Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Nancy Ajram

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Native name  نانسي نبيل عجرم
Occupation(s)  Singer
Height  1.68 m
Genres  Arabic pop world pop
Role  Singer · nancyajram.com
Origin  Beirut, Lebanon
Name  Nancy Ajram
Birth name  Nancy Nabil Ajram
Instruments  Vocals

Nancy Ajram
Born  May 16, 1983 (age 32) Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon (1983-05-16)
Spouse  Dr. Fadi El Hachem (m. 2008)
Children  Ella Fadi El Hachem, Mila Fadi El Hachem
Albums  Ya TabtabWa Dallaa, Ah W Noss, Ya Salam, Shakhbat Shakhabit, Super Nancy
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Nancy Nabil Ajram (Arabic: نانسي نبيل عجرم‎‎, born May 16, 1983) is a Lebanese singer, multi-platinum recording artist and three-time World Music Award winner. With the support of her father, Ajram began performing as a child and released her debut 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, including "Ah W Noss", "Lawn Ouyounak", "Oul Tani Keda" and "Inta Eyh".

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By 2007, Ajram had sold over 30 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling Middle Eastern music artists of all time. Her 2008 album Betfakkar Fi Eih spawned seven singles and won Ajram's first World Music Award as world's best-selling Middle Eastern artist, the youngest Arab WMA winner to date. By 2010 she was announced the best-selling Middle Eastern female singer of the decade (2000–2009). Ajram has released nine studio albums to date and numerous other chart-topping singles such as "Sehr Ouyouno", "Ya Tabtab", "Moegaba", "Ana Yalli", "Ehsas Jdeed", "Mashi Haddi", "Fi Hagat", "Ya Kether", "Ma Tegi Hena" and more.

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Ajram is the first and only female spokesperson of Coca-Cola in the Middle East and Arab world, releasing several promotional Coke anthems that became instant smash-hits, such as "Oul Tani Keda", "El Donia Helwa", "Noss El Kawn" and "Shaggaa' Bi Alamak (Waving Flag)". Ajram was described on The Oprah Winfrey Show as one of the most influential personalities of the Middle East, and she described her as Britney Spears of the Middle East. Ajram 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. Ajram is also among one of the richest celebrities in Lebanon with an estimated net worth of over $41.2 million USD.

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1983–1996: Early life

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Nancy Ajram was born into a Eastern Orthodox Church family on May 16, 1983 in Achrafieh, a district in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the eldest child of Nabil Ajram and Raymonda Aoun. Nancy has one sister, Nadine, and one brother, Nabil Jr. In 1995, at the age of twelve, 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.

1996–2002: Career beginnings and debut

Ajram studied music with renowned Lebanese musicians and although she was less than 18 years old, the syndicate of professional artists in Lebanon accepted her as a member. At the age of 13, she released her first singles. The first was "Hobbak Allam Albi El Gheere", written by Antoine Harfouch and composed by Abdo Mounzer. The second was "Oulha Kelma Ala Shani". At the age of 15, Ajram released her debut album, Mihtagalak, followed by Sheel Oyoonak Anni three years later.

2002–2004: Breakthrough and new image with Akhasmak Ah

In early 2002, Ajram signed a contract with renowned Lebanese producer and artist manager Jiji Lamara, four months after his splitting with Aline Khalaf. They started working together in preparation for the third studio album shifting her musical style and image away from the decent girl. Ajram's breakthrough single, "Akhasmak Ah", was released in December, The music video caused a controversy; reminiscent of older Arabic films, she appeared as a cafe manager who dances and flirts with its customers. It received criticism from various news publications, and it was meant to be banned on several Arabic televisions due to its sexual content. However, in early 2003, Ajram rose to fame with the success of the single and the release of her third studio album, Ya Salam which was a best-seller.

2004–2006: Ah W Noss, Coca-Cola

Her fourth album, Ah W Noss, was released on April 14, 2004, and it was also an important marking point in Ajram's career. The tremendous success that Ah W Noss achieved, stabilized Ajram's position as an A-List star in the Arab music industry. Ajram then filmed "Lawn Ouyounak" (Color of Your Eyes), which portrayed Ajram as a bride in a traditional Lebanese wedding. After the release of the album, Ajram 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 Tani Keda?" (Say That Again?), which was filmed with the international Italian director Luca Tomassini. The commercial's success led to it being filmed as a music video behind the scenes of the commercial. The 4th hit single from the album, "Inta Eyh?" (What Are You?), was a slow composed by Samir Sfeir. Nadine Labaki directed another clip that featured Ajram 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 Ajram was greatly praised. Leading Egyptian actors and directors, like Faten Hamama praised Ajram's acting abilities and movie offers doubled for Ajram. Ajram also opened for Enrique Iglesias's first concert in Egypt in 2004.

2006–2008: Ya Tabtab...Wa Dallaa, Shakhbat Shakhabit and El Donia Helwa

Her fifth album, Ya Tabtab...Wa Dallaa was released on February 21, 2006. Ya Tabtab was considered Ajram's best album back then, with six music videos released, eight radio hits, and five songs used for commercials. The title track's music video was Ajram's last collaboration with Nadine Labaki, as she then started working on her movie Caramel. Ajram then released the video of her Coca-Cola hit "Moegaba" (Admirer), as well as a video and commercial for her newly signed Damas Jewellery contract advertising their "Farfasha" set. The song used was "Ana Yalli" (I'm the One) which was promoted before the album's release. Ajram then cooperated for the first time with prominent Lebanese director Said El Marouk, filming "Ehsas Jdeed" (A New Sentiment) 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. In December 2006, Ajram performed alongside Lionel Richie in Egypt at a launching event. Later in 2007, Ajram released all together the video of "Elli Kan" (What Used to Be) for Damas's second campaign, her Coca-Cola Side of Life commercial featuring a new single "El Donia Helwa" (Life is Beautiful), and a video and album directed towards children, titled Shakhbat Shakhabit (Scribbled Doodles). "El Donia Helwa", Ajram's seventh 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 first album which was fully dedicated to children included 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". Ajram 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 El Marouk, a video for the song "Risala Lil 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 Ajram 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.

2008–2010: Betfakkar Fi Eih, WMA and Oprah Winfrey

In February and March 2008, Ajram released three Coca-Cola commercials that featured a brand new hit from her long-awaited album. The song, "Meen Ghairy Ana (Noss El Kawn)" (Who Else But Me?) was made by the successful "Yay" 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.

Ajram released her sixth studio album after several delays on July 30, 2008. 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. Ajram's sixth 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 "Betfakkar Fi Eih" music video had mixed opinions, the second single video, "Min Dally Nseek" was much more accepted, peaking at #1 for seven consecutive weeks in Melody Hits. 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 Kanaan with a high budget, and the song and music video peaked charts for months. With this album Ajram signed a celebrity endorsement deal with Sony Ericsson, as a special w595 phone was released holding Ajram's signature, and "Wana Ben Ideik" was chosen as the commercial song.

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, Ajram appeared in a report featured on the show and was described by Oprah as "the Britney Spears of the Middle East". Ajram is the first and only Middle-Eastern artist ever mentioned on the show.

On November 9, 2008, about two months after her marriage, Ajram won her first World Music Award for her best-selling album Betfakkar Fi Eih. In her short speech, Ajram 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?".

2010–2012: World Cup and Nancy 7

In the summer of 2010, Ajram was nominated by Coca-Cola the 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, Ya Tabtab and Eftah Albak for Ajram) and the music remastered by Tarek Madkour. The original music video was used for K'naan's parts while Ajram's parts were filmed separately in Lebanon on the same protocol under Leila Kanaan'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. One month later, Ajram filmed a commercial for her newly signed contract with Lactalis advertising their Lactel yoghurt.

On August 30, Ajram's official Facebook page posted a 16-second preview of the music video for Ajram's next single, "Fi Hagat". The preview shows Ajram 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 "Ya Tabtab". The full music video premiered on September 6, 2010, at 8:00PM on Arabica TV and MTV Lebanon, the same day of her seventh full-length studio album release entitled Nancy 7. As of January 2011, Ajram became the first and most viewed Arabic music video owner on the Internet.

In August 2011, Nissan chose Ajram to be the official ambassador in the Middle East and North Africa. On September 7, Ajram officially launched the all-new 2012 Nissan Micra at a special press conference in Lebanon.

On January 6, 2012, it was officially announced that Ajram won her second World Music Award as the World's Best-Selling Middle Eastern Artist for Nancy 7 album sales in 2011.

In September, Anlene named Ajram their new regional Ambassador for the fortified adult milk brand. The commercial was filmed in August with Lebanese director Oliver Ojeil in Beirut. In a press conference held in Dubai on October 20, Ajram stated that she will help raise awareness of osteoporosis and bone health amongst women in the Middle East.

2012–2014: Super Nancy, Arab Idol and Nancy 8

On September 13, 2012, Ajram her second album dedicated to children, entitled Super Nancy with the lead single "Ya Banat". A month later, it was officially announced in that Ajram joined the second season of the popular talent show Arab Idol, joining fellow judges Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama, Emirati singer Ahlam and Egyptian record producer Hassan El Shafei. After many delays, Ajram finally released her eighth full-length studio album entitled Nancy 8 on March 21, 2014, which has been highly anticipated by fans for almost four years. The album's lead single, "Ma Tegi Hena", was well received by music critics who compared it to "Akhasmak Ah," Ajram's breakthrough hit single. Two months later, Ajram received her third World Music Award as the best-selling Middle Eastern artist on May 27, 2014 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

On October 2, 2014, Huawei announced Ajram as its Middle East and North Africa Brand Ambassador at the launch of the Ascend Mate 7 smartphone in Dubai. A day before, the TV commercial came out on Ajram's official Facebook page featured her hit "Nam Bi Albi" from Nancy 8 album, which was filmed with Lebanese director Said El Marouk. 48 hours later, the TVC reached 1 Million views.

2014–present: The Voice Kids and Hassa Beek

In July 2015, Ajram has been officially confirmed as a judge in the first season of the highly acclaimed TV show The Voice Kids: Ahla Sawt alongside with Kathem Al-Saher and Tamer Hosny. The show premiered on MBC1 on January 2, 2016.

On their 20th Anniversary, Home Centre announced Ajram as brand ambassador. During the launching event that took place on October 13, 2015 in Dubai, Ajram said: "I'm delighted to be part of the Home Centre family. Homes are an extension of one's personality through which they are able to express themselves and Home Centre very well gives you the kind of products that help you create that space. As someone who takes pride in my home, Home Centre is certainly a brand I can connect to. I look forward to our association in the months to come."

Ajram released her log-awaited ninth full-length studio album entitled Hassa Beek on April 21, 2017.

Concerts and venues

Ajram has participated in a large number of concerts in her career. The following appearances in historic venues can be retained: the French Olympia of Paris, the British Central Hall Westminster, the Jordanian Jerash Festival, the Tunisian Carthage Festival, the Egyptian Alexandria Opera House and Lebanon's Cedars International Festival among many others. Her concerts are a fan favorite and are usually long-awaited venues.

Personal life

After a three-year relationship, Ajram married civilly Fadi El Hachem on September 1, 2008. On her 26th birthday, May 16, 2009, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Mila. Ajram released a song for her daughter, "Ya Rabi Tekbar Mila" (I Pray For Mila To Grow Up) on the same day. In a survey done by Rotana Magazine, Ajram was voted as the "Most Beautiful Mom" of 2009. Ajram decided not to reveal her daughter Mila until they both appeared on the cover of Prestige Magazine in an exclusive photoshoot. Mila later appeared in the set of Ajram's "Ya Kether" music video in the presence of the media who publicized her pictures. On April 23, 2011, she gave birth to her second daughter, Ella, and released a song for her "Hadri Laabek" on the same day.

Philanthropy and humanitarian work

Ajram has participated in numerous charity events and concerts that she considers a priority in her music career. Ajram also released a song about peace, "Risala Lil Aalam" (A Message to the World), in her first children's album Shakhbat Shakhabit 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 operate called "Al Dhameer Al Arabi" (released on February 27, 2008), a 10-year sequel to "El Helm El Arabi" that outlines the major political events in the Arab world in the past ten years.

In June 2008, Ajram participated in The Big Ball, a charity event in Dubai which raised over Dhs 940,000 for helping underprivileged children 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 "Risala lil Aalam" (A Message to the World)." 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. Ajram 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 Kathem Al-Saher, Saber El Rebai, Mahmoud Kabil, Khaled Abol Naga, Djamel Laroussi, Caresse Bashar, Fayez Al Malki and Iranian actress Mahtab Keramati.

In 2013, Ajram performed the theme song for Worth 100 Men ("B 100 Ragl" in Arabic) – a radio fiction series produced by The Womanity Foundation which focuses on women's education, training and development.

Criticism and controversy

  • Many rumors of boycotts against Ajram's concerts filled the internet, none appeared to be true.
  • On her official Facebook page, Ajram has apologized for anti-Iranian remarks falsely attributed to her on her official website as it was hacked in 2006.
  • Discography

  • 1998: Mihtagalak
  • 2001: Sheel Oyoonak Anni
  • 2003: Ya Salam
  • 2004: Ah W Noss
  • 2006: Ya Tabtab...Wa Dallaa
  • 2007: Shakhbat Shakhabit (Children's Album)
  • 2008: Betfakkar Fi Eih
  • 2010: Nancy 7
  • 2012: Super Nancy (Children's Album)
  • 2014: Nancy 8
  • 2017: Hassa Beek
  • Commercial music videos

    Ajram's success as a singer led to high-profile advertising deals with Coca-Cola and Sony Ericsson and Damas Jewellery. She remained the only Arab star promoting Coke until late 2007 when Egyptian sensations Mohamed Hamaki joined in as well, as she still remains the only female. Coca-Cola and Ajram formed a great team since five years making commercials and music videos that stood out in the Arab world, synchronising local campaigns with worldwide slogans.

    Damas's youth-inspired set called "Farfasha", which are gold collections from the World Gold Council said to be chosen by Ajram herself, was promoted by her in four different campaigns. Each campaign had a new collection for the set and a song, commercial, and music video, starting with "Ana Yalli", then "Elli Kan" from Ya Tabtab...Wa Dallaa, "Ibn El Giran" from Betfakkar Fi Eih, and the last one "Meen Elli Ma Endo" from Nancy 7.

    A survey by Sony Ericsson where Nancy was named the most popular Arab star led them into signing a deal with her as their celebrity spokesperson. The company co-sponsored the release of her best-selling album Betfakar Fi Eih. In February 2009 the W595i phone was officially released with a Nancy special edition kit that held her signature on the back of the phone, a free copy of her album and ringtones of her songs. This was accompanied by print advertising, a press conference in Dubai, as well as a commercial set in March 2009 that featured Nancy and the song "Wana Ben Ideik" from her best-selling album Betfakkar Fi Eih.

    References

    Nancy Ajram Wikipedia


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