Moving to Canada was a defining moment in Jana Salameh's life. As someone originally from Lebanon, the thought of adjusting to a new environment was daunting, yet it also offered a chance for profound personal growth and transformation.

"From my earliest years, I've nurtured a dream of pursuing a career in the arts and crafting my own music," she remembers with a radiant smile on her face.

Despite her strong aspirations, she often found herself overshadowed by the fear of not meeting expectations and hindered by limited resources due to her young age. "I found myself unsure of how to navigate the path towards my artistic ambitions, relegating my passion to a mere hobby," she contemplates the depth of her talent and the potential it holds.

Relocating to Canada prompted the artist to reflect on her doubts and re-evaluate her aspirations. Although her relocation wasn't initially motivated by a desire to pursue music, adapting to a new environment provided Jana with the space and opportunity to clarify her ambitions and develop her artistic vision. "It felt like a fresh start, a chance to embrace new possibilities and define my own path," she says passionately.

"I knew undeniably that I wanted to pursue my passion for music and artistry"

Jana's early career was greatly influenced by various opportunities that arose. She was part of a supportive artistic community that connected her with other artists. These connections not only supported her creative endeavors but also helped her grow personally and professionally.

"Though undoubtedly demanding, this experience has been instrumental in shaping my current persona and artistic vision."

Jana's musical journey started at Lebanon's Higher Conservatory of Music and has evolved into something powerful and boundary-breaking. Her music is like a revolution that crosses borders, much like the rebellion in "The Hunger Games." Every chord she plays and every note she sings is creating a unique anthem that will leave a lasting mark on the world of music, much like the tributes in the fictional world of Panem.

She started learning the oud at 8, then switched to the guitar. She studied music theory until 17, when she moved to Canada. Growing up in Beirut, her involvement in choirs and music groups enhanced her skills and passion for music, motivating her to pursue a music career despite her young age and limited resources.

In 2019, when Jana arrived in Canada to pursue her studies, she made a choice to focus on her musical ambitions. "I began sharing my music online and co-founded Entropy Entertainment, a musical group in Ottawa, blending oriental tunes with Western rhythms."

These performances gained recognition from Canadian and Arab communities. Collaborations with Anghami, the Lebanese Embassy, and local artists boosted her presence and inspired her to pursue music further.

"Since then, I have collaborated with international artists and made central appearances in their shows in Canada, among which Chico Castillo and Faraj Suleiman. I also accompanied international Lebanese artist Aleph Abi Saad on his tour in 2023, fusing flamenco and Eastern music across major venues in Canada and Lebanon. My performance with Aleph at the Byblos International Festival was a pivotal moment in my career as I had the chance to participate in a cultural show alongside globally renowned artists and experience the thrill of performing at home, in Lebanon, for the first time."

Recently, her journey took an internationally high note with her participation in The Voice "La Voix Quebec," where she showcased songs in her mother tongue, celebrating her Arab heritage and its cultural richness. "My song choices deliberately merged Eastern and Western influences, presenting a fusion of diverse musical traditions, and solidifying my musical identity," she proudly shares.

This moment is particularly memorable as it had a significant impact on her life. It highlighted the presence of an enthusiastic audience willing to connect with her music and a sincere interest in enjoying her creations. The backing of the Lebanese audience played a crucial role during her participation in The Voice, leading her to organize her first individual concert in her home country in April 2024.

"After feeling the incredible energy from the crowd at my homecoming concert, I'm determined to make these events a regular thing. The love and support I received were truly inspiring!"

Beyond music, storytelling in its various forms captivates her deeply— whether through poetry, lyrics, or narratives. "I've been on a continuous quest to explore the art of expression in every corner. I've always marveled at how some sentiments are effortlessly woven into words, especially considering that I'm someone who finds it challenging to articulate my thoughts." Discovering texts that resonate with her, particularly in her native language, brings her immense solace.

"Recently, I've been delving into honing my own storytelling skills." For a while now, Jana has found music to be her main form of expression. However, she has discovered that she wants to communicate a wide range of emotions and experiences beyond just melodies and harmonies. Writing provides her with a way to express the depths of her heart and mind in a manner that complements her music. It's a journey I'm deeply committed to, as I believe it enriches both my artistic endeavors and personal growth.

"Nature, in particular, serves as a wellspring of inspiration for my storytelling pursuits."

The artist's deep admiration for the vitality and beauty of nature continues to be profoundly influenced by her early life in Lebanon. "I find myself constantly drawn to the energy and details of the natural world, particularly the sun and the sea, which evoke a sense of wonder and inspiration," she concludes.

She delves into these themes to establish a deeper connection with herself and her audience, imbuing her music with a heightened sense of authenticity.

Jana, like any aspiring artist, dreams of collaborating with renowned stars.

"I deeply admire Ibrahim Maalouf and draw immense inspiration from his work. If I could collaborate with any artist, it would be him."

Jana had the privilege of seeing his show in France during his 'Capacity to Love' Tour, an absolutely memorable performance. According to her, Ibrahim stands out not only in his musical skills but also in his capacity to put his whole heart and soul into his art. Talent that goes beyond being musically gifted; he possesses a special ability to unite people through a wide range of musical styles. "I hold immense respect for Ibrahim's journey and unwavering dedication to his craft, but above all, it's his authenticity that resonates with me the most." Jana aims to embody the transparency and genuineness that he demonstrates in his musical pursuits. The innovative genres he delves into and the stunning fusions he produces are truly extraordinary. It is her dream to collaborate with him someday and become a part of his musical world.

Currently working on her original material over the last few months, Jana has been pouring her heart and soul into a personal project. "I wanted it to speak to me before it spoke to anyone else." The lyrics reflect her journey and experiences, delving into a longing for depth, significance, and connection beyond space and time.

ROOTS is musivv's segment featuring musical artists of Middle-Eastern descent residing in the UAE, Middle East and around the world. Features under this segment are considered as submissions for nomination under this category in the Musivv Awards’ annual recognition.

May 16, 2024

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