Jannat's golden status

With a unique voice and outlook, Moroccan singer Jannat brings something new and original to the Arab music circuit.

  • By Nadia Khalifeh,Freelance writer, Eplus
  • Published: 00:00 February 4, 2010
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  • Image Credit: Supplied

Unlike some singers who use their looks as a passport to success, Jannat has decided to rely solely on her talent and distinctive style. Influenced by the great Umm Kolthoum, Jannat has already carved her own special place in the Arab music world and her two albums (the latest released at the end of last year) are proof of that. She quickly climbed the charts and began her journey towards stardom.

Her debut album, Elli Beny W Benak, was one of the biggest success stories of 2006 achieving Gold status for debut album in the Middle East. The album was also very well received in the US and France. With that album, Jannat accomplished what many artists can only dream to achieve in their lifetime! But what has her journey been like?

Jannat's career was undoubtedly influenced by Arabic legends Umm Kolthoum and Abdul Wahab. She says, "Their voice inspired me to start singing. The first song I sang was Ana Bentezarek (I'm Waiting) by Umm Kolthoum." But Jannat knew that to rise to the top she had to have her own style. She set out to work on music that people would love to listen to all the time. She achieved this with her debut album Elly Beny W Beinak, which includes the original duet with Egyptian singer Amr Diab.

Some of the top composers and lyricists contributed to its success, placing her at the top of the charts. Jannat is also grateful to producer Ahmad Al Desouki. "He's a talented producer. He knows what the public wants and knows how to help an artist reach their potential and the level of critical acclaim that he or she deserves. And even though the songs in the album are all different, the public just loved it," explains Jannat.

Her second album Hob Emtalak also got the same response. Trusting her producer's choices, Jannat allowed him to select the songs. However, they agreed that she would sing the songs that she likes the most. "I believe being in touch with the audience's sensitive side is my key to success," she says. When asked how she achieved such rapid success, she says: "I don't think I have reached success yet, but I do feel my life's dream is slowly coming true." And what makes Jannat different from other singers? Unlike many girls who try to capitalise on their looks, Jannat decided to focus on her talent. "I have always believed that I could be an accomplished singer through my voice and talent and my producer supported me in this hard choice," she adds.

"In the beginning, nobody thought I could succeed without provocative looks and hot dance routines. But in the end I made it." So why does she think some girls try to capitalise on their looks? Jannat says: "This is because these girls lack talent and try to compensate with their appearance and skimpy clothes and it's very degrading. What saddens me the most is that some girls do have talent but decide to go down this route because it's the quicker path to success."

Jannat might not get as much publicity and media coverage as other singers because of those choices, but her fame is increasing over time, thanks to her fans. The singer has a strong relationship with them. "I try to go on my fan page or Facebook where I chat with them and tell them about my concerts and performances. There is a large group that I always find at my concerts. They have supported me right from the start. I consider them to be like my brothers and sisters."

The Moroccan singer gives us insight into her music genre which she defines as Oriental Tarab (tunes that last forever). Apart from Umm Kolthoum and Abdul Wahab, the other singers who have inspired her are Fairouz, Abdul Halim, Wardah and Sabah. "I grew up with them and their voices," says Jannat. "So you can see how my songs have the same patterns. When I ask her about Western music, she says she loves French songs. "I always feel that there is a sense of love in their songs and they are very melodious. One of my favourites is La Vie En Rose."

The Moroccan singer has great plans for her future. Her distinctive voice is bound to take her places and she knows that. Her dream, in fact, is to be the number one Arabic singer. She also dreams of doing something she has never done before - singing to a Western audience in a non-Arabic speaking country.

"I want to sing in front of my Western fans and want to hear them singing with me in Arabic." Insiders within the music industry rate Jannat highly and say there's no doubt that she will be the next superstar in the region. She has the right formula and she has proved it with her amazing vocals, looks, performances and songs. Could she be the next Umm Kolthoum?

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