Zaina Berri, a Lebanese-American artist, raised by a single, first-generation immigrant
Lebanese mother, has been writing songs since she was nine years old. It was something that came naturally to her.
The 90s baby would write lyrics in her composition notebook decorated with doodles of cats and Britney Spears songs.
"Songwriting is just something that drips out of me." She says. It's the only way I can make sense of the world and how I'm experiencing it."
But her songs were anything but simple.
The very first song she ever penned, "Free", was about wanting to break free from her straight-A sister's shadow.
"It was a pretty emo song for a child, but it was what I was feeling at the time." Zaina states.
When the singer entered her teen years, she needed more than just melodies and lyrics in her head to fully express herself.
Since her family could not afford music lessons, she taught herself guitar at 15, and picked up piano shortly after. She began to add music to her lyrics during this time.
Fast forward to her university years, Zaina found herself studying majors that she was not interested in to try to fit in with the rest of her Arab female peers while booking local theater & musical theater productions.
Coming from a first-generation immigrant family, the pressure to reach financial success is immense. Her music career was not supported in her early years because of such realities that immigrant young adults face in the United States.
Zaina released a single titled “Goodbye Lie” in 2014 that she originally wrote for another local artist of a different genre - Country. However, when they decided they did not want the song, the songwriter ended up releasing the single as her own instead.
Her past and present team consists of local independent producers/musicians such as Jean Kent, who produced the majority of her work, Mackro who lent his talents on her Korean- English ballad, "Stop", and Alec Garnica who produced her first official single "Me & My Mind" in 2017, and her first bilingual (Arabic & English) single, “MAMA”, in 2022.
Zaina has released single after single over the years and experimented with many different styles.
Although her sound may blend genres due to her unique background, upbringing, and culture, what remains the same throughout is that all song lyrics, melodies, and most chord progressions are always written by Zaina alone and include Middle-Eastern influenced sounds and instruments.
Zaina’s unique blend of East and West, soulful voice, confessional, honest lyricism, bilingual flair, and powerful, unapologetic passion is what makes her stand out in a sea of “the next (insert female pop star here)”.
You can find out more about Zaina by watching her interview from the Detroit Morning TV show "LIVE IN THE D" in the "VIDEOS" tab right here on her website, or click above to listen to her 2021 UK-radio interview with Mark Xtreme on "The Xtreme BPM" show.