It's been awhile since Egyptian singer Lara Scandar has been active in the music scene, but she's back in full force. Fond of music at a young age, Lara gained recognition in 2009 after being a semifinalist in the Pan-Arab performing competition Star Academy. Since 2010, the star has released songs in both English and Arabic. Her latest single بحبك جدا (which translates to "Rock Around My Love") is her very own rendition of "Rock Around the Clock" and is out now.
Revealing where she gets her inspiration and what her greatest challenges are, Lara opens up in a recent interview with Bazaar.
Harper’s Bazaar Arabia: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Lara Scandar: "I always knew I wanted to sing and be on stage. I was never really interested in anything else. I used to put on fully produced and choreographed shows for my parents and their friends."
HBA: What are your hobbies?
LS: "I love writing. Writing anything from lyrics to my thoughts. I also love anything beauty-related. I think I'd be a make-up artist if I wasn't a singer."
HBA: How did your love for music start?
LS: "I grew up in a very musical house. My father always sang around the house and bought me my first microphone when I was three."
HBA: How would you describe your music?
LS: "My music definitely has more of a pop sound than anything else. I love to experiment with my sound but there's always that pop vibe to it. It's also very fun and there's usually always another genre of music infused into it."
HBA: What do you hope to achieve through your music?
LS: "With the songs I write myself, I really hope to be able to also tell someone else's story. The most songs I like to listen to are the ones I can relate or I feel were written for me and that's what I want to achieve when people listen to my songs. As for the ones I don't write myself, I always chose them only if I can relate to them or feel it'll add positivity to someone's mood or state of mind."
HBA: How did your career in music take off?
LS: "It was a reality show called Star Academy that really helped me breakthrough in this industry."
HBA: Where or who do you get your inspiration from?
LS: "I get my inspiration from personal experiences and I also get a lot of inspiration from music I listen to. I grew up listening to Disney, '60s Italian pop, countrymusic and so many different genres of music."
HBA: Who was or still is your mentor?
LS: "My producer Jean-Marie Riachi has been a great mentor when I had begun my career and he still is a great help an amazing example to look up to musically."
HBA: What is your advice for aspiring musicians?
LS: "Be true to yourself and your sound. Don't let someone try to mold you into something you're not. Also be smart, learn about the business. It's not enough to just have the talent, you should know your rights and your worth."
HBA: What is the greatest challenge about being a singer and songwriter?
LS: "I think in my case, the challenge was being a singer that sings the genre of music I do in the Middle East. I started off not singing Arabic and that was a challenge on its own but my sound is also not something people are too used hearing from an Egyptian artist. I love the challenge though."
HBA: What’s your favourite part about being a singer and songwriter?
LS: "I get to tell my story and I get to change someone's mood or make them believe in something again. It sounds cheesy but it's amazing what one song can do to someone! I love when people come up to me and tell me that one of my songs puts them in a good mood or that one simple line in a song they can relate to deeply."
HBA: If you couldn’t sing, what would you do?
LS: "I'd be miserable."
HBA: In three words, how would you describe your style?
LS: "Simple, elegant and fresh."
HBA: What is your greatest achievement of your life so far?
LS: "I wouldn't say it's my greatest achievement but it's something I'm very proud of. I was nominated for a EMA (European Music Award) a few years back and that recognition in itself was such a game-changer."
Project and production | Maison Pyramide @maisonpyramide
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Photography | Abdallah Sabry @abdallahsabry99
Styling | Farrah Abaza @farrahsstudio
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Hair | Rizk Hair Studio @rizkhairstudio