Ragheb Subhi Alama (Arabic: راغب صبحي علامة born June 7, 1962) is a Lebanese singer, composer, television personality, and philanthropist. Alama began his career in the 1980s when he appeared as a contestant on the talent show broadcast Studio El Fan, on which he received the Platinum Award.
Alama’s fame came after Studio El Fan with the release of his debut single “Bukra Byebrom Dulabak” (Your Luck Will Change Tomorrow) followed by yearly albums and number-one hit singles such as “Ya Rait” (I Wish), “‘Aan Jad” (Seriously) and “Alby Asheq’ha” (My Heart Adores Her) which was the first Arabic song in history to be made into a music video. Alama continued his success into the 2000s with the release of his chart-topping albums Saharony El Leil (2001), Tab Leh (2003), El Hob El Kebeer (2004) and Baa’sha’ak (2008), the latter which earned the artist the Platinum certification from Virgin Megastores for its record sales. His most recent album Seneen Rayha (2010) saw the artist team with Starbucks for its release and sale, making him the first Arab artist to have his album sold at Starbucks. The Starbucks album Starz Vol. 1 also included a song featuring international pop artist Shakira. He adopted an environmental cause with the album after being named the United Nations Ambassador of Climate Change.
Alama has won two Murex d’Or Awards and several other awards during his career. His albums have made him one of the most commercially successful singers in the Arab world. In mid-2011, it was announced that Alama would head the judging panel for the pan-Arab version of the American Idol series.
Alama was born in Ghoubeiry in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of Wafeeqa and Subhi Alama. He has three sisters and four brothers – of which he is the youngest. His father named him after the first Lebanese judge, “Ragheb Beik Alama”. At eight years old, Ragheb took up playing the Oud and participated in a live radio program to showcase his talent. In 1996, Ragheb married Jihan al-Ali who gave birth to his two sons, Khaled (Born 1997) and Louai (Born 2001).
In 2000, Alama recorded “Betgheeb Betrouh” with then-rising singer Elissa. In 2003, he released Tab Leh? (Oh Why?) under the recording label Alam El Phan and the title track entered the number one spot for several weeks. He also featured famous Iranian-Armenian singer-songwriter Andy Madadian on a track titled “Yalla Ya Chabab” (Let’s Go Guys).
At the end of 2004, he released El Hob el Kebeer (The Great Love) which included the hit single “Naseeni el Dunya” (Make Me Forget the World) and the title track which was released in July 2005 and directed by Wissam Smayra in a huge production shot in Malaysia.
In 2006, Alama participated in the pro-celebrity Formula One race, held in Bahrain, as an introductory show to the competition. He placed third and signed an agreement with Formula One Management to participate in the next race that will be held in Shanghai, China.
2008-Present: Backstage Production
In May 2008, Ragheb Alama released Baa’sha’ak, which was certified Platinum by Virgin Megastores Dubai by April 2009 for its record sales. The album was produced by his own company Backstage Production and included the hits “Yighib” and “Ser Hobbi”
In 2010, and again under his own production company Backstage Production, Ragheb released the environment-themed album Seneen Rayha which included the number one singles “Seneen Rayha” and “Betfell”. The album solidified Alama’s position as the number one artist in the Arab world and was sold in all branches of Starbucks Coffee along with a B-side compilation album titled “Starz Vol. 1″ that included the hit collaboration with Shakira “Good Stuff (Remix)”.
Near the end of 2011, Alama was announced as the head of the judging panel for the new MBC show Arab Idol which is a remake of the number one show of all time American Idol. Joining Ragheb on the panel were the Gulf singer Ahlam and the music producer Hassan Shaf’ee. The Arab Idol team began its auditioning tour around the Middle East and the UK in September 2011.