With more than 1.2 million Instagram followers, a string of awards (including Favorite Arab Music Artist Award at this year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards,) and a recently released debut album, Maritta Hallani certainly isn’t living in her superstar father’s shadow.
The 21-year-old daughter of Lebanese music icon Assi Hallani is making some serious strides on her own, having launched her highly anticipated self-titled album last month. The rising star, who first started singing aged 5 – sometimes alongside her father at his concerts – celebrated the launch with an album release party on August 29, sporting a dazzling, strappy Balmain gown for the occasion. And she’s achieved all of this while studying for a degree in business administration at the American University of Beirut, no less.
In light of her debut album’s launch, Vogue.me caught up with the ultra-talented songstress to discuss her music, and forging her own path to superstardom.
On Growing Up With a Famous Father
“It was refreshingly fun and interesting, especially since we have a shared passion for music and singing. I actually discovered my musical talents after accompanying my dad to the studio, video shoots, and concerts. It dawned on me that my father was famous when I was young. Fortunately, he was always there for us, despite the fact that he was constantly working and traveling. I’m so thankful for my loving, caring, and supportive parents, and I’ll always be grateful for the way they raised me and my siblings.”
On Paving Her Own Path
“I discovered I could sing when I was 5. I loved Dalida. Singing was always my dream. I used to spend most of my time singing in front of the mirror in my room, pretending my hairbrush was a microphone. Singing has always been my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else. My parents are really supportive, and have been since the very beginning. They always believed in me. Well, the only thing they were worried about was my studies, but luckily I was good in school and managed to balance both. Now I’m almost done at university.”
On Her Debut Album
“It took me a year to prepare Maritta, but it was the best experience ever. I enjoyed every moment working on this album. I put my whole heart into it — I worked on every detail, because this album represents me. It’s an insight into who I really am, and the things I’ve been through and what I’ve always wanted to say. All the songs are special to me, I can’t choose a favorite one – they all mean something different to me. It depends on my mood and what I’m going through. My father, just like my mother and siblings, was always there to listen and offer advice. However, I chose to work on my album by myself. I just followed my heart, and took his advice when I needed it. He’s a huge artist, and I’m lucky to be able to learn from him and from his experience.”
On Where She Sees Herself in 10 Years
“I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and trying to understand people, especially the youth. My main goal is to make music they can relate to. Everybody loves music, it’s a huge part of our lives. I just want my music to be there for my fans for the good times and the bad. I want to continue doing what I love, surrounded by the people that I love. This is what matters most to me.”