Teen singing sensation Billie Eilish is a huge Nancy Ajram fan

Billie Eilish reveals Nancy Ajram is one of her favorite artists. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 May 2020

Teen singing sensation Billie Eilish is a huge Nancy Ajram fan

DUBAI: Earlier this month, US singing sensation Billie Eilish launched a new podcast on Apple Music, “Me & Dad Radio,” which sees the 18-year-old pop star and her father Patrick O’Connell, play a wide range of hand-picked songs. 

In the latest episode of the new radio show, the Grammy award-winning hitmaker reveals some of the artists who inspire her, name checking Lebanese superstar Nancy Ajram as one of her favorite artists. 

In the weekly podcast, the artist reveals that she particularly loves the songs “Enta Eih” and “Fi Hagat,” which she listens to whenever she needs a quick mood boost.

“I’m going to cheer myself up by playing a very special song to me that’s in Arabic,” said the “Ocean Eyes” singer. “This is Nancy Ajram who I love. I love Nancy Ajram and this song. She has this song and another song called Enta Eih.  And this song is called Fi Hagat,” she added.

So how did the 18-year-old first come across the Lebanese icon’s music? Eilish explained that she first discovered Ajram’s 2004 hit “Enta Eih” because of a meme. “It was a joke in the background of a meme and it was supposed to be stupid, but I was like, ‘listen, that’s hard.’ So I looked it up and started loving it and from then on I listened to all of Nancy Ajram’s stuff,” she said.

“You don’t need to know what the lyrics are about?” her dad asked, to which she responded “The way she sings is so crazy. The way Arabic music sounds is just like melted chocolate in my ears. Not literally, but I love this song and I love the melodies and I love the way she sings.”

Eilish went on to reveal that she used to listen to “Fi Hagat” all day, every day, in December 2018. “I’m playing this because it puts me in a better mood,” she explained as Ajram’s voice sang in the background. 

It’s not the first time that Eilish publicly declares her admiration for the Beirut-born star. Back in 2018, the “Bury a Friend” singer posted a screenshot of “Enta Eih” on her Instagram Stories alongside the caption “Why have I played this seven times in a row? I don’t know.” 

The praises were not lost on Ajram, who took to her Instagram account to respond to the singer. “We love you too Billie and are big fans of your work!!! My girls are always playing your songs out loud in the house,” she wrote on her Stories.

Could we expect a collaboration between the two artists in the future? Watch this space.


Startup of the Week: Jawa 7alawa, a cruelty-free makeup brand

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Updated 04 August 2020

Startup of the Week: Jawa 7alawa, a cruelty-free makeup brand

  • Jawa 7alawa will continue to launch more makeup products in the coming months

With the plethora of make-up brands introduced onto the market over the past few years and a growing public awareness regarding the controversial testing of products on animals, young startup brands are increasingly incorporating a cruelty-free approach into their ethos.
Jawa 7alawa, a Saudi cruelty-free makeup brand launched last month, is the brainchild of social media influencer Rahaf Jambi.
The name ‘Jawa 7alawa’ is Hejazi slang used to compliment girls of Javanese descent — ‘Jawa’ being a term used to refer to Javanese people and ‘7alawa’ meaning sweets or candy. The number 7 is used in Arabized English to substitute a pharyngeal letter nonexistent in English.
Jambi has launched three items: The faux-mink Rahaf and Hatoon Lashes, and an eyeliner pen that acts as an adhesive glue and that also contains magnetic properties for those who wish to use magnetic clip-on lashes. 
The lash sets were inspired by Jambi and her sisters —  Rahaf, Hatoon, Jumana, Hams and Kenda — representing each of their respective personalities.
Rahaf Lashes are bold, dramatic and daring, while Hatoon Lashes are described as soft and sophisticated.
Jambi started developing the brand during quarantine, when she felt that she finally had the time to realize her goals.
“I’ve always wanted to create something for myself. I used to continuously postpone this idea, but during the quarantine, I felt like I had the time to sit and think and actually get something out of this pandemic,” she told Arab News.
At the heart of Jambi’s brand is a desire to shed light on animal rights and environmental sustainability.
“Whenever I try to buy lashes, they always turn out to be mink lashes. It’s not cruelty-free, and it’s against my values. I wanted to achieve the same sort of high-quality lashes, which feel like mink lashes, without using cruel practices.”
“One percent of the profits will go to animal charity organizations. You’re not only buying, you’re giving back,” she added.
The lash containers are candy-shaped and are sustainable as well.
“One of my brand’s main values is sustainability. It is a pretty container that can be used well after the lashes are gone, instead of just being thrown away,” she said.
The brand stressed the importance of including all types of eye shapes so that no woman has to struggle to find the perfect lashes.
“I have hooded eyes, a common Asian characteristic. It’s hard for me to find something that’s of good quality and that I actually like and can use multiple times. There is usually only one type that suits hooded eyes, but with Jawa 7alawa, I created a wide variety of lashes to suit every shape and style,” Jambi said.
She added: “The materials used are soft, luxurious and of high quality. I wanted to add something new to the market.”
Jambi has experienced cyberbullying as a social media influencer interested in beauty.
“I’ve been told my features weren’t pure Saudi and comments of that sort. I’ve even heard comments from people saying I wasn’t proud of my roots. I feel like I took something I was insecure about and I turned it into something powerful,” she said.
 Jawa 7alawa will continue to launch more makeup products in the coming months. Keep up with the Saudi brand on Instagram (@Jawa7alawa).