with the city’s people during the hot summer months.
The young 20-year-old does not hide her smiles at the early reactions to her album. She attributes the success to her crew, especially her producer, Jana Saleh, who believed in the project and sought to present a different style of Arabic singing. She also had the support of team member Lara Qunsawa, who has vital links with the Lebanese media. Aziza said: “We are confident of what we present and want the media to see what we do and judge whether it likes what it sees and hears. So far the feedback has all been positive.” Aziza adds: “Arabic music is, in many ways, well below standard, and this is why [Arab] youth prefer to listen to Western music, and this is really sad. What I present is Arabic singing that somewhat relies on an attractive image as well as on music so as to suit the new mood among young Arabs.”
Aziza is her stage name. It was given to her when she sang a cover of Aziza by legendary Egyptian crooner and composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab and the audience chanted “Oh Aziza!” The name stuck. Aziza is also the title of her debut album, which contains the cover of the song Aziza as well as a famous Italian song titled No No No. She composed all the other songs by herself.
Aziza describes the songs on the new album as “folk [songs] that mix traditional singing with pop; some parts are sung in the Lebanese tongue and others in standard Arabic, as well as mixing in some reggae. Sometimes, the sound of the drums is more prevalent.” It is this contemporary blend that Aziza says reflects her everyday life. Holiday Inn is a song that mocks men who come home from work and act as if they are staying at a hotel, leaving all the chores to their long-suffering wives, who must shuttle around the home, concierge-like, to tend to their every need. Barghasheh is about a city like Beirut: buzzing with people and noise. The album is replete with female-focused themes with many of the songs reflecting women’s issues; their sorrows, preoccupations and relationships.
Preparation for the new album has come along steadily over the last two years. Two team members Jana Saleh, who studied in New York, and Raad El-Khazen, her music arranger, are both credited with giving the album a distinctive flavor.
Aziza’s first music video, Ya Mazag (“Good Vibes”), is yet to be broadcast on TV, but it has been uploaded onto YouTube and is quickly getting up the hits. Teasers for upcoming singles like Barghasheh are also doing really well.
Although Aziza has a degree in visual and audio media, she has always been surrounded by music. She grew up around a father who loved music and singing and had a melodic voice. She plays guitar and takes lessons and is now learning how to play the oud, or traditional Arabian lute. Aziza says: “I love my music lessons and decided to live my life only as a singer and not to have any other job. Music requires dedication and persistent work, which I’m doing now.”
Following the release of her very first album, preparations are already underway for a bigger tour next winter. “We will not stop and we will do whatever we want next time,” she says confidently. But the publicity so far has served merely as a trailer, a teaser announcing her arrival onto the Arab music scene. Aziza and her crew will now dig in for a long slog if they are to prove that they deserve attention on the competitive Lebanese music scene.
Watch her new You Tube video here;