Many of the top Middle Eastern music artists come from Lebanon. This country has an impressive music scene and is home to the Lebanese Conservatory. Traditional Lebanese music features instruments such as the oud, mijwiz, and tablah.
While some singers from Lebanon produce only Arabic music, others also create English-language songs. We’ve put together a list of ten famous Lebanese singers that highlight the talent that has emerged from this country.
Although she was born in Colombia, Shakira is of Lebanese heritage with her father’s parent’s being Lebanese. In fact, her name comes from the Arabic word for grateful.
She released her debut album Magia when she was just 13. But, it wasn’t until her 1995 album, Pies Descalzos, went platinum that her career took off and she received a Billboard Latin Music Award for Album of the Year.
Some of Shakira’s hit English-language songs include “Whenever, Wherever,” “Underneath Your Clothes,” and “Hips Don’t Lie.”
She has won three Grammy Awards, sold over 75 million records, and has an estimated net worth of $300 million.
One of the most popular singers in Lebanon, Fairuz, was born in Beirut. She attended the Lebanese Conservatory, where she studied music.
Her career got off to a stellar start in 1952 when her hit song Itab was released. Early in her career, Fairuz received an award from the President of Lebanon in recognition of her artistic accomplishments.
She has performed in countries around the world, made a total of 80 records, and sold over 150 million albums worldwide, making her the best-selling artist of all time in the Middle East.
Her career has spanned 60 years, and in 2008 she was called the “greatest living Arab diva” by the BBC.
3. Maher Zain
Born in Tripoli, Lebanon, Maher Zain moved to Sweden with his family when he was a child. He later moved to the United States in 2006 to pursue his career as a music producer.
Zain returned to Sweden and decided to focus his efforts on singing instead of producing. His R&B style of music is greatly influenced by his Islamic faith.
He released his debut album in 2009, entitled Thank You Allah. Zain has performed in North America, the UK, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where he has had the most success.
Zain has been involved with raising funds for disaster relief and various human rights efforts, including access to clean water. In 2011, he wrote the song Freedom after being inspired by the Arab Spring uprising.
4. Nancy Ajram
Often called the Queen of Arab Pop, Nancy Ajram was born in Beirut. She released her debut album Mihtagalak (I Need You) at the age of 15.
Despite her incredible success, she was a controversial singer due to her sexualized appearance and videos. Her hit songs included Akhasmak Ah (I Quarrel With You) and Ma Tegi Hena (Why Do You Come Here).
She has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Ajram won 3 World Music Awards, including her first in 2008, which made her the youngest Arab performer to receive one.
In 2018, she became the first Lebanese singer to have 100 million views on Youtube. In 2020, she was the most popular female Arab musician on Spotify.
5. Wael Kfoury
Born in Zahle, Wael Kfoury is often called the King of Romance because of his romantic lyrics and singing style.
He studied at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. Kfoury has released 16 albums over his career that has spanned 25 years.
Popular Kfoury songs include Law Hobna Ghalta (If Our Love is a Mistake), Omri Kellou (My Whole Life), Bahebak Ana (I Love You), and Meen Habeebee Ana (Who is My Love).
6. Ragheb Alama
Born in Beirut, Ragheb Alama was first noticed for his musical abilities when he participated in Lebanon’s Studio El Fan talent show.
His top songs include Aan Jad (Seriously), Alby Asheq’ha (My Heart Adores Her), and Naseeni el Dunya (Make Me Forget the World).
Alama was the first performer to have a music video made for an Arabic song. He has released 17 albums and won two Murex d’Or awards during his career.
He served as the United Nations Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassador from 2013 to 2015.
7. Najwa Karam
With over 60 million albums sold, Najwa Karam has been a top-selling Middle Eastern music artist for several years.
Her combination of modern and traditional music styles has led to her success. Born in Zahle, Karam worked as a teacher before studying at the Lebanese Institute of Music.
She released her debut album Ya Habayeb (Oh Lover) in 1989, followed by Shams el-Ghinnieh (Sun of the Song) in 1992. In 2001, she won a Murex d’Or award for Best Arabic Singer.
She was the first Arab woman to represent the L’Oreal cosmetics company. In 2018, Cosmopolitan magazine named her one of the 15 Most Inspiring Women in the Middle East.
Born in Deir Al-Ahmar, Elissa is a top music artist in the Middle East. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide.
Her debut album Baddy Doub (I Want to Melt) was released in 1999. Elissa’s popular songs include Irjaa Lilshowk (Return to Love), Law Nirjaa Sawa (If We Return Again), and Awakher El Shita (The End of Winter).
She won the Murex d’Or award for Best Female Artist in 2000. In 2005, she won a World Music Award for the Best-Selling Middle Eastern Artist, becoming the first Lebanese person to win the award.
Elissa has collaborated with other musicians, including Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama and British-Irish singer Chris de Burgh. She has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and breast cancer awareness.
9. Julia Boutros
Born in Beirut, Julia Boutros started singing as a child in her school choir. She recorded her first song at the age of 12 and was only 14 when her debut album C’est La Vie was released in 1982.
Much of her music has revolutionary and patriotic themes. She has contributed $3 million from the sale of her music to families of Lebanese soldiers who died during the Israeli invasion.
In 2000, she was awarded the National Cedar Medal in recognition of her music. One of her most popular songs is Ghabet Shams El Haq (The Sun Has Gone Away).
10. Myriam Fares
Born in Kfar Chellal, Myriam Fares is a Lebanese pop singer. Her debut album Myriam was released in 2003.
She has since released four additional albums: Nadini in 2005, Bet’oul Eih in 2008, Min Oyouni in 2011, and her most recent album Aman in 2015.
Her hit songs include Waheshni Eh, Ana Wel Shog, Ghamarni, and Enta el Hayat. She is featured in the Netflix documentary Myriam Fares: The Journey.
Fares has been criticized for what some consider to be a disconnect between her provocative, sexualized appearance and her Christian faith.
Summing Up Our List Of Famous Singers From Lebanon
That wraps up our article on Lebanese singers. We hope you found it interesting!
But, while these singers from Lebanon are some of the most popular and best-selling artists in the Middle East, this list only scratches the surface of the talented vocalists, and there are many, many more.
Did we leave anyone off this list you think deserves to be on there? Let us know, and we’ll add them in!