Nancy Ajram is today a far cry from the 12-year-old girl who took the stage of the variety TV series ‘Nojoum Al Moustakbal’ (Stars of the Future) two decades ago, where she performed a track by Egyptian icon Umm Kalthoum and won a gold medal in the tarab category.
The 35-year-old Lebanese pop star is now nearing the 10th album of her career, the follow-up to 2017’s ‘Nancy 9’ — also known as ‘Hassa Beek’. In Dubai last week to launch her partnership with telecommunications company du, Ajram spoke to Gulf News tabloid! about her humble beginnings and what fans can expect from her next record.
Your first album, ‘Mihtagalak’, released when you were 15. Is that correct?
16 — something like that.
If you were able to sit across from your teenage self today, knowing what you know now, what would be your advice to the younger Nancy?
I used to dream. I used to dream that I wanted to be a famous artist, an artist that people loved, and I wanted to be up on large stages. And I used to dream of having a song that’s just for me. So I used to dream this dream, and through determination, of course, I was able to make it come true, bit by bit — and I was able to reach the place where I am now.
After 20+ years of being in the industry, how have your priorities and your perspective on life changed?
Of course, human beings grow every year from the year before it. I consider myself in a stage of ongoing growth. Every year, I feel like I’m more mature than the previous year. Every year, my taste changes, my opinion changes, my point of view on life, on situations, changes. I think I get calmer. Just like everyone. Life is a school — you learn a lot form it.
I consider myself in a stage of ongoing growth. Every year, I feel like I’m more mature than the previous year.
I read recently that you’re the most-followed Arab artist on Instagram. [Ajram has 19.6 million followers at time of writing.]
From whom did you hear that?
It was retweeted on your Twitter. [The original tweet was posted by World Music Awards on April 16.]
How do you feel about the responsibility of having so many eyes on you?
It is a responsibility, for sure, but a positive responsibility. When you see that a lot of people are following you, that means they like you, they like what you are offering them, they like your body of work. It’s something that helps me more, and makes me happier, and gives me more enthusiasm to keep going.
‘Nancy 10’, your next album, will be your 10th album. It’s a big milestone. What’s the plan for it?
What’s the plan exactly, I can’t say. Because we’re still studying it. It’s under construction, you know what I mean? We’re still developing it, talking about it, and brainstorming ideas for it. We still haven’t been able to put down exactly what we want from album number 10, but of course it’s going to be nice. It’s going to be new and varied, from every aspect — the words, the topics, the music, the composition, the distribution, the pictures, the look. We’re going to work on everything. It will be a package.