Sitting at an outdoor table at the L'Auberge restaurant at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Lebanese singer May Hariri is dressed casually chic, appearing to exude calmness. But her enthusiasm is soon revealed as May opens up to tabloid! about performing a song for the UAE National Day and her upcoming movie, among other things.
"I was approached by members of the Ministry of Culture during the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) and Abdul Rahman Shibri, who won the Million Poets competition, to sing a song for National Day. I said that it would be a pleasure to do so and that it would be a gift to the UAE from Lebanon, through my voice," Hariri says.
Click here to listen to Hariri's song for the UAE
The production process for the song, entitled Al Mayish Fee Shay (Nothing Like You), took a month and a half. During that time, Hariri worked closely with Shibri, who wrote the lyrics, and Fayez Al Saeed, who composed and arranged the music. The song was recorded in Dubai. "I was supposed to be on vacation, but I cancelled all my plans to focus on this project. It took two weeks to write the lyrics and when I heard them on the phone, I was very excited. I was sure that everyone will enjoy it very much.
"So far, I've heard very positive feedback from everyone, who listened to it, especially since I was singing in the Emirati dialect."
But that is not the only thing Hariri has on her plate. She is also set to appear in a film that is due to be shot in the US, UK and the Middle East. It has been slated for international release in late 2011. "I was approached during MEIFF with the script for this movie. I liked what I read and agreed to be a part of the movie. I can't give details about it though, because of a confidentiality clause. But I can reveal that filming is due to start in March.
"I have never thought about acting before, but I am taking this very seriously. I am happy that I signed on to this film, but at the same time, it's such a great responsibility. I cherish the fact that I was approached during MEIFF to be a part of this movie, as it's a dream of all members of the [film] industry in the Middle East to break into the Western film industry," she added.
Because of her commitment to the film, Hariri has stopped all other projects, including a new album, for a while. "I have many songs for my new album, but because of the film, I won't have time to focus on it. Instead, singles will be released to ensure that my presence isn't forgotten, In fact, a new single is due to be released in four months."
As for now, Hariri is planning on staying in the UAE until Sunday, not just to celebrate National Day but also for a little rest and relaxation. The singer also hinted that she may be back here to ring in the New Year, perhaps with some lucky fans.
"I've earned the right to rest. I want to sleep! And to pamper myself. I also want to save my strength for the upcoming film."