At some point in time, every Arab household has played Fairouz’s music on an early morning. The Lebanese singer, an icon in the region and beyond, has been captivating audiences for decades on end. Today, the award-winning singer celebrates her 84th birthday, so here are five facts about her.
Fairouz is not her real name
You would be surprised to know that the legendary singer, who’s name is known all around the region is not really called Fairouz. The singer was born Nehad Wadie’ Haddad and took up the name Fairouz when her career kicked off. As is often seen in the industry, artists tend to pick stage-names, something that has a nice ring to it.
A golden age artist
Fairouz has been singing since she was a child and was discovered as a teenager. This means that the living legend has been performing for decades and is the last singer from her era who is still alive and performing.
The 84-year-old is considered to be from the golden age of Arabic music, which includes iconic names like: Umm Kalthom, Abdel Halim Hafez and Mohamed Abdel Wahab. Through her songs, Fairouz brought in a new wave of Arabic music combining classic oriental tunes with international genres like jazz and blues.
Most listened-to artist in the Middle East
Fairouz has been around for almost five decades, releasing more than 800 songs, which includes her most recent record Bebalee, which was released in 2017. This incredible feat does not include the numerous unreleased songs and an album that was composed by Egyptian musician Riad Al Sunbati (who has worked with Umm Kulthum), which has never seen the light of day. She is the second highest-selling Arab female artist of all time, coming after Egyptian legend Umm Khulthum.
Her husband was her main collaborator
Fairouz met her husband, Assi Rahbani when she was still still working at the radio, before her career takes off. Her partner, a composer, musician and producer became her main collaborator and help shape her career. He composed her song, Ithab which is credited as one of the tracks that shot her to fame. After her husband’s death, she worked mainly alongside their son, Ziad El Rahbani.
She almost sued Madonna
At one point of her career, Fairouz was going to sue Madonna. This is because, in 1992 at the height of her career, the American singer illegally sampled Fairouz’s El Yawm Ulliqa Ala Khashab in her hit song Erotica. However, no case was builtt as the singers settled matters outside court. But the single and subsequently the album we both banned from Lebanon. So, the lesson here is not to mess with a Lebanese legend.