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Digital Cover featuring Maria Taktouk

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Maria wears Georges Chakra Couture and a Marli New York choker necklace.

 Introducing the songstress in the making Maria Taktouk.

Back in 2021, Maria’s followers discovered her songwriting and singing skills once she started covering hit songs, and this November, the world will witness her first solo act.

In an exclusive interview, Maria talks about her love for Lebanon and a new musical journey with her soon-to-be released song Shadow.

Fashion Editor & Stylist: Victor Concepto
Photographer: Yang Wang
Filmmaker: Maxence Gautier
Hair & Makeup Artist: Maryna Armoudom from Team Lena Yasenkova
Location: Hotel Cour des Vosges, Paris

AM: From Lebanon to London and throughout Europe, tell us something you miss about home?
I miss my family In Lebanon and I miss speaking Arabic too. There is just an unspoken sense of understanding between everyone that’s really difficult to encapsulate in words. It’s a special place with some of the strongest people, and particularly fiercest women, I have ever met.
AM: Your inner circle knows that you are very family-oriented; how is your relationship with your siblings and your mother like?
Family is everything to me. My role as the elder sister is one of my biggest blessings. Being able to grow and share my journey with my younger siblings, especially my sisters, brings me a lot of joy. I learn so much from them as well. There’s no limit to their imagination and they help me re-connect with the playful side of me. This inspires me creatively especially when it comes to trying things that I’d ordinarily overthink, they just do it without a second thought.

My mom is the strongest woman I know. She’s my best friend and my role model in so many ways. I admire her strength, values and patience.

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Total look, Rahul Mishra Couture. Earrings, Marli New York.

 AM: You’re about to release your debut single, Shadow, when did you first decide to be a singer?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, yet, I was shy to show it to the world. I’ve always dreamt of being an artist, and as I was graduating from university, I reached a point where I questioned myself and realized that I needed to trust and believe in myself; to follow the dream that would make the 8-year-old version of myself proud and happy. I published my first cover on Instagram in December 2021 and I haven’t looked back since.
AM: And what kind of musical genres do you like to perform?
I love pop, it’s what I grew up with. I love listening to rap, hip hop and soul music too, especially from the 90s to the early 2000s. Ultimately, I’m a pop girl at heart.

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Dress, Rami Al Ali Couture. Timepiece, Damiani.

AM: Describe your main sources of inspiration for music
My inspiration is constantly evolving and developing. At the moment it comes from bottled-up feelings I’ve kept in for years and never knew how to express properly. The new music I’m writing just feels like a safe place to let them go, and the process has helped me understand those emotions better than I ever have. I’d say it’s a journey of self-discovery in some way. I hope my music will give comfort to any person going through that same journey.
AM: Would you say that your heritage has affected your musical preferences?
100% in its own special way. I grew up listening to all the Arabic songs my mom would play on the radio. When I moved to London, all the music I consumed was mostly English and I connected with that more on a lyrical level, only because I could make better sense of it.  Western music influences me a lot as I write in English, but musically, I lean towards Middle Eastern chord progressions and melodies. I like to include a little piece of my heritage in my music.

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Dress, Tony Ward Couture. Ring and bracelet, Marli New York.

AM: Some other new projects in the works?
I’ve been writing a bunch of new music for my upcoming project. I am working on developing my own sound and style of songs - I’ve put all of myself into it. I’m nervous, but I’m more excited than anything. I can’t wait to share it with the world.  
AM: What would you say is the main message you like to share with your followers?
I like to start conversations and talk about topics close to my heart. It’s important for me to use my platform for these reasons. I speak to my followers on a daily basis and it’s interesting to read how they feel about the topics I share. I want to create a safe space for people to just be comfortable and confident in that and through my music.

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Dress, Tony Ward Couture. Earrings, Damiani.

AM: And are you able to disconnect from your phone every now and then?
If I’m honest, I don’t do it enough. I find it really hard to do, which is really bad. There are times where I think, “I can’t do this right now” and “I’ll turn off my phone” but that literally lasts 3 minutes. It’s so bad. I definitely need to work on it. When I’m in a session or rehearsing, writing everything down with pen and paper really helps keep me present and disconnects me more than anything else.
AM: How is your relationship with fashion?
I love fashion and I love playing around with it. I do try to keep up with trends and incorporate them in my own way, and trying things I normally wouldn’t. When it comes to styling, if I have an event, I love visualizing what I’d like to wear with the accessories and try to look for the pieces that would fit. I do like to push myself out of my fashion comfort zone and get into experimenting!

Arabian Moda x Maria Taktouk
Dress, Antonio Grimaldi Couture. Ring and bracelet, Damiani.
AM: A list of your must-haves?
Always some sort of little (not so little) hoop, a choker and my rings too. I’m all about the accessories and I think it can make any casual outfit look more complete. I love hats too although I hate hat hair. I like wearing long socks, odd socks, cute socks. I’d probably say those are my staples… oh and crop tops! I also have made a habit making my own shirts when I can’t find anything to wear and have something really specific in my head. I’m not that great at it and you can definitely tell it’s amateur, but I love exploring that part of fashion.
AM: And what about your diet and beauty regimen?
I’m vegan and have been for 10+ years. I love to cook my own meals and try out new recipes, I try to eat balanced but I love Nando’s peri-peri French fries - that’s my weakness!

As for beauty, I try to stick to more natural ingredient-based products, I believe that one strong product can work better than 10 put together. I also drink as much water as I can, especially when I’m singing. I have to drink so much water and I’ve really noticed a difference in my skin and face, it’s one of the best factors that improved the quality of my skin. Honestly better than any skincare product I’ve tried. I used to have a long and intricate skincare routine and now, since stripping it back down to a cleanser, moisturizer/SPF and a lip balm, it’s working well for me.