What’s On has a Mayssa Karaa interview, the Arab-American singer, who performs the closing concert at the Abu Dhabi Festival on April 2.

Mayssa Karaa will close the Abu Dhabi Festival’s main programme on Thursday April 2. Making her festival debut with a line-up of musicians and a special guest, UK singer- songwriter Marcus Nand, Karaa, who sings in both Arabic and English, is best known for her Arabic rendition of White Rabbit on the Oscar-nominated film American Hustle’s soundtrack.

What’s On finds out more….

When I learned that my version of White Rabbit was nominated for the Grammy’s, I felt great. It was really a great accomplishment; it has opened a lot of doors for me. Being featured in a movie such as this one [American Hustle] has definitely helped me build my career.

When I was seven years old I had no idea whatsoever that I could sing. I was asked to sing a song by Lebanese singer Fayrouz three times in a row and people were watching this little girl coming on stage and everybody was cheering.

Once in Detroit I chose one of Bob Seger’s most famous songs, Turn The Page, and I did an adaptation of it in Arabic. Everybody was astonished and interested – I loved the reaction. This is what keeps me moving forward.

The first part of the Abu Dhabi Festival show is going to be traditional Arabic music, but in my own way. Then it will continue on a musical journey of fusion with another guest, singer/songwriter Marcus Nand. It will blend a little bit with flamenco and rock. So in the end, all the stars will join us on stage on a musical journey of rock.

I’m listening to a lot of new things. Electronic music, Armin van Buuren. I’m very open to diverse and different styles of music.

Armin van Buuren

The songs that are already on the debut album are inspired by women’s rights. It speaks for women in one voice through music. Women should be comfortable with themselves and they should love themselves. I believe that is mainly what my inspiration is about.

I have a lot of Whitney Houston on my iPod. I love her so dearly. A lot of people do but there is something about her, other than vocally, that inspires me a lot. In terms of Arabic music, Fayrouz is all over the place. I also love Sting.

I’m so happy to be able to perform at this festival. It is such a great pleasure to be able to share my music and to be able to break down barriers and create a bridge between the east and West through my music.

April 2
Abu Dhabi Festival, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, Dhs125 to Dhs350. Tel: (02) 3336400. Taxi: Emirates Palace. abudhabifestival.ae