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Raising My Voice

By Nicolas Chalhoub, art director, Horizon FCB 

I’m Nicolas Chalhoub, a member of the Horizon FCB creative team in Beirut. Besides my passion for advertising, I am a music lover. I studied Oriental singing and composing, and the oud (a musical instrument) for four years at the National Higher Music Conservatory of Lebanon.

Many people spend their whole life searching for their life purpose or their ultimate goal. I don’t think this is the case for me; I was born knowing and understanding my purpose. Since early childhood, I always knew what I wanted and where I belonged. I sang everywhere – at church, at school, anywhere – to the point where it became the neighborhood joke!

My dream beckoned me, louder this time, and I made a promise to myself that I would achieve it sooner or later. It was not easy, but I believe nothing is impossible. I often collaborated with DJs to make demos, trying to define my identity, different yet true to myself. I was never satisfied. I always wanted more. I learned that the right time can never be rushed. Patience is the key to big dreams. 

I decided to use my voice to raise the issues in society. I knew how liberating and self-awakening it could be. And then, I started! I used my skills as an art director to create a graphic identity. I wrote and composed my songs around my beliefs, and for every song I had a specific visual in mind. This was two years ago. And now, after releasing my first album, digitally and physically –  which was very successful in Lebanon – I feel I opened a window to the world, to speak and express the truth and to spark change in people through my music.

In my first album “Am Bechbah Hali,” I spoke about freedom, violence, personal dreams and touching love stories. In the video clip, I confronted my vitiligo (a skin condition) at the end; I talked about many issues in my country like homosexuality, women’s roles and equality, the respect and beauty of elders, and appearances.

My album is now on iTunes, Amazon and music libraries around the world. It was number one at the Virgin megastore in Beirut for a whole week and is still on their chart even after six weeks. After one month, my video reached 12k views and more than 40 TV and radio stations hosted me to talk about my music and music video.

Following my dreams and passion has made me feel strong, more creative and spiritually fulfilled.