Nancy Nabil Ajram (Arabic: ?) (born May 16, 1983) is a multi-platinum Lebanese singer. By 2007, Ajram had sold over 30 million records ranking 3rd best selling female artist in Lebanese history. She has released seven albums to date and appeared in numerous music videos and commercials. She has participated in the most significant Arabic festivals and won multiple awards, most importantly the 2008 World Music Award of best-selling Middle Eastern artist, the youngest Arab WMA winner to date. Nancy Ajram is the first and only female sponsor and spokesperson of Coca-Cola in the Middle East and Arab world.
Early life and beginnings
Ajram was born to Nabil Ajram and Rimonda Oun on May 16, 1983 in Achrafieh, a district of East Beirut Lebanon.
In 1995, at the age of twelve, Nancy Ajram took part in the entertainment show, Noujoum Al-Moustakbal, ("Stars of the Future"), a Lebanese television musical competition, winning a gold medal in the Tarab category after singing a song by Umm Kulthum.
Ajram studied music following her early success 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. Her first songs 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, with most of its songs holding a pure Tarab style. It was followed by Sheel Oyoonak Anni ("Take Your Eyes Off Of Me") in 2000, which achieved more success.
Ajram is from a Christian family. Besides singing, she likes to draw or paint.
Fame and stardom
2002-2004: Akhasmak Ah
Ajram then began working with Jiji Lamara, an experienced producer and manager. In early 2003, her third album, Ya Salam ("How Beautiful"), became her most successful album so far, driven by the popularity of the song Akhasmak Ah ("I'll taunt you") and by its then-controversial music video. 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" & "Sehr Ouyouno" quieted down criticism as Nancy proved her vocal abilities through these singles.
2004-2006:Ah w Noss, Coca-Cola
Her fourth album, Ah w Noss ("Yes, and a half"), was released on April 12, 2004, and was also an important marking point in Nancy's career. The tremendous success "Ah w Noss" achieved stabilized Nancy's position as an A-level star in the Arab music industry. Nancy then filmed "Lawn Ouyounak" (The Color of Your Eyes) which portrayed Nancy as a bride in a traditional Lebanese wedding, and since then that song became a favourite at weddings. Negotiations between leading soft-drink company Coca-Cola and Nancy Ajram started that period and towards the beginning of 2005, Nancy Ajram became Coca-Cola's star and official celebrity sponsor and spokesperson for the Western Asia and North Africa. Her first Coke commercial was for her hit "Oul Tany Kida" (Say That Again?) which was filmed with the international Italian director Luca Tomassini. The commercial's success lead to its filming 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 drama song by Samir Sfeir. Nadine Labaki successfully created a drama that portrayed Nancy in a much mature and different image, as she appeared as a wife who sees her husband cheating on her and hides this to save her 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 performed in Enrique Iglesias's first concert in Egypt in 2004.
2006-2008:Ya Tabtab Wa Dalla, Shakhbat, El Donya Helwa
Main article: Atabtab
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 after "Ehsas Jdeed" and featured four songs from her album: Shakhbat Shakhabit, Katkouta, Shater, and Eid Milad at the credits. Nancy performed these songs at several fund-raising events for children and other children's events. 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, like the one in the video. Old rumors claimed that the video will be presented to the UNICEF. In 2007, Nancy performed alongside Lionel Richie in Egypt at a launching event.
2008?present: Betfakkar Fi Eih, WMA
Main article: Betfakkar fi eih?!
In February and March 2008, Nancy 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 song and commercials served as a highly successful promotion 5 months before the album's release. 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 . 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. Nancy announced that she will be filming around 8 to 10 songs from the album as requests for music videos for the songs were on the rise. 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?"
Marriage and motherhood
In September 2008, Nancy married Dr. Fadi Al Hachem after a 2-year relationship; the wedding was attended mainly by close friends and family. Nancy continued her work during pregnancy, during which she had filmed "Lamset Eed" and her first Sony Ericsson commercial, participated in several concerts such as Layali Febrayer, and received her WMA. On May 16, 2009, Nancy gave birth to her first baby daughter named "Mila", who shares her birthday. Short for Milagrosa (miraculous in Spanish), Mila is also an old Arabic name widespread in rural Lebanon meaning a "blooming tree". However, Nancy revealed that the name was Fadi's choice inspired from Russian actress Milla Jovovich. Nancy released her song for her daughter "Ya Rab Tekbar Mila" (I Pray That Mila Grows Up) on the same day, and refused to send images of her daughter to the media until four months later. In a survey done by Rotana Magazine, Nancy was voted as the "Most Beautiful Mom" of 2009.
Awards and titles
1995 Nojoom Al Mustaqbal Golden Award - (Nancy's most significant pre-stardom award)
2003 Murex D'or Award - Best Female Lebanese Singer of the year, Beirut
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 Zahrat elKhaleej - Best Music Video of the Year, Dubai
2004 Arabian Music Awards - Best Female Arab Singer of the year, Dubai
2004 Murex D'or Award - Best Female Lebanese Singer of the year, Beirut
2005 Newsweek - Most Influential Arab Personalities, Kuwait
2005 - Honor from the Opera House of Egypt
2006 Murex D'or Award - Best Female Lebanese Artist of the year, Beirut
2007 Certificate from the Pope of Rome
2007 Middle East Music Awards (Mobinil) - Best Female Arab Singer of the year, Cairo
2007 Arabian Business - Most Influential Contemporary Female Singer in 2007
2007 Arabian Business - Most Powerful Arab Singers
2007 Kol elArab Survey - Best Arabic Star of the year 2007
2008 Annual Doha Festival - Honor Award, Doha
2008 World Music Award - World's Best-Selling Middle-Eastern Artist, Monaco
2008 Student Choice Award - : Best Album of the Year 2008, Beirut
2008 AlJumhuriya Newspaper, Freedom Magazine - Best Female Arab Star of 2008, Egypt
2009 Arabian Business - Power 100 - World's Most Influential Arabs