Elissa (Lebanese singer)

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Elissa - August 24, 2012 (2).jpg
Elissa in August 24, 2012
Background information
Birth name Elissar Zakaria Khoury
Born (1971-10-27) October 27, 1971 (age 46)[1]
Origin Deir el Ahmar, Lebanon
Genres Arabic pop, romance, World
Occupation(s) singer
Years active 1992–present
Labels EMI (1998–1999)
Dilara Music (2000–2003)
Rotana (2004–present)
Associated acts Ragheb Alama, Wael Kfoury, Chris de Burgh, Christina Aguilera, Nancy Ajram, Nawal Al Zoghbi, Tamer Hosny, Fadl Shaker
Website elissalb.com

Elissar Zakaria Khoury (Arabic: إليسار زكريا خوري‎), commonly known as Elissa (إليسا  [ʔeˈliːsa, ʔeˈlis.sa]), is a Lebanese recording artist. [2]

Elissa was the highest-selling female Middle Eastern artist for 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. In 2005, 2006 and 2010 she received the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist, and became first Lebanese singer to receive the World Music Award for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist in 2006[3]. She has currently sold over 30 million albums worldwide[3][4][2]. Elissa is also among one of the richest celebrities in Lebanon, with a reported estimated wealth of over $41 million[5][4].

Since 2013, Elissa has also been a judge on the television show MBC The X Factor.

As of 2017, Elissa has over 43 million followers on social media[4].

Since 2018, Elissa is a judge on The Voice Ahla Sawt, the Middle-Eastern edition of The Voice.

Early Life[edit]

Elissar Zakaria Khoury was born in 1971, Deir el Ahmar to a Lebanese father (Zakaria Khoury) and a Syrian mother (Youmna Suud). She was raised in the Beqaa valley with her other siblings. [6] She has three brothers (Ghassan, Kamil and Jihad) and two sisters (Norma, Rita). She graduated from the Lebanese University with a degree in Political Science. After graduating she decided to pursue a professional career on the stage and in music.[3]


1992–99: Studio El Fan, and debut album Baddi Doub[edit]

Elissa's musical career began in 1992, when she won the silver medal in Studio El Fan, a Lebanese music competition.

Elissa's first studio album, Baddi Doub (I Want to Melt), was released by EMI Records in 1999[4]. For the album’s hit single, she included a second language by teaming up with Spanish singer, Gerard Ferrer[4][7]. In the same year, Elissa got her first big brand deal when shampoo brand Head & Shoulders took her on as the empowering and bold face of the company in the Middle East[4].

2000–03: W Akhertha Maak and Ayshalak[edit]

Elissa released her second album, We Akhertha Maak, which included the duet, "Betghib Betrouh", sung with Lebanese Ragheb Alama. She was the only Arabic artist to perform in front of former United States President Bill Clinton at the Stars Charity show in Dubai. That year she won the Murex d'Or award for Best Female Artist.

Her third studio album, Ayshalak (I live for you), was released in 2002[4]. For the album’s hit single, she filmed a music video in Paris, dressed by Christian Dior[4][8]. This was the first time Dior had worked with an Arabic artist[4].

In 2002 Elissa inaugurated Kuwait's Virgin Megastore with Sir Richard Branson. Her clip, "Ajmal Ihsas" won an Arabic Music Award for Best Video Clip in Dubai.

In 2003, Elissa signed a deal with Pepsi becoming the Middle East’s brand ambassador—a title she held for four years[4]. Subsequently, she shot two advertisements with American pop star Christina Aguilera for Pepsi for the World Football Cup. Both advertisements were shot in Los Angeles. She collaborated with Irish singer Chris De Burgh in the duet, "Lebanese Nights."

2004–06: Ahla Donia and Bastanak[edit]

In 2004 she signed with the Saudi-owned Rotana, under which she released her fourth studio album, Ahla Donia, in May 2004. The album had many hits including "Kol Yom Fi Omry", "Irjaa Lilshowk", "Hobak Wajaa' (Inta Lameen)", and "Ahla Donia". Despite the huge success, Elissa revealed in an interview in 2017, she felt that this album was a step back from "Ayshalak", although it is a fan favorite.

In 2005, Elissa became the first Lebanese singer to ever receive a World Music Awards for Best Selling Artist from the Middle East[4]. The ceremony took place in Hollywood's Kodak Theater. In December 2005, Elissa received the Murex d'Or for Best Lebanese Artist and Best Video Clip for "Hobak Wajaa". In 2006, she released her fifth studio album Bastanak. The album had the hits "Bastanak" and "Law Taarafou" which received accompanying music videos, as well as "Kermalak, "Taa" and "Fatet Sineen".

On November 15, 2006, Elissa received the World Music Awards for the second year in a row for the sales of Bastanak.

2007–09: Ayami Beek and Tesadaa Bemeen[edit]

Elissa's sixth and seventh albums were Ayami Beek (December 20, 2007) and Tesadaa Bemeen (December 26, 2009). The former included one of Elissa's biggest hits "Betmoun" as well as "Awakher El Shita", "Ayami Beek" and "Khod Balak Alaya". While the latter included another huge hit in "Aa Bali Habibi". Elissa received her third World Music Award for Tesadaa Bemeen. In November 2010, she was awarded the prize for Best Arab Female Artist in the Jordan Music Awards, and a few days later she received the Big Apple Music Award for Best Female Artist in the Middle East.

2012–2015: As'ad Wahda, Halet Hob, and MBC The X Factor[edit]

Her eighth studio album, As'ad Wahda, was released in June 2012. In December 2012, Elissa was chosen to be one of the judges of The X Factor Arabia; It was on the air the first four months of 2013. On June 23, 2013 Elissa received two Murex D’or awards, for the Best Lebanese Singer and Best Arabic Song "Asaad Wahda".

During the summer of 2014, Elissa released a song titled "Law" written by long term collaborator Marwan Khoury.[9]

Elissa released her ninth studio album Halet Hob in July 2014. The album included covers of the songs "Awel Marra" and "Helwa Ya Baladi". She released the first music video of "Hob Kol Hayati" on November 21, 2014. Elissa returned as a judge on The X Factor for its second season on March 14, 2015. Elissa released her cover version of "Mawtini" on April 29, 2015, along with its music video. The second video from her ninth studio album was released on May 14, 2015, for "Ya Merayti". Finally, she released "Halet Hob" as the final single in early 2016.

Camil Zakaria Khoury (Elissa's brother) with whom the singer has collaborated artistically multiple times

2016–17: Saharna Ya Lail[edit]

Elissa released her tenth studio album Saharna Ya Lail during the summer of 2016, which included lead single "Saharna Ya Lail".

In May 2017, Elissa announced that she is the new face of Freshlook Air Optix Colors[4].

During the summer of 2017, Elissa released a music video for the song "Aaks Elli Shayfenha"[10][11] from the album Saharna Ya Lail. The aforementioned music video - directed by Angy Jammal[12] - hit 3 million views during its first week of release[13] and 7 million views after 2 weeks[14].

In August 2017, Elissa was featured on Forbes Middle East English edition's August cover[15] and gave a concert as part of Beirut Holidays 2017 festival[16].

On August 14, Elissa released a remix for the song "Ana Majnouni"[17] which was previously released 3 years ago[18]. "Ana Majnouni" marked the third collaboration with her brother Camil Khoury and amassed more than half a million plays during its first 2 days of release[19].

In early September, it was announced that Elissa will be one of the new The Voice season 4 coaches alongside Emirati singer Ahlam, Lebanese singer Assi El Helani, and Egyptian singer Mohammad Hamaki [20][21].

2018–present: Upcoming eleventh studio album: "Ila Kol Elli Byheboni"[22][edit]

In July 2018, Elissa released the first single from her eleventh studio album titled "Ila Kol Elli Bihebbouni".[23][24] On July 16, 2018, "Krahni" was released as a promotional single from the album.[25] "Krahni" marked the fourth collaboration with her brother Camil Khoury who handled the song's arrangement.

Personal Life[edit]

Elissa is a Christian. In 2014, she took to social media to condemn the atrocities committed by ISIS against minorities, stating "I'm Lebanese and I'm proudly Christian, shame on such people."[26]Elissa is also an outspoken advocate of women’s rights[4].


Studio albums[edit]

  • Baddi Doub (1999)
  • W'akherta Ma'ak (2001)
  • Ayshalak (2002)
  • Ahla Donia (2004)
  • Bastanak (2006)
  • Ayami Beek (2007)
  • Tesadaa Bemeen (2009)
  • As'ad Wahda (2012)
  • Halet Hob (2014)
  • Saharna Ya Lail (2016)
  • Ila Kol Elli Bihebbouni (2018)

Non-album singles[edit]

  • Maa Sabk Al Esrar (2012)
  • Law (2014)
  • Mawtini (2015)
  • Anti L Tohro Ya Mariam (2017)
  • Zakaria (2017)
  • Eisht W Shift (2018)



  • Taabani Mennak (2014)



  1. ^ "FARFESH.COM - تسريب جواز سفر اليسا على الـ". Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b nadiadhahir (August 22, 2017). "إليسا.. السر وراء لقب "ملكة الإحساس" - Forbes Middle East". 
  3. ^ a b c Khazaal, Chaker (March 13, 2015). "Elissa: A Light in the Dark Times of the Middle East". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m nadia-3 (August 20, 2017). "The Secret To The Success Of Elissa Lies In More Than A Love Song". 
  5. ^ https://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/rags-riches-arab-celebrities’-net-worths-revealed-688286
  6. ^ "'Stop the war': Elissa urges fans to pray for Syria". April 5, 2017. 
  7. ^ ElissaVEVO (June 21, 2009). "Elissa - Baddy Doub" – via YouTube. 
  8. ^ Elissa (May 3, 2012). "Elissa - Ayshalak (Official Clip) / إليسا - عايشالك" – via YouTube. 
  9. ^ Elissa (August 22, 2014). "Elissa - Law (Long version) / اليسا - لو" – via YouTube. 
  10. ^ "Account Suspended". www.standardrepublic.com. 
  11. ^ Rotana (July 19, 2017). "Elissa ... Aaks Elli Shayfenha - Video Clip - إليسا ... عكس اللي شايفينها - فيديو كليب" – via YouTube. 
  12. ^ ""عكس اللي شايفينها" لـ إليسا إختيار موفّق أنجي جمّال". 
  13. ^ "WATCH: Elissa music video hits 3 million views in first week". July 24, 2017. 
  14. ^ https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DGkPgh5UMAEl__j.jpg
  15. ^ "Account Suspended". www.standardrepublic.com. 
  16. ^ Bechara Maroun (August 3, 2017). "Elissa - Wahashtouni HD وحشتوني - اليسا Beirut Holidays 2017" – via YouTube. 
  17. ^ "Elissa - Ana Majnouni (By Camil Khoury) - Play for free on Anghami". August 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ ""مجنونة" اليسا في الصدارة مجددّاً". August 29, 2017. 
  19. ^ "تعاون أخوي بين كميل وإليسا والنتيجة "الصدارة" – 7asriyan". www.7asriyan.com. 
  20. ^ "MBC announces newest 'The Voice' coaches - Egypt Independent". September 7, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Elissa and Essi: Here are the New Judges on The Voice!". September 6, 2017. 
  22. ^ https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/54099/Eid-El-adha-to-witness-the-release-of-3-new
  23. ^ https://play.anghami.com/song/38627850?lang=en
  24. ^ https://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/review-ila-kol-elli-bihebbouni-elissa-drops-first-song-new-album-and-it-growing-us-115
  25. ^ https://play.anghami.com/playlist/130412533?extras=eyJyZXF1ZXN0dHlwZSI6IkJhbm5lciIsInBhdGgiOiJHRVRob21lcGFnZSIsInJlcXVlc3RvbmRlbWFuZCI6MCwic2VjdGlvbiI6ImJhbm5lciJ9
  26. ^ "Elissa on Twitter". 

External links[edit]