The pop star Elissa received an outpouring of support over the past 24 hours, calling for her to reconsider a recent decision to quit the music industry that she has likened to the mafia.
Elissa, who is 46, said Monday that she is prepping one final album “with a lot of love and passion” but also a “heavy heart,” because it will be the last of her career.
“I can’t work in a field that is similar to mafias. I can’t be productive anymore,” she tweeted.
The announcement comes as a surprise to many fans enamored with the diva. With more than a dozen albums and compilations, as well as several international music awards, Elissa is one of the best-selling pop stars in the Middle East.
A day before her announcement, Elissa had tweeted: “You guys really know how to be impatient! Stop rushing the album. We are working on choosing the best and we know what to choose for you so don’t rush things and just wish us luck.”
Beyond her music, Elissa’s popularity was amplified last August, when she released a seven-minute video describing her battle with cancer, titled “Ila Kol Elli Bihebbouni” (“For All Those Who Love Me”). The video documents her journey with breast cancer and radiotherapy treatment.
Following the announcement, Lebanese and other Arab singers voiced their support for her.
“@elissakh Najmetna,” our star, “after the whole world showed you so much love you cannot but reconsider this decision. … You were always unique in every way just don’t be unique in stopping at the peak. #love #Elissa,” tweeted Bassem Christo, a music director and producer.
A Lebanese MP even called on Elissa not to give up. “The whole country is a mafia, the strong ones have to fight and you’re very strong and determined since the day you started your career. I hope you reconsider your decision because you’re loved and appreciated by those who matter,” Paula Yacoubian of Beirut said.
Haifa Wehbe, another popular Lebanese pop star, told Elissa, “Neither us, nor your fans … will accept this type of decision!! You will continue to sing and enlighten the stage and whoever doesn’t like this, they are the ones who should be buried and walk!!”