On the Cover: Yasmine Hamdan

Get a first look at the new issue of Rolling Stone Middle East

Yasmine Hamdan on the cover of Rolling Stone Middle East
By RS Staff
Jul 27, 2014

Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan is the cover star of the next issue of Rolling Stone Middle East, in stores soon. With her much-praised appearance (as herself) in the latest film from indie filmmaking legend Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive, and the U.S. release of her debut solo album, Ya Nass, Hamdan’s riding a wave of critical acclaim. We spoke with her just a few days before her first gig in her hometown of Beirut for five years (and a few weeks before her appearance at the iconic Glastonbury festival), and she discusses her long and storied career – from her time in the influential Arabic electro group Soapkills (“For some people, what we were doing was like a rupture. For others it was a reconnection”), through her major-label debut in France with Y.A.S., where she “had to step out of my comfort zone,” before really finding her voice as a solo artist with Ya Nass.   

She also discusses her battles with anxiety and frustration: “I think I’ve reached a point where I’m much more comfortable in my body and with who I am, but I struggled with that for a long time. I had to understand why I had certain emotions, why certain things were happening to me. And what’s magical about art is that it gives you some tips and some markers.”

Jarmusch, who has – since filming Only Lovers Left Alive – become friends with Hamdan, describes her as “a true artist.”

“There’s this intensity in her style that’s never forced,” he says. “She has incredible control over her voice as an instrument, but she doesn’t show off, she just employs it for something very sensual, emotional and evocative. It’s not fake in any way.”

Elsewhere in our new issue, a host of regional artists – including members of Mashrou’ Leila, Nervecell, The Wanton Bishops, Cairokee, Autostrad and Hollaphonic – reveal their favorite music in our Playlist Special.