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Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of the 2010s, Ranked

December 11, 2019

(via Unsplash)

When it comes to selecting a personal “best” song, there’s so much more that goes into it than how far it charted on the Billboard Top 40. In fact, that doesn’t play a role to me at all.

What matters is how I felt about the song during its prime, if I feel the same way about the song now, if it had a legitimate “moment” in my life and if it brought some kind of unique sound or formula to the table. With each of these factors in mind, I’ve spent literally all of 2019 jotting down all my most monumental songs of the decade in a notebook as I thought of them.

With 10 years to account for, obviously a slew of songs came to mind. And while I’d have to say music basically died after 2014, the earlier years of the decade brought some of the most iconic songs of all time. Keep reading for skyelyfe’s 20 best songs of the 2010s, ranked. *Note: I left out all remixes even though some were absolutely amazing.

20. ‘Wide Awake’ – Katy Perry (2012)

While probably the last single you think of when you look back on Katy Perry’s iconic Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album, “Wide Awake” was not only a powerful ballad from the characteristically gimmicky singer, but also one that came out during a trying time in my personal life when I felt like the world was crashing down on me and I was trying to recover from a rough patch. I found the song to be therapeutic in many ways, and I highly respect that this is a detour from much of the singer’s other work.

19. ‘Ice Tray’ – Quality Control, Quavo, Lil Yachty (2017)

This is simply the quintessential song you want to hear on a night out. I can’t tell you how many times I danced to this after-hours. The dark, pulsating track even managed to make Joe Budden relevant again for a hot sec. Had the song come out earlier in the decade, it would have made an even bigger impact, but it definitely holds a special place as one of the best of the latter years.

(via YouTube)

18. ‘I Met You’ – Anna Lunoe + Flume (2012)

2012 was such a year for electronic music. The genre expanded in so many ways, and I was absolutely obsessed with this track. I remember playing this and No. 17 interchangeably nonstop all throughout my work days that year. I very much miss this musical moment.

17. ‘All My Life’ – Gigamesh f./ Jana Nyberg (2012)

Much like the aforementioned track, this was on my Spotify rotation nonstop in 2012—so much so that the app listed it as my most listened to song of that year (not shocking!). Still when I hear it to this day, I don’t like it any less.

(via YouTube)

16. ‘The North’ – Summer Heart (2011)

Summer Heart seemingly came out of nowhere, and this song is hands down one of the most beautifully melodic tracks I’ve ever heard. Not to be fooled by the artist’s name, this song had every bit of a solemn fall vibe, accompanying the season swimmingly that year.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – The Knocks (2014)

The Knocks stole my heart in 2014, and I’ve seen them live countless times since. Their infectious energy lights up a stage, and I truly can’t think of a livelier duo. “Dreaming” is every bit the upbeat track that got me on my feet in 2014 (even when the year got me down).

(via YouTube)

14. ‘Nocturne’ – Wild Nothing (2012)

Seriously bless Wild Nothing. They were my most listened to act of 2012 on Spotify, and have truly never let me down since. They encapsulate everything I could possibly want in a band, with their light, dreamy alt. rock melodies. I can seriously listen to “Nocturne” (and its album of the same name) forever. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

13. ‘Silhouettes’ – Avicii (2012)

Avicii’s tragic death last year was by far one of the most impactful and saddening. Not only a legendary trendsetter in electronic music, the Swedish DJ didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body (at least from what we know). On top of it all, he created some forever memorable tracks, including what I consider his most underrated, “Silhouettes.” This song takes me back to his then-signature sound when he first hit the scene with “Levels” in 2011. RIP, Avicii.

(via YouTube)

12. ‘Operate’ – ASTR (2013)

Short-lived electronic R&B duo ASTR was an act I found from my old-school favorite indie music blog BitCandy, and I instantly fell in love with them. They disbanded after 2015, but in their time together, Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin released two insanely outstanding EPs that will forever hold a place in my heart. “Operate” was the first single they released, and therefore the most legendary. I got my entire group of friends hooked, and therefore they definitely made a large dent in my musical memories of the decade.

11. ‘L.A. Lights’ – Grum (2010)

There’s no song like this one (or like the album Heartbeats) on this list. In a shocking move, Grum (aka Graeme Shepherd) went from a retro synth sound to joining the Anjunabeats label going full-force trance. Prior to his musical transition, he released “L.A. Lights,” a beautiful melody that felt ever so fitting to my many late nights under the… L.A. lights.

10. ‘I Get the Bag’ – Gucci Mane f./ Migos (2017)

Out of what was one of the most atrocious years in hip-hop (hip-pop?) came “I Get the Bag,” the Metro Boomin-produced track that made me give Migos a fair chance (I wasn’t big on “Bad and Boujee”). As a longtime fan of Gucci, he absolutely delivers here, on what was one of the best rap songs of the latter part of the decade.

9. ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ – Ke$ha (2010)

And this is where we cue the tears! 2010 was such a magical year for music, and Ke$ha (with then-dollar sign) was a huge proponent of that. Her album Animal came out on the very first day of the decade, setting the precedent for what was probably the best year of my life. This song, album, era brings back so many memories. I know the singer’s in a much healthier, better place now, following her horrifying experience with Dr. Luke, but there’s no denying her songs from the early 2010s will never compare to anything present.

(via YouTube)

8. ‘In the Morning’ – ZHU + Kaskade (2016)

This was my No. 1 song of 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind why. I only knew like one song by ZHU at this point, but the collab with Kaskade was perfectly executed into melodic bliss, setting the tone for not just my Coachella vibe that year, but for the year as a whole.

7. ‘Slow Love’ – MØ (2014)

I found MØ on the brink of her No Mythologies to Follow album release, and it was a game changer. The unique style of songs is solid from head to toe, and Slow Love sounds like nothing else I’ve heard from her (or any other artist for that matter). According to Spotify, it was my most listened to song of 2014, and according to my blog, the song and the album were both my No. 1 picks of that year.

6. ‘Skin’ – Rihanna (2010)

Name a sexier song of this decade—I’ll wait. Rihanna took her provocative nature to new heights with this dark, alluring melody and bold lyrics to match. While definitely one of her most underrated songs of all-time, it’s hands down one of the best (especially if you were around to improvise an accompanying music video with my group of friends).

5. ‘Loyal’ – Chris Brown f./ Lil Wayne + Tyga (2013)

This classic came out at the very end of 2013, but definitely made its mark the following year. Between the video and Nic Nac beats’ music production, this trio of artists nailed it on what became the party anthem of 2014, in an otherwise lackluster year of hip-hop.

(via YouTube)

4. ‘What’s My Name?’ – Rihanna f./ Drake (2010)

Whenever these 2010 songs come up, I get super nostalgic. I literally remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the peak of these tracks. Rihanna’s Loud album was a surefire favorite of that year, and this was without question the best song that came from it. Major fall/winter vibes I will absolutely never forget.

3. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj (2011)

Ah, simpler times. “Super Bass” epitomizes the old-school, inspiring, happy-go-lucky vibe Nicki Minaj’s music brought the world when she first stepped on the scene. Her Pink Friday album felt so pure, and to this day, no “love song” in the hip-hop genre has topped “Super Bass.” Every bit upbeat and sweet, even in my crazy year known as 2011, this song helped keep me sane.

(via YouTube)

2. ‘Ayo’ – Chris Brown f./ Tyga (2015)

This song needs no introduction. If you’ve ever been in an Uber with me, at a house party or in my living room, then you’re no stranger to this Nic Nac beats-produced track. As my most-played song of the whole decade, it absolutely deserves this No. 2 ranking.

1. ‘Teenage Dream’ – Katy Perry (2010)

And now, for the ultimate tearjerker… talk about the good ol’ days! “Teenage Dream” epitomizes carefree bliss and everything light that pop represented early in the decade. It’s easy to forget Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums of all-time, and I think I speak for everyone reading this that no pop song (or Katy Perry song, for that matter) will ever compare to this one.

(via YouTube)

Listen to the entire playlist below (and come back next week for my top 20 honorable mentions of the decade):

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Music

Chris Brown’s New Documentary Answers Every Question About His Rihanna Relationship—Including the Infamous 2009 Incident

June 7, 2017

Photo Credit: @ChrisBrownOfficial Instagram

Chris Brown is a man of few words (at least publicly), so it was incredibly fascinating watching his new documentary, which candidly recounts his many lifetime trials and tribulations.

I attended a VIP screening of Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life last night at Regal Cinemas in Downtown L.A., and was truly blown away.

The controversial hip-hop star goes into detail about everything from hearing his mom get beat every night by her boyfriend when he was a kid, to the volatile drama that transpired with Robin Roberts at GMAto losing ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran by impregnating a brief fling during the one month they split up (a decision he says he wouldn’t change for the world because it gave him his precious baby Royalty, who he proudly said god made just for him).

But by far the most compelling portion of the 95-minute Andrew Sandler-directed film—which features guest commentary from his longtime lawyer Mark Geragos, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Mary J. Blige, DJ Khaled, and a few other music industry influencers—was when he spoke about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Rihanna. You could tell he was a little nervous talking about it, as he fidgeted the entire time with a lighter. But he certainly seemed to speak from the heart and he told their former love story (and its tragic ending) from start to finish.

Photo Credits: @ChrisBrownOfficial Instagram / @BadGalRiri Instagram

Keep reading for everything you’ve ever wondered about their relationship:

1. He Asked Her to Be His Girlfriend After Months of Hanging Out and She Initially Didn’t Take Him Seriously

According to Chris, he and Rihanna first met at an event and he liked her unique voice (speaking voice, that is). They exchanged info after talking a bit, and then as time went on, they started performing at more of the same events and started hanging out one-on-one. After months of kicking it, Chris eventually asked what the deal is between them because they obviously liked each other and he told her he wanted to be her boyfriend. She said she didn’t think he was ready and that’s when he said “I love you.” She laughed, but they ended up getting together.

2. They’d Been Secretly Dating at the Time of Their 2007 VMA Performance and After It Went Smoothly, He Stopped Caring About Keeping Their Relationship a Secret

The then-couple’s 2007 VMA collab was pure fire, and leading up to it, the pair played coy about their eight-month relationship. After its success and the pair’s evident chemistry, Chris thought they were in the perfect place to be a little more open about what was going on. That performance and their dual success, for him, was what pretty much solidified them as a power couple.

3. He Was Ready to Propose

Once their relationship went public, the couple was everywhere and on everyone’s mind. The duo was super smitten and even at their incredibly young age, Chris was ready to marry his love. But he didn’t want to propose without being completely honest with Rihanna about everything.

4. His Decision to Be Honest is What Led to Their Relationship’s Downfall

Chris said when the duo first started dating, Rihanna regularly questioned him about having a history with someone he worked with. He denied they had anything more than a working relationship, but when he realized just how serious he was about the “We Found Love” singer, he decided to come clean and admitted that indeed he had sexual relations with her. Rihanna flipped out, and that’s when their happy-go-lucky relationship turned toxic for good. They were constantly fighting from that point on, but remained together for the time being.

5. Their Infamous 2009 Domestic Dispute Occurred After Rihanna Found a Displeasing Text in Chris’ Phone

On the night of the 2009 Clive Davis Grammy party, Rihanna and Chris (who were still technically together but not on the best of terms) attended, but turmoil ensued when the woman Chris previously slept with showed up at his table to say hi. Rihanna began crying uncontrollably and Chris (who says he had no idea the girl was going to be there, nor did he want her to come up to him) finally calmed her down and the two left in his Lamborghini. The duo was arguing incessantly and Chris swore to her that he wasn’t keeping any secrets. He begged her to go through his phone and sure enough, she came across an unopened text from the girl at the party, indeed telling him she would be there. Rihanna flipped out and the two were going back and forth. It got so intense that he punched her with a closed fist and left her lip bloody—blood that she spit in his face. It didn’t stop there. She grabbed his private parts and he bit her arm. He stopped the car in Hancock Park and she looked like she threw his keys out the door. He went looking for them, and next thing he knew, she was in fact sitting on them. She then grabbed them and started scratching all of his CDs that had his yet-to-be-released music—music he could no longer retrieve because it was before the days of recording music to your phone. She then screamed that someone was trying to kill her and a neighbor heard and called the police. As we know, the rest is history.

6. The Two Had a Prior History of Domestic Abuse Leading Up to the Infamous Night

The Clive Davis night will forever be ingrained in Chris’ (and much of media’s) mind, but the singer admits this wasn’t the first time such a debacle went down. He said that the couple (yes, both of them) got physical often and many times had to make excuses when they were publicly seen with a scratch or bruise.

7. After They Finally Split for Good, He Kept Trying to Call Her and She Eventually Said to Go Away

The pair reunited very briefly (and very publicly) following their initial split, but once it fizzled, he still tried hitting her up to get her back. He admits she finally told him she had a new boyfriend and wanted him to leave her alone. That’s when he met Karrueche, who he dated for a few years before their nasty split. Although he admits he was still in love with Rihanna at the time he started dating his new lady, he does credit K (along with his mom) for getting him through his toughest times.

**For more on this and Chris’ life now as a doting dad, check out Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life in 450+ select theaters nationwide tomorrow, June 8, on a one-day-only release.

Music

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of 2016

December 22, 2016


songs-best-2016
Time to bid adieu to 2016, the year rap and hip-hop officially died.

The genre has been getting increasingly worse over the last few years, but this year really solidified its transition into an auto-tuned genre of its own called hip-pop. Yeah, I hate it. And unlike in 2015, this year we didn’t even have a Nic Nac Beats to swoop in and save the day with his supremely produced Chris Brown tracks. Whether it was rap, pop, electronic or otherwise, there definitely seemed to be more bad than good (in fact, you can check out my worst songs of 2016 list).

But, not all is atrocious. After much thought, I’ve managed to scrounge up a handful of redeeming tracks I genuinely love, and I’m sharing them below (in particular order):

20. “Champions” – Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz

Not a fan of Kanye solo, but I’ve always said that when he collabs, his songs tend to be much better—and this song is no exception. Great track-mates, great hook, great song.

19. “Might Not” – Belly f./The Weeknd

Honestly, this track may have made it higher up on the list if it weren’t for that gawd-awful 2 Chainz remix. Like if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it! Ugh

18. “Into You” – Ariana Grande

This song stands out because it is says OK, I can be sexy and I don’t even have to be trashy to do so! A rarity for this artist. Great track.

17. “Black Beatles” – Rae Sremmurd f./Gucci Mane

Mike WiLL Made-It + Gucci = no-brainer recipe for perfection

16. “Say It (Clean Bandit Mix)” – Flume f./Tove Lo

If you read my Worst Songs of 2016 post, you will see my distaste for nu-school Flume. But this track happens to be great, and might I add that Tove Lo’s Lady Wood album (though this song is not part of it) is the best of the year.

15. “Want You” – Bearson f./Cal

While Bearson definitely identifies with “electronica,” he hasn’t nailed a signature sound, which is great, because I love all of the varying tracks he sends (via airwaves) my way—and this song is no exception.

14. “Either/Or” – Mt. Si

If you dig Classix, you’ll love Mt. Si.—which makes sense, given that 1/3 of this trio is Michael David of the incredible electropop duo. Seriously, it does not get better than this sound.

13. “The Winds of Change” – St. Lucia

Granted, nothing by this artist compares to “Elevate,” but this jam is pretty darn awesome. If you like that sound, you’ll love this, too!

12. “Valley of Dreams” – Cavaliers of Fun

See No. 4

11. “Be the One” – Dua Lupa

Dua Lupa has a beautiful voice/face/hair/sound etc. That is all.

10. “Freeway Lights” – Goldroom

I’ve been listening to Goldroom since he first debuted in 2012—and while it was definitely weird (and a little hard) to see his album featured at the Interscope pop-up shop at Hollywood & Highland alongside Lady Gaga, among others, I refuse to call him a sellout, because while perhaps slightly more produced than before, his sound is overall the same, and this a very light, sweet track that should appeal to everyone.

9. “Bullet” – Chelsea Lankes

How this girl is not a household name is beyond me. Each of her songs are well-produced, well-articulated and relate to everyone. This track is super uplifting and empowering.

8. “Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake f./Justin Bieber

Personal woes aside, Justin Bieber is an incredible artist. Granted, this track goes to DJ Snake, but Bieber’s vocals are definitely an invaluable asset to this recording. This is a genuinely wonderful song from start to finish. It’s pretty, powerful and poignant.

7. “Innerbloom” – RUFUS DU SOL

This is your universally appealing track. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

6. “Into the Night” – Cardiknox

This track is fun and light. Do NYE makeup in your mirror to this! It will get you pumped up–promise!

5. “Goin Up” – Deorro f./DyCy

Let’s be honest—when we think of Deorro, we think “Five More Hours,” right? Welp, he’s got a catchy new little jam called “Goin Up,” and (no pun intended), it’s quite uplifting.

4. “Astral Division” – Cavaliers of Fun

Like their name suggests, these guys (guy?) are quite fun — well, at least judging by their music. Granted, I don’t know what this song means and I don’t know anything about the people (person?) on the track. They’ve done quite the job of maintaining a mysterious presence (we’re talkin’ 249 Twitter followers, folks!), but that’s what makes them all the more fun! Anyway, they are the only act to make this list twice (see No. 12), and I really hope to hear more (maybe learn more?) of them in 2017!

3. “Somebody Else” – The 1975

How this song wasn’t nominated for a Grammy is beyond me. Not only are the lyrics hard-hitting, but the melody is exceptionally beautiful. I will forever stay stumped while blasting on repeat.

2. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

I believe Rihanna was still dating Chris Brown when this song was in production, so it’s your guess as to whether or not he is the subject matter of this incredibly powerful song. But the highly underrated track allows you to feel both her desire and pain.

1. “In the Morning” – Kaskade/ZHU

I love this song from start to finish. I don’t think I’d ever get sick of it. It’s so reminiscent of old-school Kaskade, circa 2004. If all songs were like this, the world would be a much happier place.

**To note: “The Middle” by DJ Snake technically came out last year, so it was no. 3 on last year’s list, even though it didn’t break out until 2016. I feel the need to acknowledge that so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle 😉

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Beauty Music

Still Having Coachella 2016 Withdrawals? Revisit Weekend One Once More With Pics & Details from Skyelyfe’s Favorite Parties!

April 20, 2016
Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Between the heat, the tedious driving and the endless flow of activity, Coachella is guaranteed to wear a person out. But we wouldn’t have it any other way, right?

Whether it’s running into an old high school pal in the Ferris Wheel line at Neon Carnival or dancing to your favorite musical acts with your festival crew at the Empire Polo Fields, there’s never any shortage of excitement during weekend one of the 3-4 day music celebration.

Although I still feel slightly (understatement) sleep deprived with barely a single clean, wearable clothing article to my name, I had such a blast this past weekend being in the mix of some of the desert’s best bashes and liveliest crowds. Although frolicking around the festival was indeed amazing (check out my Coachella 2016 playlist here!), I certainly put a solid amount of time into the parties. Scroll below for details and photos from some of the hottest (literally and figuratively) events that accompanied the festival during weekend one!

The Music Lounge Presented by Las Vegas and #WHHSH

Guests were given the ultimate Las Vegas-like experience by way of Palm Springs in the company of G-Eazy, DNCE, Balthazar Getty and DJ Equal, who each took a hand behind the turntables over the course of the two-day event. Celebrity guests, which also included Kat Graham, Kellan Lutz and Amber Rose, swooped up a generous selection of swag, including colorful kicks by Diadora (my new purple ones are so much fun!) and matching men’s sock and underwear sets from Related GarmentsARIA Resort & Casino‘s mixologist was also on hand to provide specialty #WHHSH beer cocktails.

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Photo credit: Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Kendallbrent, Inc

Neon Carnival

In typical yearly fashion, Neon Carnival was the most packed party of this weekend. A slew of celebrities and tastemakers came out in droves to the coveted nighttime event, presented by Re/Done Levi’s and hosted by Tequila Don Julio. Guests at the hotly hyped bash – which included Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Jared Leto, Joe Jonas, Scott Eastwood, The Weeknd, Derek Hough, Aaron Paul and Brody Jenner, to name a few – hopped on a variety of theme park rides, won game prizes and took in the sounds of DJ Rukus, DJ Politik and DJ Equal, while partying until 5:00 a.m.!

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES FOR NEON CARNIVAL

REVOLVE Desert House

There was no lack of pretty faces and swag-filled bags at Revolve clothing’s picturesque desert house, which had been the home to Lacoste‘s former years-long Coachella celebration. Joico was on hand to spray guests’ hair with its popular new temporary Insta Tint colors; Ciroc and Baileys made sure no hand was left empty in the scorching sun, while Bai provided vodka mixers; ColourPop cosmetics provided a slew of colorful take home “lippie sticks” (my favorite snag of the day!); and Cult Gaia provided gorgeous custom flower crowns for the stylish soiree, which hosted Shay Mitchell, Emma Roberts, Alessandra Ambrosio, Warren G. and A$AP Rocky, Peyton List and Zoe Kravitz, among other bold-faced names.

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Revolve_Peyton_List_skyelyfe

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Revolve_tents_skyelyfe

Photo credit: Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for A-OK Collective, LLC

Calvin Klein‘s packed CK Desert Sessions on Friday night was another fun hit of the weekend. Held in the middle of a Cathedral City strip mall warehouse, the celeb-heavy, beer-filled fete featured a set by Alesso, among other DJs. Meanwhile, one of Saturday afternoon’s biggest musts included Bootsy Bellows‘ Pool Party Presented by McDonalds, where Kendall and Kylie Jenner and their hot Hollywood crew (Hailey Baldwin, Bella Hadid, The Weeknd, Cody Simpson and even the sisters’ step bro Brody) were all in tow, where some of them munched on bites from the Mickey D’s food truck while lounging around. The lady Jenners and their party posse didn’t skip a beat all weekend. A day earlier, the gang made their way to the 1OAK and Up&Down-hosted pop-up event that included a DJ set by the Pizza Boys and an impromptu performance by Post Malone. Kendall and her friends passed out pizzas on the dance floor, while guests also munched on tacos, sipped on Budweiser and swooped up sunnies from Smoke x Mirrors and clothing from Aussie brand nANA jUDY.

Photo credit: Rick Williams

Photo credit: Rick Williams

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Music

Casper Smart’s Music Video Love Interest Haifa Wehbe Talks ‘Enjoyable’ Experience Working with J.Lo’s Man

July 14, 2015

HaifaLebanese pop star Haifa Wehbe has some interesting ties to Jennifer Lopez. For starters, she had the pleasure of featuring Lopez’s boyfriend Casper Smart as her love interest in her music video for “Breathing You In” (scroll to bottom). Additionally, Wehbe – who is in her early forties – says she’s “often compared to” the American Idol judge, with journalists even referring to her as “the Jennifer Lopez of the Middle East.”

Skyelyfe caught up with the singing sensation, who dished on everything from the Middle East’s pop music scene, to favorite L.A. hotspots when she comes to town. And of course, it was necessary that she shared her “enjoyable” experience teaming up with Smart.

Get to know Wehbe below:

skyelyfe: What is the electronic and pop music scene like in the Middle East? And the music scene in general? What is most popular? Which American artists are big out there?

Haifa Wehbe: The music scene in the Middle East is very diverse. From hip-hop, to pop, to electro, to rock, both local and international artists have big fan bases in the Middle East. The electronic and pop scenes are continuing to grow in the Middle East. I am proud of the accomplishments of other Middle Eastern pop artists, including Ahlam and Wael Kfoury. American artists who are big in the Middle East include Snoop Dogg, Akon, Nicki Minaj and Pitbull.

SL: Who are some American artists you personally enjoy listening to? (It doesn’t matter if they are popular or not)

HW: I really enjoy listening to Rihanna, and my favorite songs of hers are “Diamonds,” “We Found Love” and “Only Girl (In The World).” I also like Britney Spears (“Womanizer,” “Gimme More” and “Till The World Ends”) and Chris Brown (“Run It,” “Look At Me Now” and “Turn Up The Music.”)

SL: How did you end up working with Casper and what was that experience like?

HW: I was actually introduced to Casper through my record label, World Music. The label’s co-CEOs, Tarik Freitekh and Mostafa Sorour were already friends with Casper and they thought it would be a good idea to have him in the music video. When we were introduced we immediately found common ground which made the process of working together on the music video for “Breathing You In” so enjoyable.

SL: What are your thoughts on Los Angeles and what are some of your favorite places to eat/drink/shop in this city?

HW: I love, love, love Los Angeles – what an amazing city. When I visit Los Angeles I stay at my favorite hotel, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I have been staying at that hotel for so many years and it is centrally located to my two favorite shopping areas: Rodeo Drive and Melrose. When I am in town for longer stays I actually travel to Newport Beach to visit with friends and, of course, shop at Fashion Island. My favorite restaurants in Los Angeles are Mastros and Nobu in Malibu.

SL: Where in the Middle East do you live?

HW: I live in Beruit, Lebanon. It is an exciting cosmopolitan city often referred to as “the Paris of the East.” It is a “high energy” coastal city with amazing restaurants, art galleries, museums and shops – it is actually a very popular tourist destination.

SL: How did you first get into performing?

HW: When I was very young, I knew that when I got older that I wanted to be an entertainer – I had a real passion for singing and acting. I first got started by modeling, which gave me great exposure. From modeling I was able to springboard into singing with the initial release of three singles (I have since released eight albums total). I then branched out into acting having been in four very successful feature length motion pictures including Halawet al-Rooh.

SL: What is the story behind “Breathing You In” and how did the song come to be?

HW: I knew that I wanted to release an English-language song that had meaning – that reflected something deeper about how I live my life. The song is an anthem for how to manage day-to-day challenges. By breathing in and breathing out, you can instantly find peace and create a permanent sense of calm. The lyrics reflect my personal philosophy about dealing with difficult times  – breathing, for me, is about finding my center, my balance.

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