Hiba Tawaji

A Harmonious Blend Of East And West

Conducted by Guillaume Jean Lefebvre

1. Can you tell us about your upcoming show at the Olympia in Paris in May? What can your fans expect from this show?

This will be my first solo concert in France, in Paris to be precise. It's on 29 May. It's a concert where I'll be singing in French and Arabic. Songs from my albums in Arabic and also songs in French that I'll be sharing on stage with some surprise guests that I really like and with whom I've been lucky enough to collaborate and with whom I'd like to collaborate too. We'll be singing about love, the French-speaking world, Lebanon and diversity. We're going to dance, we're going to party. We're going to celebrate music in a very open way.

2. How did you prepare for the role of Esmeralda in the Notre Dame de Paris show? What challenges did you face in portraying this iconic character?

A lot of rehearsals for a long time. Afterwards, I really knew the show by heart because I grew up listening to the songs in the show, so I already knew the songs by heart. But we rehearsed a lot on stage, backstage and in the studio. Because it's not always easy to sing, act, move and dance at the same time. So it's also a very physical show. So it really takes a lot of rehearsal and preparation for it to become completely natural and to have the feeling that you're not making any effort at all in the end. The more you rehearse, the more natural it becomes, so it's a lot of rehearsal.

Hiba Tawaji, a renowned Lebanese artist, made a lasting impression in Paris with her first solo concert at the Olympia on May 29. Known for her enchanting blend of French and Arabic songs, Tawaji shared the stage with surprise guests. Her acclaimed portrayal of Esmeralda in "Notre Dame de Paris" showcases her dedication to authenticity and the rigorous preparation behind her multifaceted performances.

Tawaji's music effortlessly bridges Eastern and Western influences, reflecting Lebanon's rich cultural heritage. As she prepares for future concerts and a new album, Tawaji continues to inspire with messages of love, freedom, and empathy. Our interview highlights her passion for her craft, her approach to complex roles, and her commitment to staying true to herself.


3. What is your approach to interpreting such complex and diverse roles on stage, like Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris?

I think it means remaining as authentic as possible and as true to yourself and the role as possible. And it's also about bringing back something in addition to our own analysis and experience. And also being very open to other people's comments.

4. Can you talk about your artistic journey so far and the highlights of your career?

Each stage of my career touches me sincerely; I can't choose just one. I think all these highlights make my career touch me as a whole. But I'm always thinking about the future, about what's to come, and I always try to go as far as I can.

5. How do you perceive the blend of musical styles in your performances, particularly between Oriental music and Western influences?

The fact that I'm Lebanese, as Lebanese we've always been open to cultures from all over the world and languages from all over the world. We're a bit of a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, so there's a natural mix between East and West. You can really feel that in the music we make and the art we present. It's really this cohabitation, the fact that here we are making music or accepting that music is a universal language, that brings us closer together.

6. What are your future plans in terms of music or theater after your current commitments?

At the moment I'm working on songs in French and Arabic. These may soon be the subject of an album. Then I'm preparing a lot of concerts in Lebanon, in the Arab world and all over the world. I have a series of concerts in Canada in Toronto on 18 May, in Montreal on 21 May, in Paris on 29 May, in Lebanon on 23 June, and in Morocco. And there may be other concerts to be announced very soon.

7. What message or emotion do you hope to convey to your audience through your music and stage performances?

Love, freedom, self-acceptance, openness, empathy.

Crédits Photos : RodpProduction / Nader Moussaly / Darren Craig
Agency : Agence French Lights
Model : Hiba Tawaji - @hibatawaji

8. How do you find the balance between your international career and your artistic commitments in France, such as your role in Notre Dame de Paris?

Balance depends on the choices you make. I'm very open in my choices, but at the same time very selective. Above all, I like to do things that I enjoy, that give me pleasure, that are like me and that are very authentic. You really have to feel things and that’s how I see my journey in any case. I like to do things when I feel them and when they are very natural.

9. Can you share your experience as an artist in the music and theater industry, including the challenges and successes you have encountered?

An artistic career is often full of ups and downs. You have to be persistent, you have to work hard. You have to keep coming up with new ideas, and always try to come up with something new so that you don't end up in a kind of formatting, so that you can really stand out.

10. What advice would you give to young artists aspiring to pursue a similar career to yours, combining music, theater, and diverse artistic engagement?

Stay true to yourself. Be authentic and as natural as possible. Persevere to go far.

Quality, not quantity

We have made quality our habit. It’s not something that we just strive for – we live by this principle every day.