Lebanon’s rising songstress Talia Lahoud has recently released her debut Arabic pop EP ‘Gharibi’, a thematic exploration of her resilience and self-discovery in the face of heartbreak. 

Penned by Lahoud herself, and co-produced with Egyptian/Lebanese producer Jamal Yassine, the five-track EP is personal, unfiltered and as introspective as it can get. With the crafty guile of Carole King, Lahoud purges her feelings into some soulful melodies and soaring vocals.

Launched under Nvak Collective, ‘Gharibi’ offers a fresh perspective on Arabic pop, converging various Western genres and classic and modern Arabic instruments. Each track serves as a chapter in the story of her life and personal growth, as well as a testament to her lyrical prowess.

In the opening title track ‘Gharibi’, which translates into ‘A stranger’, the rising artist contrasts Arabic emotive lyrics - meditating on the universal theme of loneliness and isolation whilst being around people - with an upbeat tempo and contemporary electronic rhythms.

However, the second track ‘Lahza’ sees Lahoud presenting a 2000s-like Arabic pop anthem about trying to make a romantic relationship work. The track features Talia’s soul-stirring vocals wrapped in rhythmic dance patterns and infectious percussion that sounds like a tablah.

As the EP unfurls, Lahoud pays homage to her Arabic heritage with ‘El Khayar El Tani’, incorporating traditional maqam melodies accompanied by the subtle strings of an oud that swiftly gears into guitar-led acoustics. In this track, Lahoud scorns the reality of being caught in a love triangle, or what we would call a situation-ship, a tale that rings a bell in the lives of many.

Meanwhile, on ‘Leysh’, Lahoud departs from traditional instruments, weaving infectious basslines and pulsating electronic arrangements, with Arabic, French and English lyrics. Halfway through the song, the artist throws in a deceptively simple yet brooding piano ballad that sneaks up and steamrolls all over you.

The EP culminates with a powerful post-heartbreak track ‘Ya Khayen’, an expose - presumably about a toxic former lover - that offers an experimental approach to Arabic pop with Latin and Jazz influences.