HER FIRST UNIVERSAL Music MENA-backed single, Shou Bina, has just hit Middle East shelves, though singer Banah can trace her road to stardom back to sharing a stage with Bryan Adams as a teenager.
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but now calls Bahrain her home and nationality, has grown up with a desire to spread an artistic message through song.
More traditional careers in the corporate world have come and gone but today Banah is surrounded by her family and children who are revelling in the latest and arguably biggest showbiz success. We caught up with the artist to find out more.
I have wanted to sing since the age of four when I took the opportunity every time there was a stage to get up and do a song. I listened to various genres including Eastern classical Arabic as well as jazz, blues and ballads. I have always loved both English and Arabic music.
I decided to pursue music after the birth of my second daughter as I realised I was not enjoying any sort of job or career path I was taking. I came to the conclusion that life is too short to live not having accomplished your purpose. I took a huge risk against family and cultural traditions. My husband has always been very supportive which was great for me but I found it initially a struggle being based in Bahrain as I’m not in the midst of the music genre I was trying to pursue. With hard work and persistence as well as social media, I managed to create a good following and a YouTube channel which initially carried various covers of English and Arabic classics. My covers were very popular until I landed my first single in August 2018 and things have been happening for me ever since which is super exciting and scary at the same time. Being in Bahrain is a blessing in a way as it keeps me grounded and in the presence of my family and close friends.
How does being multi national influence your music? Do you draw on your heritage and adopted nations to create songs?
When I sing in Arabic I am able to do it with a different twist in comparison to other Arabic artists. Being inspired by English music offers me an edge when performing in Arabic and vice versa. Many artists have been a great inspiration to me such as Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and from the Arab World Fairouz and Om Kolthoum.
How do you find juggling being a performer and a parent? Do you hope your kids are musical?
One of the reasons I decided to get into music is to ultimately become an inspiration for my children. I really wanted to set an example for them and make them see that they can do anything they wish to do regardless of cultural traditions or what others may think. Being a mother has enabled me to work even harder and to strive to maintain a healthy balance between family and my true passion. I do hope that my kids are musical and I believe they both are – my little one makes up songs and she’s only four!
Tell us about your new single Shou Bina.
Shou Bina is written by Pierre Hayek and Yehya Al Hassan and has been arranged by Omar Sabbagh. The song speaks about that spark that dies between couples that have been together for a long time – and it brings up the topic in a fun and humorous way. This is the type of approach that I like to take in my music, as I believe in positivity and messages that are uplifting – especially when you have that one chance in that one song to carry out a certain message you are trying to convey.
What is your ultimate career ambition?
To remain happy and proud of what I do and ultimately to be an inspiration. I have recently started to upload videos on my social media platforms where I speak about my journey and my inspiration and challenges in the hope of passing a message to somebody on a similar path or wishing to take a similar road.
What is it like performing in the region?
For me, my ultimate enjoyment is the actual performance! My first memory performing was with Bryan Adams in a concert in Bahrain where he needed to select a female to sing a duet with him and somehow randomly I was selected! The feeling was indescribable and I was 16 years old at the time. From that moment I realised this is what I would like to do for the rest of my life.
What is life like now you have fans?
I have started my journey in music via my social media platforms and my growth is something I owe to my fans and my followers. I have now created videos where I get to speak directly with my followers, answering questions as well as discussing various matters which I’m sure they’re going through too. I believe who I am extends far beyond just the music and I really do feel I have a voice and a message I want to try and convey.
If you had to sum up what singing meant to you in one sentence, how would that phrase go?
Singing makes me happy, and as long as I am happy then I am a better wife, mother, friend and a human being.
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