Popular Lebanese songstress Haifa Wehbe performed for a sea of fans in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for the first time on Thursday night, as part of a festival in which she was the first Arab artist to participate in.
“Where’s my Turkish Haifaholics?” said Wehbe on social media platform, Twitter, as she announced her arrival in the capital, on Wednesday. Officials from the Ministry of Tourism greeted her at the airport, and she was then taken to her hotel while accompanied by an envoy of security personnel, according to entertainment writer and author Imad Hawari.
The singer met with Ankara’s Mayor Melih Gokcek, and was offered the Turkish nationality. Various Turkish and international press were also at the meeting, where Wehbe was delegated her own translator.
On her first visit to perform in the capital, she toured the Haci Bayram mosque, Ankara castle, and Gençlik Parkı (Youth Park), to which she likened its lights and water show to Las Vegas’ Bellagio Fountains, reported Turkish online news site, Flas Gazetesi.
Amateur footage uploaded onto YouTube showed the singer dressed in a long white gown, singing to a screaming crowd, as laser lights illuminated the stage, and backup dancers joined her as she sang Sama’ni, off her fourth studio album, MJK – Malikat Jamal Kawn (Miss Universe). Haifaholics, as Wehbe affectionately referred to her fans as, expressed their excitement online, thanking her for a great concert, while fans from other parts of the globe urged the Lebanese pop diva to perform in their own cities, such as London and Abu Dhabi.
The album was introduced to the public by various social media campaigns and digital marketing, leading it to earn a number one spot on iTunes top 200 World Music Charts.
The singer rose to fame in 2002 after the commercial success of her first studio album, Houwa el-Zaman. She also released a children’s album in 2010, titled Baby Haifa. Aside her vocal skills, Wehbe modeled as a teen, and made her first foray into acting in the Pepsi-produced film, Sea of Stars, in 2008.