Montag, 2. Juni 2008

English version

Fady Maalouf's life began under dramatic circumstances on the April 20, 1979 in Beirut, Lebanon. When Claire Maalouf gave birth the hospital was being bombed; there was a blackout, and chaos reigned. The delivery itself was a life-and-death struggle for both mother and child. Small wonder then that Fady says he grew up in a strange mix of protection and fear. On the one hand he was the only child of middle-class parents, living a normal, well-protected life in the North of Beirut. On the other, the death zone was never far away - an experience Fady Maalouf shares with all children whose "normal" life includes coping with war and bloodshed. Once, while playing in the streets as a teenager, a cluster bomb fell and hit his face. He ran to his parents who were shell-shocked at his sight. "Everybody screamed when they saw me", he remembers. He was rushed to the hospital while the attacks continued, and there was no guarantee for proper treatment. Three operations and endless medical visits were necessary to remove the splinters from under the infected skin. One splinter remains forever embedded and visible, like a tear under his right eye. Fady remembers this time as the most difficult in his life: "At a certain age appearances are so important to you! All of my confidence was gone. For almost a year I did not leave my room. I lost all contact to the outside world." It was during this time that Fady began to listen to music and discovered his own voice. He also found his personal mentor in an unlikely candidate: Céline Dion. Alone in his room, he became intrigued by her voice, and inspired by her dedication and personality as an artist. Here he found solace; her songs made him forget his pain and sorrow. She sang in French, Fady's mother tongue, as well as in English. "When I heard ‚Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi' for the first time - i.e the song that won her the Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland in 1988 - I was smitten", he says. "I could not believe that such a voice exists. I thought: That is how I want to sound!"

Fady had sung before, in a children's choir and in the church choir. Now he took singing lessons on a regular base, in order to school his voice, but also as general therapy. Later on he sang at weddings and in piano bars - mostly jazz tunes and soul. But he kept both feet firmly on the ground. Instead of trying to follow his dream becoming a professional musician he chose fashion design for his studies and as his metier. Fady Maalouf pursued his studies in Lebanon (Beirut) and France (Paris) where he worked briefly as an intern for the Lebanese designer Elie Saab. In July 2006, when the military conflict between the Hezbollah paramilitary troops and the Israeli military known as the "July war" erupted, Fady decided to leave Lebanon for Germany and try his luck there as a fashion designer. Indeed, his grand-mother was German, and his father was born in Berlin - two additional good reasons to try a new start in the land of his ancestors. He arrived in Hamburg with "no money, no German, no friends", as he told journalists later. Since he could not find a job as a designer, he kept himself afloat as a "barista" (specialist for Italian coffee) in a coffee-shop in Hamburg. That is where his success story began ...

Friends convinced him to try his luck as one of 30,000 candidates for the well-known singing contest and media event "Deutschland sucht den Superstar" (the German equivalent of "Pop Idol"). His casting video is legendary by now: While DSDS jury member Dieter Bohlen was not particularly convinced by his rendition of Amy Winehouse's hit "Rehab", Bohlen’s colleagues Anja Lukaseder and Dieter "Baer" Laesker immediately recognised Fady's potential. He snatched up the Recall invitation - and earned his place among 15 remaining candidates with a truly mesmerising version of Beyoncé Knowles' song "Listen" (from the musical "Dreamgirls"). The rest is history: In the first of a series of DSDS motto shows Fady Maalouf sang "Home" - a Michael Bublé signature song which earned him the respect of the jury as well as the unconditional love of the audience.

Fady went on from show to show, visibly growing, artistically, and gaining more confidence. He became the shooting star of the fifth season of DSDS. Thanks to his winning personality, his determination, but also his modesty and selfless disposition to help other contestants, he won the hearts of more and more fans.

When Fady Maalouf came second in a nail-biting finale (May 17, 2008), the dream of a career as a successful singer seemed lost and gone. However - the love of Fady's still-growing fanbase worked a miracle. In the days and weeks after the finale thousands of fans wrote to SONY BMG, asking for the release of Fady's song "Blessed" and suggesting that Fady should get his record contract. The demand was so huge - and so unprecedented by "Deutschland sucht den Superstar" standards - that SONY-BMG's German Columbia label took note, gave in and took this gifted talent under contract. Not only the single "Blessed" got released (and shot to number 2 of the German charts immediately), but a whole album by the same title - "Blessed" soon saw the light of day.

The circumstances of his first record contract make Fady extremely proud. "Of course I would have preferred to win German Idol. And, yes, I was frustrated by the outcome", he says. "However: The record label was not bound to sign me on. They offered me the contract because they saw the potential in me. The sheer market potential. They believed in me - which is great. “And he adds, smiling: "...that way I had more time when preparing and recording my album."

Fady Maalouf is a gifted communicator who had to learn to listen to his own voice - patiently and optimistically. He has a remarkable ear for languages and learned German (his fifth language!) in amazingly short time. Besides his first love - music - he designs his own gear, paints, and writes children's stories. He is a multi-talented, gifted artist with a unique voice and a charismatic, natural presence. But he is also your bubbly, charming, crazy "boy next door". His extraordinary voice as well as his multi-faceted personality have earned him the title "Superstar of our Hearts". And there are more hearts beating for him every day.
(special thanks to Ursula and Wiiliam)

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