||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (October 2011)|
|This article uses citations that link to broken or outdated sources. (November 2011)|
|Genres||Arabic pop music, Music of Lebanon, Pop folk|
|Years active||2000 – present|
|Labels||Dilara Master(2000—2001), Music is My Life(2002—2003), Stallions Records (2004) Rotana (2004—present)|
|Associated acts||Faudel, Rayan, Nader Nour, Omar and Rafi|
|Website||Official Amal Hijazi FanClub
Amal Hijazi (Arabic: أمل حجازى) is a Lebanese singer, model and pop icon. She is one of the most active Lebanese singers and has given a number of concerts throughout the world and has made countless TV appearances. After her lengthy career as a fashion model, Hijazi released her debut album, Akher Gharam in 2001 to commercial success. It became one of the biggest selling albums of the year, ranking on number eight Official Sales charts published by the Chart Magazine. She released her second album Zaman in mid-2002 with even greater success. The album released four number one hit singles, Zaman, Oulhali, Einak and Romansyia catapulting her to phenomenal success. A third album Bedawwar A Albi was released in early 2004 followed by the release of her fourth album Baya al Ward in 2006. The album's breakthrough of the same name caused the entertainer to face negative critical publicity and a number of controversies.
Hijazi continued to remain in the forefront of pop music with the release of her much awaited Gulf single Nefsy Tefhamny in 2007. She released her fifth studio album Keef el Amar in 2008, thus bringing her back on the spotlight once again.
Hijazi's personal life began to gain more media attention after her break-up from her former business manager Sharbel Domat. She now lives with her husband in Beirut and has adopted a girl named Nour (before her marriage) and has a son with her husband she named Karim (b. 2009). In addition, Hijazi well known for her support in charity projects has promoted humanitarian causes throughout the world.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Music career
- 3 Contracts and endorsements
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Philanthropy
- 6 Image and fashion
- 7 Discography
- 8 Releases
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Hijazi was born in her native Lebanon to Mahmoud and Nadia Hijazi, and raised in France, where her family had fled due to the political instabilities. Hijazi has five brothers, Ibrahim, Youssef, Ahmad, Mohamoud and the late Mustafa. Her father died when she was only ten years old and she was left in the care of her mother. Her family realized her talent for singing and her interest in music and duly supported her. Hijazi had in fact started her career as a model before she became a singer.
In 2008, Hijazi married the Lebanese business tycoon, Mohamed Al Bassam. Their son, Karim was born on 20 March 2009.
2000–2003: Rise to fame
Her first single Halan ("Right Away") was released in 2000 and acted as a catalyst for Hijazi to establish herself as a major female artist in Lebanon. The single was well received in Lebanon and gained generally positive reviews in countries like Egypt and Jordan. In addition, it received moderate radio airplay in the rest of the Middle East. Surprised by the success of "Halan", Hijazi's managers asked her to record another. Hijazi's second single Rayyah Balak ("Put Your Mind at Ease") was released an year later, for which she also shot a music video. Rayyah Balak was a surprising success. The single was charted strongly around the Middle East and the music video gained extremely positive reviews from both critics and fans.
On the same year her debut album Akher Gharam was released followed the lead single of the same name. The album was produced by Dilara Master Production and distributed by Music Master. Hijazi made history in 2001, when her album became the highest selling debut album ever released by a female artist. It was ranked as the eighth highest selling Arabic album of 2001 by Chart Magazine. Akher Gharam released three hit singles, Akher Gharam, Habibi Oud and Ghanniet which helped her to stay at the number one spot for more than six months. In addition, Hijazi broke the record of having all her four singles debut at number one in countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Morocco and Tunisia. Akher Gharam was also a considerable success outside the Middle East especially in Malaysia, which led her to perform at the Malaysian Popular Star Award in October 2002. Riding a wave of publicity and hype, Hijazi released her second studio album, Zaman (Long Ago). Preceded by the single of the same name, the album proved to be an instant bestseller. It debuted at number one in a number of countries like Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Morocco and UAE. Concerning both musical content and lyrics, the album was very similar to Hijazi's debut, although it fared better with critics. According to Hijazi's production company Dilara Master Production, the album has in fact surpassed expectations in the number of breaking figures in the music market all over the world, despite of the heavy competition Hijazi had had with a number of other Arabic female singers like Elissa[disambiguation needed].
The title track, Zaman went on top become one of the biggest hits ever in the Middle East and to date is still considered to be Hijazi's signature song. Another single Romansyia was also a big hit for Hijazi, continuing the streak of hit singles off of her second album. The music video for Romancia was one of the most popular of 2003 under the direction of Mirna Khayat. By the end of the year it was announced that Zaman was one of the highest selling albums ever released by a female artist. It was also in fact the album's huge success that made Hijazi sign her multi-million dollar promotional deal with Panasonic.
2004–2005: Career development
After the huge success of Zaman, Hijazi was approached by the Middle East's largest recording label, Rotana, headed by Saudi Prince Al Walid Bin Talal. Rotana succeeded in luring Hijazi to sign a five album contract and within a matter of minutes Hijazi was now declared as a Rotana artist. In addition, she hired a business manager Sharbel Domat and signed a full sponsorship contract with Pepsi and Future Television. Work on a new album began immediately. Expert poets, writers and composers were enlisted to work on Hijazi's upcoming album, Bedawwar A Albi which was to be released in 2004 and distributed by Stallions Records. The eleven song album failed to top charts and received a lukewarm response from critics, receiving only a fraction of the success that the previous album Zaman had received. There was also in fact a huge drop of sales due to the poor advertising and promotion provided by Rotana. Despite of all this, Hijazi continued to promote the album and appeared on various talk shows, giving a number of concerts all around the Middle East.
The same year, Hijazi released the album's first single Bedawwar A Albi. Under the direction of Mirna Khayat, the video was one of the most expensive of 2004, having a total budget exceeding $60,000. The song debuted at number one in a number of countries, increasing the sales of the album. The album's second single Mistanie Eiy (song) was also charted strongly around the Middle East, becoming one of the greatest hits of 2004. The video was once again directed by Mirna Khayat. There was also a popular demand from fans for video clips of songs like Omri w Sneeene, Alaa Keifak, and Ah Ya Habibi, but these were never filmed due to Rotana's objections.
The release of Bedawwar A Albi saw Hijazi mark a major world tour including a successful live performance on the second day of Eid El Fitr alongside the celebrated Lebanese singer Fadel Shaker at the Sheraton Hotel in Beirut. The same year, Hijazi, alongside the singer Wael Kfoury, had one of the most successful performances during the Carthage Festival in Tunisia.
In 2005, after a long absence from the scenes, Hijazi planned on releasing a new single, Ba'ad Sneen (song) ("After Years"). The song was composed by Jan Saliba, written by Samer Nakhla under the arrangement of Jean Marie Riachi. Ba'ad Sneen (song) was expected to be a huge success but the video did not live up to the expectations of both fans and critics. Upon its initial release, the song received lukewarm response although it did manage to debut at the number one spot in many countries.
2006–2008: Baya al Ward and Keef el Amar
After an absence that lasted for more than two years, Hijazi released her fourth, much awaited studio album, Baya al Ward in 2006. The album generated extremely negative reviews due to its bold lyrical content and unusual artwork. Hijazi had returned with an extremely sophisticated look that generally attracted negative publicity and controversies where she appeared with short, pixie blond hair and clothes that "promoted homosexuality and lesbianism according to critics. Despite of the attacks, Hijazi continued to promote her album throughout the world and later released the music video of the same name.
The music video of Baya al Ward heavily criticized and caused huge controversies that Hijazi was promoting homosexuality. Hijazi denied the allegations, however critics argued that the T-shirt she was wearing in the music video had several symbols imprinted on it which belonged to a garment manufacturer, specialising in clothing for homosexuals. At a press conference she held in Dubai to announce the launch of her album, Hijazi clarified that she did not know what the symbols on the shirt meant or that she never thought to find out when she chose to wear it. Critics argued that Hijazi had gone to extremes and cut her hair shorter than that of an ordinary woman. The video was accused of being unorthodox because Hijazi cuts her hair off and drowns herself at the end out of depression over the man who left her. Despite the heavy controversy behind the video, the album Baya al Ward managed to sell in huge numbers all around the Middle East and beyond and generated two hit singles.
In 2007, Hijazi released a new single, Nefsy Tefhamny which was a traditional and modern Khaleeji song that brought a new style to the singer. Hijazi said that it released mainly due to the popular demand of her Khaleeji fans. Released in May, the song debuted at number one in a number of countries all around the Middle East. It was charted strongly in Persian Gulf countries like UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain and thus becoming probably the biggest Gulf hit of the year and a major dance song of 2007. In 2008, Hijazi's released her fifth album Keef el Amar, which includes the single Nefsy Tefhamny.
Ahla Mafe el Ayyam was the first single from Keek el Amar. The music video shows Hijazi as a lonesome woman who has fallen out of love from her husband. She recalls her wedding scenes. The video was shot in a mystical, dreamy fashion by Randa Aalam and debuted #1 on the Rotana Top 10.
The album's second single "Albi Nadak" was released in 2009, a year later. Hijazi has stated that she has dedicated the song to motherhood and appears in the clip as a pregnant woman, the video was directed by Salem al Turk. The video reached #4 on the Rotana Top 10.
2008–2010: Motherhood and Waylak Min Allah
Amal Hijazi has been busy with her baby boy Karim, after his birth in March 2009. Also, she came out with the new album Waylak Min Allah, with a single from it released with the same title. The single has reached #1 in Lebanon and the story line of the video related to her husband betraying her, her love and also the country. The words mainly deal with his betrayal of her love and the time they spent together in the past, and reminiscence about time lost.
Contracts and endorsements
In early 2003, due to the success of her album Zaman Hijazi accepted a multi-million dollar promotional deal with Panasonic that included television commercials, point-of-purchase promotions, and Internet ties between Hijazi and the company. The contract generated much public attention and tabloid headlines because Hijazi was the first and sole representer and Arab ambasaddor of the company. The same year Hijazi took part in the launching of the international rally Formula one in Japan. Hijazi's presence at the rally was solely as a representative for the Middle East and as an international ambasaddor of Panasonic.
In 2004, Hijazi signed a contract with Stallions Records for the production of her album Bedawwar A Albi under the label Rotana. To ensure success Hijazi also signed a full-sponsorship deal with Pepsi and Future Television. In addition, Hijazi was also under the sponsorship of LG in 2006, for the promotion of her album Baya al Ward.
In 2007, Hijazi was approached by the Middle Eastern optical company Fashion Look and agreed to sign a $200,000 contract with them. Since them, the singer has appeared in a number of endorsement posters with the company. Fashion Look also sponsored Hijazi for the production of her single Nefsy Tefhamny.
Hijazi is also the first Arab brand ambassador of Dior and finished shooting her photo advertisements sometime in late April 2009. The photos were taken by famous Lebanese photographer Jean Claude Bejani who has previously worked with Hijazi before on her magazine and album covers
Relationships with other singers
Other than the heavy controversies behind her latest album, Hijazi has also been accused of imitating the popular Lebanese singer Elissa, especially in the video of Hijazi's hit song, "Bedawwar A Albi" ("Searching for my heart"). Hijazi however denied the accusations stressing that each of the singers has her own unique style. Hijazi added that her song was filmed long before Elissa's "Hubbak Waja" and had been airing on different satellite channels sometime in 2004.
Both Amal Hijazi and Elissa are known to be as rivals and make it a point to avoid each other.
In a candid interview with the weekly Arabic magazine Sayidaty Hijazi revealed her true feeling toward other female singers, along with other personal secrets. She stated that she is on good terms with most female singers and many of them are her friends, except Elissa. She and Elissa are not on speaking terms and she does not believe this matter will change any time soon, but despite this fact Hijazi wishes her the best.
Unlike the rumors, Hijazi stressed that she is not enemies with Elissa, stating, “We are merely two people who do not mix with one another, and if we by chance meet we just say ‘hello.’” Hijazi also stated that she does not compete with any specific singer, but rather is inspired by the success of others and strives to always do her best.
Hijazi added that she does not flaunt her body as her colleagues do, even though she may appear in some clips wearing a sexy outfit. In 2004, however, Hijazi put everything aside and made a personal visit Elissa to give her condolences after the latter lost her father to cancer. Elissa welcomed Amal with open arms and expressed her gratitude towards Amal’s attempt to stand by her side at such a troublesome time.
In 2008, there were rumors that Elissa had attempted to steal television commercials that Hijazi had been working on. Hijazi has however said that she has no clue weather Elissa has done it and later added that even if Elissa really did so, she bares no hard feelings towards her especially that an ad is something trivial to even consider.
There were rumors of Hijazi criticising Nancy Ajram of singing on stage while pregnant. Hijazi has however denied the allegations stating, "All what I said is that I don’t find it fit for a pregnant singer to perform on stage. I didn’t hit on Nancy at all."
Nawal Al Zoghbi
Recently, Hijazi has accused Nawal Al Zoghbi for stealing her contract of the Kuwaiti optical company Fashion Look. Hijazi added that al Zoghbi stole the commercial and took it for herself, by asking one of her business managers to call the contact company owner and asked him to have Nawal make the advertisement for less money instead of Hijazi. Hijazi stated that she had seen the contract that al Zoghbi signed with the company and found out that al Zoghbi was paid less than the offer they had given her.
Banning in Kuwait
In April, Hijazi expressed her shock at being banned from entering Kuwait despite her continuous efforts to travel there. The singer had submitted numerous requests to obtain a visa for both holding concerts for her Kuwaiti fans and for leisure, but all attempts were rejected.
The singer stated that she was told that Kuwaiti officials had ordered for her ban without giving her any justifications. Hijazi noted that she will not let the matter be until she is able to find out the real reasons behind her ban.
In May, Hijazi was specially invited as a guest at a special event that was organized by the Healthy Diet Association to support cancer patients and spread awareness about uterine cancer. According to the London based Elaph, at the event, which was a private luncheon composed of over 500 ladies, Hijazi sang a collection of her most popular hits and expressed her ongoing support to help cancer patients.
Image and fashion
Hijazi started her career as a fashion model and had previously worked with a number of distinguished bodies in the fashion industry. It was her high profile model status that rose her towards her career as an artist.
In 2002, after the release of her album Zaman rumors arose that Hijazi was involved in a number of cosmetic surgeries due to her new look. Hijazi however denied the statements saying that she only had one plastic surgery and that was rhinoplasty. She added, "I refuse to insert silicon or any other thing into my body, and greatly fear the negative side effects too many plastic surgeries may have."
In 2005, Hijazi was especially chosen by the well-known Lebanese designer Joe Raed as the model for his new line of wedding dresses to be released this summer season. Ra'ed revealed that he chose Amal for her good natured qualities and her beauty. Hijazi return as a super model generated much public interest. Raed went on to say "Amal appeared as if she came out of a fairytale when she wore the wedding dresses I designed."
Hijazi was named 8th Arab Sexiest Woman Alive in 2008, ahead of artists like Elissa, Nancy Ajram and Najwa Karam. In addition, Hijazi managed to receive twice as many votes as the Egyptian singer Sherine.
- Akher Gharam (2000), Dilara Master Production
- Zaman (2002), Dilara Master Production
- Bedawwar A Albi (2004), Rotana Records
- Baya al Ward (2006), Rotana Records
- Keef el Amar (2008), Rotana Records
- Waylak Min Allah (2010), Rotana Records
- 2000: Halan
- 2002: Zaman (song)
- 2002: Weyli Wah Ft. Omar and Rafi
- 2004: Mistanie Eiy (song)
- 2005: Bedawwar a Albi (song)
- 2005: Jnoon Bihobak with Rayan (singer)
- 2005: Ba'ad Sneen (song)
- 2006: Baya al Ward (song)
- 2007: Baheb Nuoa Kalamak (song)
- 2007: Nefsy Tefhamny
- 2008: Khalina Ne'oul Ft. Iwan (singer)
- 2008: Ahla Ma Fel Eyyam
- 2009: Deq El Mayy
- 2009: Alby Nadaak
- 2009: Keef El Amar
- 2010: Waylak Min Allah
- Albawaba.com middle east news information::Amal Hijazi's 'Past' guarantees her a successful future at www.albawaba.com
- "Formula One to be launched by Amal Hijazi in Japan" 16 August 2003
- "Amal Hijazi gives a memorable performance in Jordan" 20 August 2003
- "The Top Headline News from the Middle East and the Arab World". Al Bawaba. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- "Amal Hijazi ranked number one in Lebanon " 6 December 2010
- "Amal Hijazi has nothing to conceal", Albawaba, 10 July 2005
- "Amal Hijazi goes short", Albawaba, 16 February 2006
- "Amal Hijazi makes a personal visit to Elissa", 6 March 2004 Albawaba,
- "Amal Hijazi: No Conflict With Nancy Ajram And Elissa". Wikeez.com. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- "The Top Headline News from the Middle East and the Arab World". Al Bawaba. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- Albawaba.com middle east news information::Amal Hijazi in shock for being banned in Kuwait at www.albawaba.com
- Albawaba.com middle east news information::Amal Hijazi sings for Cancer patients at www.albawaba.com
- middle east news information::Amal Hijazi makes the perfect bride at albawaba.com
- Lebanon Entertainment::Arab Sexiest Woman Alive '08[dead link]