Nancy Ajram exclusive: The Voice Kids ‘is more about encouragement’ than competition
Nancy Ajram is equally happy performing in front of children as for her grown-up fans.
The Lebanese pop star has never forgotten the youngsters during her meteoric rise. In addition to her blockbuster albums for adults, she has released two collections of children’s pop songs – 2007’s Shakhbat Shakhabit, and Super Nancy in 2012 – as well as regularly performing at child-friendly events.
It is at one of those – a performance at Modhesh World as part of Dubai Summer Surprises on Monday – where we caught up with her for an exclusive chat, during which she revealed details of her upcoming appearance as a mentor and judge on The Voice Kids, which will be broadcast on MBC towards the end of this year, and an upcoming Abu Dhabi concert.
How important is it to you to sing songs for children?
I love performing for children and, you know, it’s not just a fun thing to do, it is very important for me, both as a person and artist. For me, I think it’s the purest kind of love when a child loves you. That’s because they have no barriers, they say what they feel and they are very brave.
You have released two successful albums for children. Does writing such music require its own artistic discipline?
When looking for children’s songs to sing I am always focusing on the message and what the song is trying to say. Some of my songs, Shater, for instance, are about listening to your parents and I also have another song about how it is best not to write on the walls. Then there is the melody, which is not only about being simple, but it has to be deep enough to also resonate with the child.
Is that what made you join The Voice Kids as a mentor?
Well, I started singing as a youngster, so I do know the nerves and vulnerability the kids feel when stepping onto the stage for the first time. When you are a child onstage, you are extra sensitive and, as a mentor, I have to be aware of the way in which I provide constructive advice. I don’t want to hurt them or make them feel uncomfortable. Basically, whatever advice I will give them is the same that was given to me.
How will the show differ from the adult version of The Voice?
It is very light. While it is a competition, I would say it is more about encouragement. We celebrate the young people who get on stage and we try to help them be the best they can be. I think the show has a really fun and nurturing spirit.
You released your latest album, Nancy 8, last year. Were you happy with how it was received?
I am very pleased with it and I do see that reaction every time when I play live and people sing along to the songs. Every album is different from the previous one because it shows my development and is an attempt to refresh myself. While all of the albums, when you put them together, have my spirit and identity that people love, they also show me exploring new trends and styles.
Has work began on Nancy 9?
It’s still too early to talk about it – but I can say that I have started listening to new songs to work on.
Going back to talent shows, do you think that there are too many of these shows on the air?
I think we have already passed the point of saturation. If you are asking me for my opinion, I think some of these shows should be delayed for one or two years. That way, when they return, you will really see a new batch of fresh, promising singers.
It’s interesting you say that, considering you benefited, in terms of rasing your profile, by appearing on Arab Idol.
Arab Idol really became a phenomenon in that not only has it given us some truly amazing talent, but it has become known internationally. That said, I believe such shows should slow down to find some truly great contestants.
What are your plans for the second half of the year?
I will be busy. There is work on The Voice Kids and there is also work on my new album Nancy 9, as well as more concerts in the Arab world.
Does Abu Dhabi figure in your touring plans?
Abu Dhabi is definitely in the plans. I will actually be going there soon to perform at an event. However, I cannot tell you anything about it until the organisers are ready to speak about it. But I can tell you that I will be there soon.
Modhesh World is at the Dubai World Trade Centre until August 29.
Updated: August 26, 2015 04:00 AM