Amal Hijazi

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Amal Hijazi
أمل حجازى
Born 1977
Kfarfila, South Lebanon
Origin Beirut, Lebanon
Genres Arabic pop music, Music of Lebanon, Pop folk
Occupations Singer
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

Hijazi's signature

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 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 song 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 (born 2009). In addition, Hijazi well known for her support in charity projects has promoted humanitarian causes throughout the world.

Personal life[edit]

Hijazi holds a diploma in architecture engineering.[1]

Music career[edit]

2000–2003: Rise to fame[edit]

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 a 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.[2] It was also in fact the album's huge success that made Hijazi sign her multi-million dollar promotional deal with Panasonic.

Due to the album's noted achievement, Hijazi was personally invited by the Jordan River Foundation to hold a special concert under the patronage of Queen Rania Al-Abdullah.[3]

2006–2008: Baya al Ward and Keef el Amar[edit]

After an absence that lasted for more than two years, Hijazi released her fourth, 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.

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. 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 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.[4] The video reached #4 on the Rotana Top 10.

2008–2010: Motherhood and Waylak Min Allah[edit]

Amal Hijazi 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[5] 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. At the end of 2011, Amal filmed a new video clip for her song "Ba'ayounak_Za'al" followed by another video clip for the song "Be a'melni" early on 2012.

2010–2013: Motherhood, Humanitarian Activity and "Fen El Dameer"[edit]

Amal Hijazi gave birth to her second child, baby girl Lareen, on August 2012. As the Arab revolutions began and the violation of human rights increased, Amal released her single "Fen el Dameer" "Where is the Conscience" in April 2013. The song lyrics dealt immediately with situation of the Arab World.[6]

Contracts and endorsements[edit]

A Fashion Look poster at an optical shop.

Controversies[edit]

Relationships with other singers[edit]

Elissa[edit]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.

Nancy Ajram[edit]

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."[10]

Nawal Al Zoghbi[edit]

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.[11]

Banning in Kuwait[edit]

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.[12]

Philanthropy[edit]

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.[13]

Image and fashion[edit]

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."[7]

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.[14]

Hijazi was named 8th Arab Sexiest Woman Alive in 2008, ahead of artists like Elissa, Nancy Ajram and Najwa Karam.[15] In addition, Hijazi managed to receive twice as many votes as the Egyptian singer Sherine.[15]

Discography[edit]

Releases[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]