Meet Now United’s new Arab member, Nour Ardakani

Nour Ardakani joined the global music group Now United to become the band’s first Arab member. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 September 2020

Meet Now United’s new Arab member, Nour Ardakani

DUBAI: After Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani joined the global music group Now United to become the band’s 16th member – and its first Arab – we spoke to the upcoming star to find out more about her and her new venture. 

The 18-year-old artist, who shares singing covers on Instagram playing her piano and ukulele, said that the group got in touch with her after watching her clips on social media.

“They contacted me and they asked me if I can send in tapes of me singing and dancing. Then they kept asking me to send in more, and then we are here now,” the artist told Arab News.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who managed popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

During a video call, which Ardakani shared on Instagram, Fuller told the singer and dancer: “I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United.”

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

When speaking about the moment she got the news, she said she was not expecting the group to pick her out from the thousands of people who auditioned.

All through the audition process, which took three weeks, Ardakani thought she was not going to get it. “I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t process everything because I knew what a big responsibility it is, and it is crazy to be able to represent the whole MENA region,” she said. “I don’t know how I got it.”




Nour Ardakani has already started recording a single with the band. (Supplied)

How did Ardakani discover her passion?

She said she had always had it from a very young age: “My parents saw that in me. Then, they put me into dance, and then they put me into singing lessons.”

The singer is at college, studying nutrition and business – two fields that are different to what she is doing now.

“Singing and dancing have always been my passion and I would love to continue doing that for the rest of my life. Education is really important to me, and I want to have that for myself, and if I end up doing (nutrition and business) in the future it’s going to help,” she said.

Ardakani has got no time to spare. She has already started recording a single with the band.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Imagine all of our faces when we are back together! Uniters what will your reaction be? - SAVANNAH

A post shared by NOW UNITED (@nowunited) on

When speaking to her group-mate, Australian singer and performer Savannah Clarke, she said: “I feel that having a member from this region is so important because it will help Now United grow, and it will show our fans that Now United is truly a global pop group.”

“It will bring more cultures into it,” she added. “You learn so much just by being with Now’s 16 members from all around the world.”


Feet first: Egyptian footwear label blends style and comfort

Updated 35 min 47 sec ago

Feet first: Egyptian footwear label blends style and comfort

DUBAI: They say “beauty is pain,” but not for Egyptian footwear label Zee.

The brand’s designs combine comfort and style, making its offerings suitable for settings ranging from edgy and urban life to laid-back for the seaside.

Noureldin Kassem, Zee’s founder, said: “It’s really important to be stylish and comfortable. For us being comfortable is very important, and this is why we used a lot of new materials, like different kinds of leather, and made adjustments to the sandals.”

Brave New World, the brand’s latest collection, draws its inspiration partly from Greco-Roman culture, Kassem told Arab News. 

The collection includes 25 styles in a range of bold and bright designs, featuring sandals and slides to suit a wide range of women’s tastes.

Zee, which was established three years ago, is a sustainable brand that is produced in Egypt, but outsources its materials, such as cork soles, from Spain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sway with ease in your Zees. Shot and styled by @keghamdjeghalian #MakeZeeMoves #ZeeSteps #ZeeBraveNewWorld #Zee

A post shared by Zee (@zee_officialeg) on

“Sustainability is taking a big share of the market now,” Kassem said.

To make the brand more environmentally friendly, Zee’s packaging now includes pouches made of recycled material made in collaboration with eco-friendly Egyptian fashion brand Up-Fuse. 

Kassem said that while many well-established fashion brands are fighting to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, Zee is taking risks and rebranding itself. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Stand tall in your Zee-Bomba X #MakeZeeMoves #ZeeSteps #ZeeBraveNewWorld #ZeeByKegham #ZeeBombaX #Zee

A post shared by Zee (@zee_officialeg) on

Amid plans for a possible launch of trainers or heels, Zee’s team is working on designing sneakers, which better fit the “persona and identity of the brand.”

Kassem also praised his team, including creative director Kegham Djeghalian, for doing “a great job during this difficult period.”