Lana Lubany’s Music Mixes Languages and Styles
| A journey of self-love and self-discovery began Lana Lubany’s now viral entrance into the music industry. With numerous viral TikTok’s in early 2020, Lubany’s bilingual Arabic-English music has quickly captivated audiences in the region and beyond. Openly embracing being in-between languages and cultures, Lubany sees a movement coming for more Middle Eastern artists to claim space in the music industry. Drawing from traditional Arabic music and contemporary icons like Billie Eilish and Rosalia, Lubany’s musical inspirations are as blended as her personal experiences in the industry. We caught up with Lana to go in-depth on her booming career, what producing music means to her, and upcoming releases.
By Ethan Dinçer
Picture/courtesy of the artist
This in an extract of an interview that was published in JDEED 10, available now.
Can you talk about the beginning of your music career? With quite a few viral TikToks, what has been the role of virality in your career?
This era started with The Snake earlier this year, the TikTok went viral in March. That really kickstarted my career, but I have been working on my craft and breaking into the industry for years now. I’ve wanted this ever since I was a child, it’s been a few years in the making. This year catapulted me into the music industry.
Going viral was great. A lot of the time my days were kind of stagnant, then whoa – it really shoots you into space. It doesn’t last forever, which I already knew because I’d gone viral in the past. In 2020 I was posting TikToks and some of them were going viral, that’s when I first got a taste of virality. It was kind of toxic for me – when you go viral you get a lot of dopamine that gets taken away very quickly, because you aren’t in control, TikTok is in control, the algorithm is in control.
These first viral videos weren’t really about my music. People cared about the impressions I was doing or the funny songs I was writing using random words around me. No one really knew or cared who Lana Lubany was.
So, I took a year off last year, did a lot of healing, a lot of self reflection. I decided to only post things that I feel like represent me, the person I am and the artist I want to be. I started doing that late last year, and 3 weeks into the release of The Snake, that particular TikTok blew up.
Self-reflection, discipline, doing the right thing is all a part of my journey.
I had another song lined up to be released after The Snake, but I decided not to release it because it wasn’t what I thought should be released after The Snake. I’m probably never going to release it now because I’ve shifted direction, I’m really exploring the bilingual thing right now which is really fun and bringing something new to the table, to innovate – I’ve always wanted to do that.
Speaking on bilingualism – can you reflect on the aesthetic power of singing in both Arabic and English, particularly for an audience that may not have come across the form before? Your emotions as you’re going through that process, creating this music?
I actually never wanted to sing in Arabic, that was never in the cards for me, as far as I knew. Last year, I got an opportunity from a friend who knew someone who was looking for someone who could sing in both languages. I could do it, I’m mixed, I’m Palestinian and American, I was raised speaking both languages, it made sense and I was able. I didn’t really want to, but what did I have to lose? Nothing.
I wrote a song before The Snake that had a tiny bit of Arabic and actually liked it. Then I wrote The Snake straight after that and I was like ‘oh, interesting’. It felt different to me. When I showed it to friends and family, they reacted differently – that, to me, was really telling. I always thought it would be a niche, something I’d do every now and then. I didn’t think it was going to have the impact that it went on to have. A lot of people who don’t understand Arabic have been listening to my music and loving it, sending me messages saying ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying but I love it, it hits me right in the soul’.
It feels great to be doing something new, something that many others aren’t doing. I really feel like there’s a movement coming. The music industry is going to have to make room for Middle Eastern artists, it’s a long time coming. It feels amazing to be part of this movement, to bring representation which is lacking.
Read more from our interview with Lana Lubany in JDEED 10, out now! You can purchase it here if you’re based in the MENA, and here for Europe and the US
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