Nour Ardakani from Beirut selected to join global pop group Now United

'She will make the region and Lebanon very proud', says Simon Fuller, creator of Now United

An 18-year-old from Beirut is about to become a pop sensation after being selected from thousands of hopefuls in the region to join global pop group Now United.

Nour Ardakani was selected by Simon Fuller, the man who created The Spice Girls as well as Now United, to become the group’s 16th member, after an extensive search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Ardakani, who currently lives with her family in Beirut, will join other group members later this week in Dubai, to record and film new music to follow their latest single Feel It Now.

Ardakani was revealed as the winner of the search on Now United’s YouTube channel on Monday morning after an audition process that started last year. Thousands of candidates from across the region were reviewed before 13 hopefuls were invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller, choreographer Kyle Hanagami, casting director Kerrie Mailey as well as members of Now United, who have spent the past few weeks in Dubai.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of new Now United song Habibi.

“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to join Now United, to do what I love and represent the country that I love,” Ardakani said. “Singing and dancing is my passion and to be given the chance to do that with so many amazing talents from different countries and cultures is a dream come true for me.”

“In Nour I have found a remarkable young performer. She has natural talent and is a wonderful pure singer with gentle emotion and warmth,” Fuller said. “However, it is her personality that impressed me the most. She has a calm confidence, a maturity and intelligence far in advance of her age. She comes from an extraordinary part of the world, rich in history, culture and the arts. Nour is the perfect choice and she will make the region and Lebanon very proud.”

Group members of the band represent 15 different countries across the globe, including Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, China, UK, India, Philippines, US, Germany, Finland, Japan, Canada, Senegal and Australia. Lebanon now joins that list as the 16th country.

Members of Now United, including South Korean Heyoon Jeong, German Sina Deinert, Russian Sofya Plotnikova and Australian Savannah Clarke touched down in Dubai in mid-August, and have spent time exploring the emirate and rehearsing, after spending more than five months apart due to the coronavirus pandemic.