Myriam Fares set to delight Volvo Ocean Race crowds in Abu Dhabi

Fares takes to the stage in Abu Dhabi as part of the entertainment at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover. We chart the Lebanese star's rise to fame.
Myriam Fares performs on the beach at the Corniche during Beats on the Beach in 2009 in Abu Dhabi. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
Myriam Fares performs on the beach at the Corniche during Beats on the Beach in 2009 in Abu Dhabi. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

She has 1.22 million followers on Twitter and 1.7m on Instagram. Her Facebook page has well over 10 million likes and she has had more than 80 million views on Google Plus.

The popularity of Myriam Fares in the Arab world knows no bounds. She has adopted the title of “Queen of the Stage” with aplomb – as the audience will see for themselves when she performs in Abu Dhabi tomorrow as part of the Volvo Ocean Race celebrations.

Yet it is hard to pick only one job title for 31-year-old Lebanese superstar. She sings. She dances. She acts. She is a fashion trendsetter and supporter of budding designers. She is a student of classical ballet. She has two scents on the market. She is the most searched celebrity on Google in the Arab region, earning her the title of Google Ambassador. And, most recently, she is a newly-wed.

Fares might easily be the most proficient user of social media, and its staggering outreach, among Arab celebrities. This was never more evident than in the way she used the platforms to announce her secret wedding this year.

She launched the #shareyourmoment hashtag on Instagram on October 31, teasing fans to “stay tuned” for news of her own “big moment”. Thousands of fans responded and she spent the first few days of November reposting her favourite #shareyourmoment snippets.

On November 4, she began a three-day countdown to her own “big moment” announcement, and on November 7, she released a single and music video, Degou El Toboul. It quickly racked up two million views on YouTube and no wonder – it confirmed rumours that Fares had tied the knot.

The way she chose to confirm rumours of her marriage and the unbridled joy evident in Degou El Toboul is typical of Fares: playful with a hint of secretiveness, sensual but honest, injected with youthfulness and unabashed grins.

Her singing talent cannot be denied, with a voice that straddles the border between accomplished and haunting. But Fares is the full package – her charisma, her ability to execute perfect dance moves and still have enough breath left over to belt out a tune, and her acting abilities landed her a film role, her first, in 2009’s Silina by the Rahbani brothers. A remake of the Fairouz classic Hala and the King, the musical movie led to a 30-day Ramadan TV entertainment programme for Fares – Fawazeer Myriam. This year, she took on the role of Tinkerbell in a Dubai production of the musical Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story, and gave a winning performance in the Ramadan soap Ittiham.

But not everything has been sunshine and smiles in Fares’ rise to stardom. She’s been accused of using her sensuality, natural curves and skin-baring outfits to sell records.

She has been rumoured to have insured parts of her body, and been called a “show artist” – the suggestion being that entertainment artists are not in the same calibre as “proper” singers.

“There’s nothing wrong with being known as a show artist, I consider it a compliment,” said Fares on Talk of the Town, on the MTV Lebanon channel last year. “Being a show artist is one of the hardest talents in the world – you need a flexible body, the ability to sing well, to sing while dancing, to dance well, to do it all. I can do it.”

Fares has been looking forward to her Abu Dhabi performance: “I’m really getting excited ... fans can definitely expect a performance to remember.”

We don’t doubt it. With Fares, every single performance is one to remember.

• Myriam Fares performs at Jalsah Live majlis on the Skyline Stage in the waters of the Abu Dhabi Corniche tomorrow at 8pm, accompanied by Yemeni singer Fouad Abdelwahed. Tickets, from Dh250, are available from www.timeouttickets.com and box offices in Marina Mall

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: December 24, 2014 04:00 AM

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