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Interview With Lebanese Singer Janine D

For many people in the Middle East, Janine D represented a breath of fresh air. 10 years ago, the Lebanese-American-Egyptian artist launched a collection of Arab songs combined with a western twist, and interpreted through artistic and original music videos. 

While watching her work on YouTube, we couldn’t but read the comments of viewers wondering where is she? And when will she be releasing a new song? And whether she has quite the industry or not. And to our surprise, the blonde starlet was actually living in the capital of light, which she has chosen as her new home. So our mission was to catch-up with Janine and to learn more about what she calls “a new chapter.”

From her Parisian apartment, located at the heart of the historical Latin Quarter, we had an afternoon tea with Janine.

Janine the artist

AM: Janine, what is the reason behind your absence?
It was definitely voluntary as I have always been a wild artist. I am always doing things with inspiration and I never liked to be restrained by the business. I was going through personal issues, and when something goes wrong it shakes me up. So I chose Paris to heal the woman inside me. And I feel like this absence in singing and performing was replaced by a presence in writing to express my inner thoughts. But now, after my emotional healing, I am ready to come back.

AM: So tell us more about who is Janine D?
Janine D is a woman before anything else. I concentrate on working on the woman who I am, which makes my art more profound and authentic.

I am a person who gets inspired by life, the people, and everything that crosses my path. I love to communicate on every single level. And that’s why I don’t consider myself as just a singer; I am an actress, a dancer a writer, and so much more. I am also somebody who is very spiritual. As an artist I believe that things happen through us, and not from us.

Going back to my life story, I am American from New York of Lebanese and Egyptian origins. I was raised between these three countries and I studied communication arts in NYC and independent studies in musical theater. And then life took me back to Lebanon, which was unplanned, but somehow desired. I always knew I was going to return and that’s where I launched a career in music.

AM: How would you describe your artistic style?

Honest and true to myself. I am a feminist, but not in a cliché way. I feel women have a strong potential. I always think of women who have a maternal instinct, the instinct of sacrifice and protection. And we definitely need to see more of this in the world. And hence my upcoming projects are inspired by different kinds of women and state of minds.

Musically, I like to bring my multicultural experiences to my work. I introduce new instruments to Arab songs, and I aim to communicate to the western world using Arabic melodies. I don’t like to follow the normal way and calculate a hit song. I like to start with the words, because to me the lyrics is my king.

AM: What are your upcoming artistic projects?
I am currently finalizing two albums, one that includes nine Arab songs and is entitled Raksa, and a Francophone album that I have mostly written. I am also working on film projects and a book. Eventually, I see myself doing humanitarian work in a couple of years by employing my art and specifically to empower women.

Janine la Parisienne

AM: What brings you to Paris?
As I said I never decide anything, I live day by day. Nothing in my life is preplanned. I was leaving Lebanon to head back to New York, but I had signs that called me to stay in Paris. For instance, I already started to write my film and I wanted to contact a specific French director but never had the chance to meet him. A couple of months later, there I was in an elevator where I met someone who turned out to be the business partner of that director. And that was the ultimate sign! 

AM: Describe your relationship with Paris
There’s something spiritual and profound about Paris. Culture, music, books surround you. There’s so much inspiration, and I needed to be inspired as an artist. A month turned into three years, and I feel very much at home.

In Paris there’s something to learn everyday. Walking down the street you can pick up an old record or a book. It’s very open to different disciplines, psychology, religion, science and arts. Everything seems so genuine here, it’s a flow of learning.

I love the food. French products are wholesome and honest and that’s how the city is. I also started my relationship with Yoga and I practice it religiously. I find it very important to my well-being and spirituality in such a toxic life.

AM: What is an ideal Parisian day for you?
The greatest thing in Paris is that not one day resembles the other. There is always a surprise and an unanticipated element. One thing leads you to another. You go from fashion to film to music all in the same day. It’s a city where people are open to exchange and I feel like its glamour lies in its generosity.

Janine’s lifestyle

AM: You seem to lead a healthy lifestyle, please give us some of your tips

I don’t have a daily diet because it depends on the seasons of the year. I believe we are made of what we eat. I follow diets periodically. I go on the candida diet for three months. This diet eliminates sugar from your daily life, knowing that sugar is the source of all sicknesses and body malfunctions. It focuses on protein and vegetables. And eventually, you will feel fantastic. I try to cut food after 8 p.m., my version of a daily fasting. I also exercise; sometimes I could go up to four or five days a week, and sometimes to two days. I like to change my routines. Some days I focus more on cardio and other on lifting weights.

AM: You fashion sense is original, how would you describe your style?
I am a lover for the 70’s era, I think it’s the most beautiful period. I like things that are unique. I don’t like to follow the trends and I am a fan of vintage. I appreciate colors and not afraid to wear them. I don’t have one particular designer or brand because I like to blend, mix and match. What’s important to me is to find Janine in the outfit. I could go from extreme styles, from Catherine Deneuve to Gwen Stefani in the same week.

Janine’s Favorites List:
  • Favorite Arab designer: Elie Saab
  • Favorite clothing brand(s): Dsquared and Chloé
  • Favorite Fashionista: Catherine Deneuve in La Chamade film
  • Favorite model: Izabel Goulart
  • Favorite city: Paris
Everyday Janine:
  • I can’t leave the house without my: iPhone  
  • On a typical day you will see me wearing: A pair of sneakers 
  • My current perfume is: Eau Provocateur by Agent Provocateur
  • My relationship with the gym can be described as: Religious
  • My guilty pleasure is: Pasta
  • After a stressful week you will catch me at: Home

Editor’s note: Thank you Janine for being a genuine artist and turning our interview into a singing session.

Watch Janine D's latest music video here.