A mere two years ago, Dana Hourani gave us a glimpse into her new creative venture: music. However, with a pandemic rocking the world, everything came to a standstill. Today, her long-awaited debut album, “Ensanein” (Two Humans in English) is out and rocking. FTA Pulse sat with Hourani to discuss her new album, her transition from fashion to music and much more.
While some may know Hourani for fashion, music has always been a part of her life. Her earliest memory is singing along to songs as she drove around in the car with her mom, or better yet, picking up laser discs and bombarding everyone at home as she listened to them without pause.
For Hourani, who is managed by Bureau des Créateurs, the shift from fashion to music was always going to happen. “It was bound to happen, because music has always been a part of my life somehow. I got into fashion quite naturally, just built a following, brands approached, and through that I started experimenting with music covers on Instagram. I got some great feedback and that motivated me. Then it was just about meeting the right people and saying maybe it’s time to do this for real,” she says. Her transition was gradual yet natural, bound to happen at any moment in her career, because even though music may have been put on the back burner, it never left her side.
Her debut album, “Ensanein,” was independently produced and took a little over two years to be finished. “I tackled a lot of topics in the album. Each song presents a different personification of a woman and also an opposing personification. That’s why it’s called Ensanain, because it talks about the dualities that we might feel that live inside of us, two opposite mentalities that contradict each other, yet reside in all of us. I think that’s a very normal way of being. It’s all about feeling the different types of emotions in every phase of your life,” she says.
For Hourani, each song narrates a different story and her process begins by writing her ideas on paper. “It’s a like a stream of consciousness and then I’ll take that, filter it, and take it to Anthony from Adonis, who I worked so closely with throughout the process of this album.” Her ideas, thoughts and feelings are then transformed into Arabic poetry.
Producing her debut album independently was not easy, but Hourani is part of a new generation that is challenging the status quo in music and the sounds that people have been accustomed to for the past three decades – exactly what she always did as an influencer. The infrastructure to support Hourani and artists like her does not exist, or at least, not yet. The solution, she says, is “to have less of a monopoly”. “There are the big labels who have the big artists, and maybe it’d be good if they open a sub label to support the young and up-coming artists, the same way they would support the established ones, using the same methods, marketing techniques, using the same support.”
That very same support that Hourani longs for in terms of music is the same support she gives to emerging Arab designers; some favorites are Lama Jouni, Boyfriend The Brand, Mrs Keepa, and Nafsika Skourti. “I always feel like the Arab designer has more of a hunger to create something new, something fresh, something we have not seen before. If I want to say something with my music, and my creative space, I want to add the creative space of someone else who is also working towards the same thing, but in a different industry. I like working with artists that have that mentality, because we all have that mentality as creatives — you always have to dig deep and find a way to be somehow unique.”
For Hourani, it’s not about linking fashion with music, but rather linking music to the artist and how they wish to present themselves. “It’s likening it to an image you want to portray, you find a fashion sense to fit into it,” she says.
To date, Dana Hourani’s biggest accomplishment is the release of her album. “It’s a whole body of work, it’s where all my energy went for the past two-and-a-half years, it’s where every piece of me has gone, a big chunk of me is in it, and the world gets to see it,” she says. As for the future, she hopes to collaborate with the likes of Ali Gatie and Mustafa the Poet, perform live and start working on the next album. “Trust the timing, trust the events and trust the process,” is what she would tell her younger self.