Meet Talia Lahoud, the Lebanese singer-songwriter & producer taking social media by storm

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The first time we came across Talia Lahoud was while on an isomnia-induced Instragram scroll – the algorithm thankfully sent us her cover of Sherine Abdel Wahab’s “Sabry Aalil” which we watched about 27 times – but that’s little to the total 11.8 million times the video’s been seen on the social media platform.
You know how it goes, we then went and checked her profile and kept watching until she had no more reels to be seen. A voice that captivates, a charism that draws you in, Talia has that little extra that tells us she’ll go far. As her first EP ” Gharibi” hit streaming platforms, we caught up with the artist to know more about her and her universe.

Interview/ Mark Khoury
Intro by Cynthia Jreige

Tell us a bit about you, your background and how you started your journey in music? 

I’m a 21 year old singer, songwriter and producer from Lebanon, I started singing ever since I could remember – school musicals, during family gatherings and literally everywhere. I began sharing song covers on YouTube when I was 11 years old, transitioning to acoustic song covers at 13, which is when I started learning the guitar. 
Music has always been a huge part of my life from the very start till now.
I currently write and produce my own music, mostly in Arabic, and I’m glad that I get to share my art with the world.

You produced your EP “Gharibi” –  how much of your personal opinion goes into the curation of your music videos and visuals? How can you describe your style in art direction in a few words? 

I would say 100% of my opinion goes into curation when producing my craft. Although I am someone who values the opinion of my team, friends and family regarding my work and really takes it into consideration, the end product is my choice. 
I would describe my music as timeless; it blends the inspirations of the old and the new, Western and Eastern cultures. My music is melancholic yet it has a spark of hope and strength; I usually like to combine sad lyrics with an upbeat production – my favorite kind of songs to create!

Loving yourself and accepting your “weird” side is a subject tackled within your recent EP “Gharibi”. Can you tell us how this journey was for you personally and what advice you would give someone who currently struggles with that? 

My EP “Gharibi” reflects my journey of growing up in a world where I didn’t feel like I belonged. I’ve met people who hurt me badly, I’ve loved and lost, and I finally found myself. Underneath all the hurt, self-doubt and anxiety I went through there’s a powerful and creative woman, and I’m ready to share my story and empower anyone who’s ever felt that way. They should know that they have a place in this world no matter how tough their days may be now..

You performed at the Asian Olympics opening gala, and I’m sure it made so many Arabs and specifically Lebanese people proud. Can you tell us about this experience? Any difficulties you faced? 

Performing at the Asian Olympics opening gala is truly an unforgettable experience, one that I cannot believe to this day. I’m incredibly blessed to have been part of this project, writing, singing in Arabic and Indian while performing in Hangzhou, China. Going to a foreign country where the language is so different wasn’t very easy for me, especially after the recent passing of my father. I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings and sadness, but music is what kept me going in dark times.. I did it for my Dad and I will always keep on making him proud.

“Underneath all the hurt, self-doubt and anxiety I went through there’s a powerful and creative woman, and I’m ready to share my story and empower anyone who’s ever felt that way.

Your recent EP tackles your feeling of not belonging. If you were to live in a world of your own, what would that universe look like? How would you belong there? 

To me a perfect world isn’t some flawless place but rather one where we embrace our imperfections and learn to love ourselves unconditionally.. My EP “Gharibi” showcases my journey of self acceptance, slowly learning to be comfortable in my own skin, knowing that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and have our flaws and that’s what makes us beautiful. I think life is a forever unfolding path towards self-love, and I’m happy to say that I’m on the right road!

We see you’re very active on the socials, where one of your most blown up videos was you performing a song in Romanian. Would you ever consider singing in a language that isn’t familiar to you again? 

Definitely! I love experimenting with different songs, languages, styles, which helps me reach wider audiences around the globe; I think every culture is uniquely beautiful and holds its own magic, and I love to show my respect and appreciation through music.

Apple music described your music as “Arabic Pop with a fresh global flair propel” do you ever feel like shifting to another genre in the future? If so which one and why? 

I feel like I am always evolving creatively, yet at the same time I remain true to my music influences. Growing up I listened to all kinds of music, from Arabic classics (Fairuz, Wadih El Safi) to Opera in French and Italian, as well as English pop music.. I feel like I integrated all these genres into my music and they will always be part of me! I think the music I make is quite futuristic yet it still feels familiar to people who enjoy classics.
I may be including more language shifts in my music, such as English and French since I do love writing in these languages as well!

Your guitar seems to be your best friend, do you play any other instrument? Which unconventional instrument did you always want to learn and why? 

While I did take a few piano lessons about a year ago, the guitar will always be my instrument. When I first held a guitar 8 years ago, it felt like it belonged in my hands, it was such a strange feeling; I learnt to play it quickly and progressed in courses fast, it was as if I was meant to be a guitarist all along.
Though I would love to learn so many other instruments like the violin, bass and drums, I think I will stay focused on writing and playing on my guitar for the meantime, after all, my guitar and I are literally one, and my connection with it is unmatched!

Keep up with Talia’s news and music on her Instagram right here.

Photography/ Christian Abou Fayssal @bychristianabf
Beauty/Moe Maanieh @moemoaanieh