Featured Artist

Lea Makhoul

Can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to pursue music?

Like so many others, music has always been an important part of my life. I felt a strong connection every time I’d listen to certain songs. It made me feel a certain way and I knew that I wanted to live my life trying to make people feel the same way with my music.

How would you describe the music that you make?

I like to think of my music as a reflection of myself. I'm very inspired by French pop, but I'm always experimenting with different sounds and influ-ences. I love incorporating Afro instruments to create something fresh and unique. There's no one direction to my music, I just create what I feel and sometimes that's a mellow ballad over a piano and other times it's a high-energy track you can't help but dance to.

What are some key elements that drive you to continue making music?

I'm all about chasing my passion and doing what I love, and for me, that's making music. It's my daily dose of happiness and keeps me going. But what really drives me is knowing that my music can make a difference in someone's life. When I receive messages from people who say that my music helped them get through a tough time or inspired them, it's the greatest feeling ever. If I can touch even one person's life with my lyrics and/or voice, that's the ultimate win for me. I want to leave a positive impact on people, both on stage and off.

What would you say is the biggest moment of your career so far?

I feel extremely blessed to have had many great moments in my career, but if I had to choose a few, I would say that opening for Jennifer Lopez in the UAE and performing in a boxing ring, opening for the legendary Floyd Mayweather were some of the key highlights of my career. I was also the first artist from the Middle East selected to represent the MENA region at the MTV EMAs. It was such an incredible experience to share the stage with such iconic figures, and it was a huge honor to be selected for these opportunities. It was truly a reminder of how hard work and perse-verance can pay off. Even with those big wins, I was always grateful, hungry and eager to achieve more.

Tell us about your creative process when writing or making music? Has it always been the same?

My creative process is always changing, and each song has its own unique journey. Usually, I find myself starting with the melody and my hubby Amine, who's also an artist, helps me out with the cowriting. We scroll through beats on YouTube until we find one that hits the spot, then we record a few melodies on our phones and pick the best one to send to a producer to start working on the beat. While they're doing that, we brainstorm what we want to talk about. Sometimes the beat in-spires a certain topic, and other times it's just a random word that sets off an idea. When I've got the topic down, I team up with other writers to come up with the lyrics. I love collaborating be-cause it brings different perspectives to the table, and I find that very interesting. Once the lyrics are done, I hit the studio to record the song. The mixing and mastering come last, and then it's ready to go! I work with different people depending on the style of the song, and I'm always on the lookout for new ways to grow and experiment with my music.

Walk us through your latest release ‘J’le promets’.

J’le promets is my latest release, and it's a song that's very personal to me. It's inspired by my re-lationship with my partner, and the promise we've made to always be there for each other through thick and thin. I co-wrote the song with my good friend and talented artist Anthony Touma, who helped bring my vision to life. The melody was created collaboratively between the three of us, and the music production was handled by Bailouni, one of the most positive and talented music producers I've had the pleasure of working with. We created this song in the studio, and even did some co-writing over Zoom. I'm really proud of how it turned out, and I hope listeners can connect with the emotion and love that went into creating it.

How did introducing French lyrics into your songs elevate your profile in the industry?

Introducing French lyrics into my music was a bold move and definitely a challenge. For years, my audience knew me for my English songs, and I was aware that changing the language would be something new for them. Some people may have left and that’s okay. I must do what feels right to me. I believe that music should always be a reflection of who we are - having said that, it’s im-portant for me to stay true to myself and sing in the language that comes most naturally to me.

You’ve had several performances throughout your career. Do you have a favourite?

Each performance has been special to me and has taught me something valuable. However, if I had to choose one, it would be my most recent performance at the RELM Fest in October 2022. It was a defining moment for me as an artist, as I was able to showcase all of my original songs (some in English, some in French) alongside talented dancers who enhanced the performance aspect of my artistry. It truly represented who I am as a performer, and I will always cherish that experience.

If you could choose any venue to perform in next, which one would it be and why?

At the Superbowl ;) It doesn’t get bigger than this!

If you could share the stage with any artists, who would it be and why?

I have quite a few in mind! For the French market, I'd absolutely love to share the stage with Slimane, Matt Pokora, and Maître Gims. These artists have inspired me in so many ways and it would be an honor to perform with them. And of course, the ultimate dream artist would be to share the stage with Beyoncé. She has been a major inspiration on my music and performance style growing up, and I would be honored to share the stage with her.

What accomplishments do you see yourself achieving in the coming years?

In the coming years, I see myself continuing to pursue my passion for music and expanding my fan base. Additionally, I have my sights set on achieving a few specific goals. Firstly, I am deter-mined to perform a solo concert in one of the following countries: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, or Tu-nisia. It's something I've been working towards, and I feel ready to take that step. Another im-portant milestone would be to collaborate with a major French artist. The sky is the limit when you’re persistent, patient and work hard. I’m excited for the future and all the possibilities that lie ahead.

Tell us about your upcoming releases. Can we expect any album in the near future?

For my upcoming releases, I'm thrilled to share that I have a new song coming out very soon fea-turing Anthony Touma. The song has a topic that I'm really passionate about and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. In addition, I have two more tracks from my French EP that will be dropping this year. I’m also planning to work on a new EP that will mainly focus on piano and vocals. Collaborating with other artists is also something that I’m always looking for, and I'm excit-ed to continue exploring and mixing different cultures and voices to create something beautiful.

Who would you like to work with from the region that you haven’t worked with in the past? (You can name more than one person)

There are so many talented artists in the region that I'm excited to collaborate with. If I had to choose a few, I'd go with Molham. His style is so unique and I love the vibe he brings to his music.

I’m also really excited to collaborate with my dear friend Ss.hh.a.n.a, who I think is truly special. We've talked about doing a song together and I'm determined to make it happen. I'm also a big fan of Abri, Jay Abo & Saint Levant whom I recently discovered. There are also some amazing up-and-coming artists in the region that I've been following on social media, and I would be thrilled to work with any of them if the stars align.

What is the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?

Amine always tells me: You should create music that you enjoy and that speaks to you, rather than trying to please others or follow what's popular. By staying true to yourself, you'll be able to create authentic and meaningful music that can resonate with the world.

Describe your favourite interaction with a fan.

One of my favorite interactions with a fan was during a public performance/Q&A event for Apple Music. During the Q&A, a girl in the audience asked if she could hug me because she had been following my music for years and it was her dream to meet me. She was so emotional that she even started crying. It was such a beautiful moment, and it reminded me why I make music in the first place: to connect with people and give back the love and support they give me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So, always give back.

Talk us through an average day like for you? And, what do you do in your free time (out-side of music)?

I usually start my mornings with a workout session with my personal trainer. Depending on the projects I have going on, I might also have dance sessions or be creating content for my social media channels. Most weekdays are dedicated to my music, but I also spend time working on my other business, Mr. Kind, which is a theatrical musical play for kids that my husband and I creat-ed. Mr. Kind is all about spreading kindness, empathy, and love, and we hope to inspire positivity in future generations through our brand.

In my free time, I enjoy reading self-development books and spending time with family and friends.

What does your involvement in the Flash Entertainment’s Regional Artist Spotlight mean to you?

My involvement in the Regional Artist Spotlight with Flash Entertainment is an incredible oppor-tunity for us artists to showcase our music and connect with new fans. There’s so much wonderful talent in the region and it's great to see companies like Flash Entertainment recognizing them and providing them with opportunities to be heard.

What is your top 5 after-party playlist?
  1. Burna Boy ft. Ed Sheeran - For my hand
  2. Booba - DKR
  3. CKay - Emiliana
  4. B Young ft. Tayc - Distant
  5. Maluma - Mama Tetema