Rouba Returns With Dancefloor Hit and Soulful Debut Album
After 15 years away, the singer is getting a second shot at a music career
As a teenager in Beirut in the mid-Nineties, Rouba Zeidan (who goes by the stage name Rouba) looked set to break into the music business. Singing covers, she’d attracted the attention of Ziad Rahbani, son of legendary singer Fayrouz, and a respected performer in his own right. A recording deal was on the table. Then, aged 22, Rouba walked away. “I didn’t have the bravery to follow my music at the time,” she explains. “I was scared. So I followed my heart and I got married and I went in a different direction.”
Now, 15 years on, she’s returning to music. “You can’t shut down your dreams,” she says. “I didn’t want to end up that person sitting at a table at the age of 60, with people going, ‘Oh Rouba, she used to sing back in her good days, you know.’ This way, whatever happens, at least I can say I gave it my all. Until now, I haven’t done that.” Her first solo release “Don’t Go Home,” a club-friendly slab of soulful pop, came out in July and reached number three on Lebanon’s Radio One charts. But Rouba says her debut LP, Mama’s Back, due in November, will be “more composed.”
“It’s influenced by jazz and blues because that’s my base,” she explains. “I sound black when I sing. I have a husky, big voice. Very emotional.”
Audiences in the U.A.E. will have the opportunity to hear Rouba’s first performances of her own material in October at the F1 Fanzone and Beats on the Beach. And Rouba is determined to make the most of her second chance. “I’m going all out for this,” she says. “It’s unreal. I’m 37 and I feel like I’m a kid again.”
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