Myra Abdallah

Hiba Tawaji: A reversed career

Hiba Tawaji (Source: Facebook)


Hiba Tawaji – the amazing singer who has astonished the Lebanese people with her powerful voice and beautiful performances since 2007— is a contestant on The Voice (France), and last week she won her “battle” and has advanced to the next round.


It is not the first time a Lebanese singer participates on The Voice and gets criticized for it. Last year, Aline Lahoud participated on The Voice and was eliminated after losing the “battle” round. Although none of them should have participated on the show since the purpose of the show is to give new talent an opportunity to be discovered, and was not created for professional singers. However, it was still more acceptable when Aline participated, because Hiba has already made a career singing, has an audience, fans and numerous achievements.


The opera singer who auditioned for a talent show


Before being discovered by Oussama Rahbani – producer, composer and son of Mansour Rahbani – Hiba graduated from IESAV (Saint Joseph University) majored in audio-visual and cinematographic studies, took many years of Opera lessons with Russian soprano Galina Khaldeeva and has been regularly developing vocal techniques with Oussama Rahbani. In 2010, she was coached by Emmy Award winner Gwen Conly in New York. She has performed in various countries, including the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman, and the Abu Dhabi Festival with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine with conductor Maestro Volodimir Sirenko.


These achievements – briefly listed above— should not have been topped by Hiba’s participation in a televised talent show. Nevertheless, the judges were amazed and this is not surprising. In fact, Hiba’s name might not have been so unfamiliar in France since the artist sings and performs in French and English as well, and since she is the main performer in Oussama Rahbani’s latest plays that are popular worldwide.  Hiba auditioned for the talent show after she gave a remarkable performance of “Der Hölle Rache” from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “I have nothing” by Whitney Houston; and “La bidayi wla nihayi”— the Lebanese adaption of “The Windmills of My Heart”— originally written by Michel Legrand, and performed by Rahbani and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine.


To be coached by an equally experienced singer


Mika – the renowned pop star and coach on The Voice France – was chosen by Hiba to be her mentor. Mika started his career only a year before Hiba did when he performed his first single “Relax, Take It Easy” in 2006. Mika was trained by Alla Ardakov, a Russian opera professional, and attended the Royal College of Music in London. Mika’s continuous success made him one of the most famous pop stars in the world. Nevertheless, Mika’s vast experience will help any participant on the show, especially since he is a young artist, full of energy, and can inspire a lot of new talents.


Hiba might have chosen Mika as her coach because she needed the support of a young artist - closer to her age - more than she needed a coach. Being on Mika’s team definitely gave the young Lebanese artist the needed energy to perform and do her best on stage – knowing that she definitely did not need any coaching or training for the songs she has performed so far. These songs would have been a “piece of cake” for someone who has mastered and performed “Der Hölle Rache.”


To gain international exposure


Hiba might have participated on The Voice (France) because she is seeking international exposure and this is totally legitimate. Despite all the exposure any artist can get from being the main performer in a Rahbani play, and despite the fame they have worldwide, the exposure is still more local than international. Hiba’s voice is not an oriental one and the young artist can sing in French and English as well. Being renowned worldwide will definitely be a turning point in her career.


Though we encourage Hiba and wish her the best, her participation in the talent show seems as if Hiba has reversed the way she should have led her career. Artists who want their name to be known usually start by participating in talent shows and gain the recognition progressively. Hiba, instead of looking for other ways to receive international fame – like trying to cooperate with international singers or singing duos with well-known people— has decided to participate in a talent show, underrating herself, only because the show has a very large number of viewers. It won’t surprise anyone if Hiba becomes the winner of The Voice, being the professional singer she is, she definitely will outperform the rest of the participants.


Myra Abdallah tweets @myraabdallah

Hiba Tawaji (Source: Facebook)

...the purpose of the show is to give new talent an opportunity to be discovered, and was not created for professional singers."