Nancy Ajram

Nancy Nabil Ajram (born May 16, 1983) is a multi-platinum Lebanese singer and Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.[1] With the support of her father, Nancy began performing as a child and released her first studio album by the age of 15. Her breakthrough occurred with the start of her collaboration with well-known producer Jiji Lamara, when she released her smash-hit "Akhasmak Ah" and 3rd studio album, Ya Salam. In 2004, she released her second international best-seller "Ah w Noss", which spawned several smash-hits, "Ah w Noss", "Lawn Ouyounak", and "Inta Eih" at which point Nancy had established pop icon status in the Middle East.

By 2007, Ajram had sold over 30 million records ranking 3rd best selling female artist in Lebanese history.[2][3] Her 2008 album "Bitfakkar Fi Eih" spawned seven singles and won Nancy's first World Music Award as Best-selling Middle Eastern Artist, the youngest Arab WMA winner to date. She has released seven studio albums to date and numerous other chart-topping singles such as "Sehr Ouyouno", "Atabtab", "Moegaba", "Ehsas Jdeed", "El Donya Helwa", "Mashi Haddi", and "Fi Hagat".

Nancy Ajram is the first and only female sponsor and spokesperson of Coca-Cola in the Middle East and Arab world. Considered by many as an Arabic music icon of the decade, Nancy was described on the Oprah Winfrey Show as one of the most influential personalities of the Middle East. Nancy has made the list of Most Powerful Arabs on Arabian Business several times, and was similarly listed by Newsweek as one of the most influential Arabs.[2][3] Nancy's official Facebook page is the most subscribed Arabic artist page on the social-networking site and the first to reach 1 million subscribers,[4] and her music video for "Fi Hagat" was an Internet phenomenon and is currently the most viewed Arabic music video on the Internet, with more than 20 million views on Youtube

Early life and beginnings

Ajram was born to father Nabil Ajram and mother Raymonda Aoun, on May 16, 1983 in Achrafieh, a district in Beirut, Lebanon.[6]

In 1995, at the age of twelve, Nancy Ajram took part in a variety show, Noujoum Al-Moustakbal, ("Stars of the Future"), a Lebanese reality television competition, which finds new solo musical talent. Ajram won a gold medal in the Tarab category after singing a song by Umm Kulthum.

Ajram studied music with renowned Lebanese musicians and despite being less than 18 years old at the time, the syndicate of professional artists in Lebanon accepted her as a member. Her first singles were titled "Hobbak Allam Albi elGheere" by Abdo Mounzer, and "Oulha Kelma Ala Shani". At the age of 15, she released her first album, Mihtagalak ("I Need You') in 1998. It was followed by Sheel Oyoonak Anni ("Stop Staring") in 2000, which achieved more success.

2-2004: Akhasmak Ah

Ajram's breakthrough was when she began working with Jiji Lamara, an experienced producer and manager. In early 2003, Ajram rose to instant fame with the success of the lead single "Akhasmak Ah" and the release of her third studio album, Ya Salam ("Oh Wow") which was a best-seller. The music video of "Akhasmak Ah" caused a controversy; reminiscent of older Arabic films, Nancy appeared as a cafe manager who dances and flirts with its customers. The release of the next music videos, "Ya Salam" and "Sehr Ouyouno" quietened down criticism as they better introduced Nancy's vocal abilities and style to the public.

2004-2006:Ah w Noss, Coca-Cola

Her fourth album, Ah w Noss ("Yes, and a half"), was released on April 12, 2004, and it was also an important marking point in Nancy's career. The tremendous success that "Ah w Noss" achieved, stabilized Nancy's position as an A-List star in the Arab music industry. Nancy then filmed "Lawn Ouyounak" (Color of Your Eyes), which portrayed Nancy as a bride in a traditional Lebanese wedding. After the release of the album, Nancy Ajram signed-up with Coca-Cola to be their official celebrity spokesperson for the Levant, Arabia and North Africa regions. Her first Coke commercial featured her hit, "Oul Tany Kida?" (Say That Again?), which was filmed with the international Italian director Luca Tomassini. The commercial's success lead to it being filmed as a music video behind the scenes of the commercial. The 4th hit single from the album, "Inta Eih?" (What Are You?), was a slow directed by Samir Sfeir. Nadine Labaki directed another clip that featured Nancy as a wife who sees her husband cheating on her yet she hides it in torment to save their relationship. The music video received tremendous positive reviews and Nancy was greatly praised. Leading Egyptian actors and directors, like Faten Hamama praised Nancy's acting abilities and movie offers doubled for Nancy. Nancy also opened for Enrique Iglesias's first concert in Egypt in 2004.

2006-2008:Ya Tabtab Wa Dalla, Shakhbat, El Donya Helwa
Main article: Ya Tabtab...Wa Dallaa

Ajram in her first Damas (Farfasha) campaign, photographed by Fares Al Jammal. 2006

Her fifth album, Ya Tabtab Wa Dallaa was released on February 15, 2006. Atabtab was considered Nancy's best album to date, with six music videos released, eight radio hits, and five songs used for commercials.

The title song's video was Nancy's last video directed by Nadine Labaki, as she then started working on her movie Caramel. Nancy then released the video of her Coca-Cola hit "Moegaba" (Admirer), as well as a video and commercial for her newly signed Damas Jewelry contract advertising their "Farfasha" set. The song used was Ana Yalli which was promoted before the album's release. Nancy then cooperated for the first time with prominent Lebanese director Said el Marouk, filming "Ehsas Jdeed" (A New Feeling) which is widely considered to be the most successful song of the album. The video, which was a salute from Said to his deaf and mute parents, depicted the story of a rich woman who falls in love with a deaf and mute man. Later in 2007, Nancy released all together the video of "Elli Kan" (All That Was) for Damas's second campaign, her Coca-Cola Side of Life commercial featuring a new single "El Donya Helwa" (Life is Beautiful), and a video and album directed towards children, titled Shakhbat Shakhabit (Scribbled Scribbles). "El Donya Helwa", Nancy's 7th commercial, is considered one of her most successful commercials representing her style and Coca-Cola's with colors, happiness, and music, and it led her to release a Live album featuring the single.

Ajram's sixth album was fully dedicated to children with a variety of songs aimed towards teaching children good values and morals, something she has wanted to do for a long time. The music video was her second cooperation with Said El Marouk and featured four songs from her album, the most successful of which were "Shakhbat Shakhabit" & "Shater Shater". Nancy performed these songs at several fund-raising events for children and other children's events, such as the children's TV channel MBC3, and the children's entertainment TV Show "Star Zghar". She then filmed with Fadi Haddad, the director of photography of her previous works with ElMarouk, a video for the song "Resala Ilal Aalam" (A Message to the World) which talks about world peace. The video was released on May 25, 2008, the day the Lebanese president General Michel Suleiman was elected ending a deadlock that lasted since November. It was the first video for Nancy that had an entirely graphical world that implied the suffering of children worldwide and the need to bring out a more colorful and happy world for them. Old rumors claimed that the video was presented to the UNICEF. In 2007, Nancy performed alongside Lionel Richie in Egypt at a

2008–2010: Betfakkar Fi Eih, WMA, Oprah, UNICEF & motherhood
Main article: Betfakar Fi Eih

In February and March 2008, Nancy dated Mr. Smith three times and released three Coca-Cola commercials that featured a brand new hit from her long awaited album. The song, "Meen Gheyri Ana (Noss elKawn)" (Who Else?) was made by the successful Yey and Ana Yalli trio (Nizar Francis, Samir Sfeir, and Tarek Madkour). The single was an instant hit and served as a highly successful promotion 5 months before the release of the album. Nancy released her seventh studio album after several delays on July 30, 2008, which has been highly anticipated by fans for almost three years. This long awaited comeback album held lots of surprises for her fans with a huge change in her style that presented her matured vocal abilities like never before. Nancy's 7th album, Betfakkar Fi Eih?!, is considered to be one of her most successful albums so far as it won her first World Music Award in her career. The album included her first "Tarab" song called "Biteegy Sirtak" since 1998's Mihtagalak album, and in general had a wide mix of several different styles ranging from dance, beat, pop, to drama, romance, Tarab and oldies. Even though the hit video had mixed opinions, the second video of "Min Dally Nseek" was much more accepted, peaking at #1 for seven consecutive weeks in Melody Hits.[7] The same musical trio who created "Ehsas Jdeed" did one of the instant radio-hits of the album, "Lamset Eed" (Touch of a Hand), which was filmed with Leila Kenaan with a high budget, and the song and music video peaked charts for months. With this album Nancy signed a celebrity endorsement deal with Sony Ericsson, as a special w595 phone was released holding Nancy's signature, and Wana Ben Idek was chosen as the commercial song.

On November 9, 2008, about a month after her marriage, Nancy Ajram won her first World Music Award for her best-selling album Betfakkar Fi Eih. In her short speech, Nancy thanked her parents, Jiji Lamara, her fans and album makers, and husband, saying "2008 has been a fantastic year - a successful album, my wedding, and now a World Music Award, what can I ask for more?"

On September 28, 2009, the Oprah Winfrey Show aired an episode titled "Fame Around the World" that talked about the most famous celebrities around the globe in brief reports. Representing the Middle East region and Arab world, Nancy Ajram appeared in a report featured on the show and was described by Oprah as "the Britney Spears of the Middle East". Nancy Ajram is the first and only Middle-Eastern artist ever mentioned on the show.

2010–present: World Cup, N°7
Main article: 7_(Nancy Ajram album)

In the summer of 2010, Nancy was nominated by Coca-Cola Middle East to sing, along with K'naan, his international hit and song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, "Wavin' Flag". The Arabic version, titled "Shaggaa Be Alamak" and directed to the Middle East region, had its Arabic parts written by Ayman Bahgat Amar (who previously wrote Ah w Noss, Atabtab, Eftah Albak for Nancy) and the music remastered by Tarek Madkour. The original music video was used for K'naan's parts while Nancy's parts were filmed separately in Lebanon on the same protocol under Leila Kenaan's co-direction. Both the video and song were aired heavily during the FIFA season and part of the song was particularly played during commercial breaks on Al-Jazeera channel, which exclusively aired the games to the Arab world.

On August 30, 2010,[8] Nancy's official Facebook page posted a 16-second preview of the music video for Nancy's next single, "Fi Hagat". The preview shows Nancy wearing her makeup and getting in the car on a rainy day. Later, it was announced that Nadine Labaki directed the video, thus making her comeback to music video direction after her 4-year break. The video is also the first collaboration between Ajram and Labaki since 2006's "Atabtab." The full music video premiered on September 6, 2010 at 8:00PM on Arabica TV and MTV Lebanon.[9] As of January 2011, within four months, the video hit more than 10 million views and thus became the first and most viewed Arabic music video on the Internet.[10]

The album became a massive critical and commercial success, selling over a million units a month after its release and gathering many positive reviews from critics, who favored Nancy's classy style and the variety of musical genres she offers on the album.

In November, 2010, Nancy's Facebook page hit one million fans, becoming the most subscribed Arabic Facebook page on the site. Nancy expressed how thankful she was and promised her followers to add news and updates to the page. Later, the page announced "Sheikh El Shabab" and "Ya Kether" as the second and third singles from 7, respectively. The video for the second single premiered on December 23, and received favorable reviews from Arabic media, however, it did not achieve the same explosive rate of Internet views as did the first single "Fi Hagat", with only 750,000 views in a month.

The album marks a shift in Ajram's career and launches her to a more international image, and is, to date, her second fastest selling album.

Personal life

In September 2008, Nancy wed Dr. Fadi El Hachem in Cyprus after a three-year relationship; the wedding ceremony, in Lebanon, was attended mainly by close friends and family and was only made based on their request. Nancy continued her work during pregnancy, during which she filmed "Min Dally Nseek", "Lamset Eed" and her first Sony Ericsson commercial. She also participated in several concerts, such as Layali Febrayer and received her World Music Award.

On May 16, 2009, Nancy gave birth to her first child, a daughter she named "Mila." Short for Milagrosa (miraculous in Spanish), Mila is also a traditional, Levantine name popular in rural Lebanon and meaning a "blooming tree".[11] However, Nancy revealed that the name was Fadi's choice inspired by the Ukraine-born US actress, Milla Jovovich. Nancy released a song for her daughter, "Ya Rab Tekbar Mila" (I Pray that Mila Grows Up) on the same day. In a survey done by Rotana Magazine, Nancy was voted as the "Most Beautiful Mom" of 2009.[12] Nancy chose not to reveal photos of her daughter Mila until they both appeared on the cover of "Prestige" magazine in an exclusive photoshoot. Mila later appeared in the set of Nancy's music video "Ya Kether" in the presence of the media who publicized her pictures.

In October 2010, a month after the release of her seventh studio album, Nancy announced that she was four months pregnant with her second child, a girl. During that period she had filmed "Sheikh El Shabab" and "Ya Kether" consecutively to be released during her pregnancy period. Nancy Ajram revealed on Mothers day special on MTV that she decided to name her daughter Ella. Ella was born on 23 April 2011.

Awards and titles
1995 Nojoom Al Mustaqbal Golden Award - (Ajram's most significant pre-stardom award)
2003, 2005, 2007 Murex D'or Award - Best Female Lebanese Singer of the year, Beirut [13]
2003, 2006 Murex D'or Award - Best Video of the Year, Beirut.
2003: Ya Salam - Nadine Labaki, 2006: Ehsas Jdeed - Said elMarouk)
2003 The Golden Lion Award, Egypt
2003, 2007 LG Music Award
2003, 2005 Zahrat elKhaleej Magazine - Best Female Arab Singer, Dubai
2004, 2010 Zahrat elKhaleej - Best Music Video of the Year, Dubai (Lawn Ouyounak, Fi hagat - respectively)
2004 Arabian Music Awards - Best Female Arab Singer of the year, Dubai
2005 Newsweek - Most Influential Arab Personalities, Kuwait
2005 - Honor from the Opera House of Egypt
2007 - Certificate from the Pope of Rome
2007 Middle East Music Awards (Mobinil) - Best Female Arab Singer of the year, Cairo [14]
2007, 2009[15] Arabian Business - World's Most Influential Arabs, Most Influential Contemporary Female Singer in 2007,[16] Most Powerful Arab Singers[3]
2007 Kol elArab Survey - Best Arabic Star of the year 2007 [17]
2008 9th Annual Doha Festival - Honor Award, Doha
2008 World Music Award - World's Best-Selling Middle-Eastern Artist, 20th Annual WMA, Monaco [18]
2008 Student Choice Award - [College Student Survey]: Best Album of the Year 2008, Beirut [19]
2008 AlJumhuriya newspaper, Freedom Magazine - Best Female Arab Star of 2008, Egypt.. only? [20]
2009 Regional Ambassador for the UNICEF in the Middle East & North Africa
2009 Al-Jazirah Newspaper survey : Best Female Arab singer of the Year. Saudi Arabia
2010 Stars Cafe Magazine - Best selling female artist of the decade.
2010 World Travel Award - Best Female world singer of the Year .
2010 Sama Al Noujoum-Best Female Singer 2010/Fi hagat Best Music Video[21]
2010 Panet Survey-Best Female singer[22]
2010 Arab Sound Awards -Best Arabic Female Singer[23]
2010 Music My Life- Fi Hagat Best Song Of 2010
2010 Best Of Lbc 2010- N 7 Best Album/Fi Hagat- Best Music Video[24]
2010 Panorama Fm (MBC)-N 7 Best Arabic Album.[25]
2010-2011 Jaras Scoop Awards-Best Female Singer [26]
2010-2011 Melody Fm Awards-Best Female Singer
Stars Cafe Awards 2010:
Best Female Artist
Best Album : 7
Best Song: Fi Hagat
Best Lyrics: Fi Hagat
Best Arrangement: Fi Hagat
Best Music Video: Sheikh El Shabab
2011 Won two awards from "Murex D'or 2010" ceremony in Lebanon. First award as the Star of Lebanese song, and the second award for the category of best music video for the song "Sheikh El Shabab."[27]
2011 Best Female Singer- "Woujouh Men Lebnan" awards.
2011 Arabian Business- Most Famous Celebrity in the Middle East

Philanthropy and humanitarian work

Ajram has participated in numerous charity events and concerts that she considers a priority in her music career. In the year 2006, Ajram opened an organization under the name "Jam'iyet Nancy Ajram Al-Khayria" (Nancy Ajram's Charity Organization) in Beirut, Lebanon, that works on collecting and distributing money for the poor. Nancy also released a song about peace, "Resala Ilal Aalam" (A Message to the World), in her children's album as a music video, which was rumored to be presented to the Unicef. Ajram also participated amongst over 100 other prominent Arab artists in a huge production called "ElDhameer elArabi", a 10-year sequel to "AlHelm Al Arabi" that outlines the major political events in the Arab world in the past ten years.

In June 2008, Nancy participated in The Big Ball, a charity event in Dubai which raised over Dhs 940,000 for helping underprivileged children [29] by auctioning one of her favourite dresses and encouraging children's fund-raising events; she announced, "The Big Ball is doing a wonderful thing and I'm happy to support it. I'm coming for my love of children and because I want to help underprivileged children find a happy place in this world. Children inspired my latest album Shakhbat Shakhabit and especially the song "Resala lel3alam" (A Message to the World)." [30] Ajram, however, continues to refuse announcing her other charitable projects to the public.

On October 22, 2009, the UNICEF chose Ajram to be the first female regional ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa, as was announced in a press conference held in Beirut. Nancy announced that she will be starting her charity projects in 2010. In late 2009 she appeared in the UNICEF's commercial marking the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, joining other influential Middle Eastern celebrities such as Kazem el-Saher, Saber el-Rebai and Karess Bashar.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Ajram