Lebanese singer Marcelina’s nostalgic new video pays homage to Y2K style of her California youth

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DUBAI: Just months after releasing her debut EP “Infinity,” Lebanese singer Marcelina released a music video for her new single “Dunya.” 

Shot and directed by Dubai-based creatives Sophia Khalifeh and Zainab Hasoon, the clip is an homage to the early 2000s era that shaped her aesthetic. The cover art for the single, also shot by Khalifeh and Hasoon, is a portrait of the singer clad in Y2K-era shield-like glasses and a black top complete with purple arm warmers.

With her new video for “Dunya”— which translates to “the world”— the artist delves further into the sartorial references that defined her California youth. “We mutually felt that we wanted to give the video an edgy essence with inspiration from the early 2000s, from the way the video was shot, to the four different looks featured,” she told Arabian Weekly. 

“We used several thrift and vintage items to be authentic to the 2000s influence but also got some pieces from Les Benjamins and the agency, The Qode. We shot with a camcorder because we wanted the footage to have a raw and simple look and further give the video an edgy feel,” she added.

The 21-year-old explained that since the song has an upbeat sound, she decided that the video’s visuals needed to create some contrast. Filmed with a camcorder over the course of two days at several locations in Dubai, it looks like it could easily be included in an MTV roundup of best music videos from 2002, alongside Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block.”

The rising star expressed her gratitude for working with an all-Arab female team. “It was important to me to have a sense of familiarity within our identities, as this is my first Arabic project. I wanted to work with people who understood my culture and could inspire me in new ways through the process,” she said.

“I knew that I wanted to shoot a video with Sophia as I love her visual work and representation of female fashion, beauty, and art within the Arab creative scene. I also really wanted to work with Zainab, as I felt really drawn to her work and style, I knew she would be the perfect creative mind to bring the vision of the video to life,” she added.

A self-described “theater kid,” Marcelina took an interest in the arts aged six. Her passion for music was nurtured at home, where she was surrounded by a family of creatives, including her mother, who was an oil painter. 

“I grew up in a musical environment at home, playing piano with my brother while we were kids, and listening to all sorts of music our parents blasted on the speakers in our childhood home,” recalls the singer. 

“My father had a deep appreciation for music, introducing me to some of my favorite genres of all time — Reggae and Rock — and a lot of classical music; we often watched operas and orchestras together. My parents would host a 70s-themed party every year, so I grew up listening to a lot of Disco, Funk, and Groove- which I feel like now, really inspires me in my experimental musical nature,” she said.

It was not until she was aged 16 that she decided to take singing lessons, honing her skills by making her own songs on Garageband, and singing covers of her favorite songs every day after school. 

“I knew it was something I could not hide from the world anymore and I just had to pursue, simply because music made me feel things nothing else could make me feel, and I wanted to contribute to this beautiful form of art as a form of my own liberating expression. 

“I wanted to make people feel things from my music, to feel inspired by it, I wanted to have a voice, a voice with no limitations or bounds. A creative expression where I can be myself, and I can combine all my fields of interest, acting, filming, editing, creating, singing, and writing, all at once,” she said.

After releasing a couple of songs over the duration of four years, Marcelina knew she needed to pursue music professionally. The singer, who was also in the process of obtaining her law degree at the time, admits that juggling her passion and her studies was no small feat.

She is currently doing her masters in intellectual property law, and plans to use her knowledge to help artists like her protect their work. When she is not writing papers or studying for mid-terms, Marcelina can be found working on her forthcoming project, which she describes as a lot darker and moodier than her previous works, unlike her debut EP, which leans into psychedelic R&B with undertones of trap.

“I want to experiment with more Arabic sounds and instruments, and also try out rapping in Arabic,” she told Arabian Weekly. 

“I’ve really been into vocal distortion and want to put out something really unexpected next. I’m also really open to collaborating with Arab and North African artists who would resonate with the vision of my new project. I may release a couple of singles before the project comes out, so keep your ears and eyes tuned in.”





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