Growing up in different countries helped me expand my horizons: Mayssa
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, singer Mayssa Karaa’s passion for singing took her around the world. And it was thanks to these experiences that she earned a Grammy nomination and an opportunity to work with AR Rahman. “I was classically trained but I also understand the music of my country and the region I grew up in so I sing Arabic music,” says the singer, adding, “Then I studied in the US and got exposed to more contemporary music and once I went to Berklee, I got exposed to more cultures and different genres of music and have collaborated with people from all around the world, ended up signing in different languages and collaborated on work that I never thought I would be exposed to in my life.” The singer was recently part of The Road to Becoming by Furtados School of Music.
However, these experiences, she says, “confused her”. She explains, “It was a blessing and a curse at the same time. A blessing because you get to be exposed to so many different genres and collaborate in different venues. But it has confused me at some point with the identity.” Her track Hayati, which saw her collaborating with AR Rahman, was used as one of the tracks in the 2018 Tamil film Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which was helmed by Mani Ratnam. “My collaboration with Mr. A R Rahman was inspiring and it has taught me a lot because when you work with people with a repertoire such as his, the reputation such as his, there is so much to learn from him, there is so much to really creatively challenge yourself and think in a like-minded kind of process and see how we can achieve something together,” she says.
On the future of live concerts, Karaa says that she only wish if she had an answer for it. “I’m wondering about that myself. Definitely, we are coming up with creative ways to sustain and to keep people engaged and keep ourselves creative but nothing will beat the experience of having a live audience watching us and interacting with us. That energy is what actually inspires the artist to perform live,” she says.