Video: Ever heard of Arab Soul? Check out this Dubai-based singer

Rouba, the Dubai-based Lebanese-born soul singer released the first single from her debut album ‘Mama’s Back’ this week. The song entitled ‘Marrat’ meaning ‘Sometimes’ in Arabic, is the only Arabic song on her all-English album, which was produced in Los Angeles with music producer Joe Kennedy and is set for release this September.

The release was marked by her first official music video, directed and post produced by Jian & G'Nia, a creative team based at the newly formed StreetWise Productions at The Creative Circle which is also launching in October in Dubai.

The video will air on MTV Arabia and will be followed by another film for the second single from her album called ‘Mr X’ – set for release end of June.

Rouba is known for wearing a head wrap and long flowing abaya-style dresses that reflect her interpretation of her cultural background, and performs regularly at Musichall Dubai.

“I’m so excited about the release of this song,” says Rouba, “This is the first song I ever wrote in Arabic and though I was reluctant to include it on the album at first, I feel it is an essential part of my identity as a musician and as an individual – the album simply wouldn’t be complete without it.”

The StreetWise Production team developed the concept based on the lyrics and several discussions with Rouba.

“We believed in the song, which is classic Jazz, but the Arabic lyrics provide an unexpected twist,” the team said.

The full album will be released in October 2013 and distributed by MusicBox. The album will also be available for digital download in all online music stores.

Meet Rouba

Rouba, aka Roobz was born in Lebanon on May 22, 1975. Her passion for music began at age 7 when she started recording herself singing various classics she had memorized out of her parents’ 70S music collection that included Marvin Gaye, Cat Stevens, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, Georges Benson, Roberta Flack and so many more from that era.

At the age of 16 when she joined a band called Shades and soon became the soulful voice of Beirut performing jazz and blues classics at live music venues around the city. Her musical journey led to renowned Lebanese oriental jazz composer and playwright Ziad Rahbani – son of Fayrouz and Assi Rahbani – with whom she performed for several years.

After abandoning music for more than a decade to pursue a successful career in public relations and marketing, Rouba began performing live again at landmarks such as Music Hall, Jazz Lounge, Blue Note, Bar Louis, SNATCH and Bourbon Street in Amsterdam.

Her diverse musical foundation and inspiration from artists like Nina Simone, Mary J Blidge, India Arie, Maxwell, Jill Scott, Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, the Brand New Heavies, Anita Baker, Rachel Ferelle and others are reflected in this album which is set to be released in November 2012.