Prestige issue 175, Feb. 2008
After several successful albums and advertising contracts with major international brands, we met the talented artist Elissa to find out more about her career. She answered our questions with the simplicity and openness that characterize her.
What can you tell us about your album «Ayami Bik»? Ayami Bik, very varied, contains eleven songs of the classical genre, with some pop music or «dance style». I collaborated with new composers and authors, not to mention those with whom I made my previous albums. Ayami Bik brings something new in the themes, in the music distribution … However, I leave to the public and the critics to evaluate the CD, which required more than a year of work. I am cautious in my efforts. To ensure the continuity of my career, I take all the necessary time to present a well prepared, well- structured album to the public.
The concept of the cover photo of the CD is very original. I called on American photographer Matthias Klamer, who has already signed the photos for my album Bastannak. I wanted to do something new and different. The photo of the cover was a great success.
What lesson did you learn from your ten-year artistic career, that begun in 1998? After my debut (editor’s note: at 16), at the theater with Wassim Tabbara, then with the «Théâtre des Dix Heures», I participated in the TV program Studio el Fan where I won a silver medal. At the end of this TV show, I signed, like all the other candidates, a management contract with Studio el Fan’s office and Mr. Simon Asmar who, doubting my talent, did not provide effective support. The contract was canceled between us. Student at the time, I did not give up and I continued on the path alone. It is true that I collaborated initially with a young production company, but it was me who chose the song Baddé Doub which was the kickoff of my career. I started on my own, I supervised everything personally and I came to impose myself on the stage. All this reinforced my self-confidence and helped me to overcome many obstacles. From there, I can say that my bad experience at Studio El Fan has played a favorable and decisive role in my artistic career.
If you evaluate these ten years, what are the negative points? I do not have any. All my albums, thanks to God, are successful. Even before being shot in the video clip, Ayami Bik starts in force. In Egypt, the Gulf and elsewhere, sales figures published in newspapers are more than satisfactory, according to Rotana’s statistics. So far everything is positive, namely that I have already to my credit ten successful commercials and today the perfume Elle de Elissa. Among the other projects in progress, the one with the renowned watch company, Corum, who works on a limited edition watch bearing my name, and I have already signed an advertising contract with a company whose name must be kept secret. I renewed my contract with Vogue and I still work with Pepsi. In my opinion, it is the quality of my works that are flooding advertising and other important projects like that of Elle Elissa …
Is your artistic career preventing you from getting married? Not at all. My problem is that of all girls, even those who work in other areas. I want to fall in love, to find the man who can really please me and make me happy. However, with age, the way we see things evolve: the way we look at men also change … The idea of commitment does not leave my mind, I love children, family life, and despite my overloaded schedule, I have time to start a family.
What resolutions did you make for 2008? I will first work on the video clips of the new album. Also, my duty is to work in all directions to preserve my image, since, after ten years of career, an uncalculated step is inadmissible. I try to be always equal to myself and to maintain my psychological and intellectual balance, this is essential in my artistic and private life. In addition, I aspire to win the World Music Award for the third time, and I thank God who filled me with His goodness.
You are among the few artists who do not change their look often … Like all girls of my generation, I like to have a neat look. I like to follow fashion trying to conceal my flaws. However, working my look is not my first concern. I’m looking for the original but naturally, I like simplicity, especially in the choice of my clothes. On another level, I do not like to change my haircut their natural color. The photos of the CD Ayami Bik represent me with the same hairstyle, the same style of dress I wear in my different photo sessions. Simplicity remains my leitmotif. And here, I would like to say that I am really flattered when I am congratulated for my songs and my voice. It is true that at the dawn of my career, I wrapped a sheet in the video clip Agmal Ehssas, considered too daring by some critics, yet quite decent, compared to those we look at today. In this context, I remember that during the Festival of Arabic song while I was in Egypt, Agmal Ehssas was ranked as the best video clip in the Arab world, according to surveys conducted among the Arab public. This fact gave me the certainty that this work was wrongly considered provocative, people at the time not yet been swept away by the wave of daring. With time, the opinions have changed, my songs, my voice, and my course are highly respected and esteemed … For my part, this point is the most important.
What are the secrets of your beauty? In two words, healthy food and sports. I do two hours of sports every morning: one hour of walking, followed by an hour of sport with a «personal trainer» who comes to my house, every day. During my many trips abroad, I also do a lot of sport. On one hand, it activates the blood circulation, on the other, it renews the cells. In addition, the sport is a great way to get rid of stress, our daily bread. Moreover, I eat a lot of fruits, I look after my face, using for my sensitive skin only the medical creams prescribed by my dermatologist. On the other hand, I find pleasure to use the «special body» products that ensure a soft and satiny peach skin such as Japanese products and those used in SPA.
Is shopping among the list of your hobbies? I love shopping. I also have a very rich wardrobe that I keep renewing. I will soon make a leap to Paris to attend the Fashion Week, which presents, as every year, limited editions. I take the opportunities presented by this prestigious event to complete my wardrobe. Among my favorite designers: Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab, and Gucci. During the day, I prefer the easy-to-wear outfit that puts me at ease. In the evening, I like to be elegant and perfectly made up. If my choice falls on the jeans, I will wear it with a nice top and shoes.
In the video clip «Aychalak», you were dressed by the House Dior … My relationship with the House Christian Dior is remarkable. Thus, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the House, recently organized in Dubai, I was invited as a celebrity from the Middle East, and I wore a creation of the new and sublime Dior collection.
What is your main flaw? My spontaneous, direct and rapid reactions disturb some people. In my opinion, this is one of my qualities because, being honest and frank, I do not know how to play comedy, hide my thoughts and slow down my reactions. Interviewed by Maria Nadim.