Arts, Culture & Media

How a Lebanese singer got a Hollywood gig singing 'White Rabbit' in 'American Hustle'

Mayssa.jpg

Mayssa Karaa at the premiere of "American Hustle."

Credit:

courtesy of Mayssa Karaa

If you've been checking out some of the higher-profile Oscar nominees, you might have come across an Arabic-language version of "White Rabbit."

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That's the 1967 tune originally by The Jefferson Airplane.

It comes up in the film "American Hustle," that scene where we're introduced to a fake Arab sheikh.

The version of the song is performed by a young Lebanese singer named Mayssa Karaa.

Now Karaa won't be in Los Angeles to attend the Oscars, but she is psyched about all the nominations the movie has received. And she was honored to have been a part of it.

And just how did Mayssa Karaa get the gig?

Well it started with a phone call from Dawn Elder, a music and PR manager based in LA.

Elder first heard about Mayssa Karaa through Simon Shaheen, a Palastinian oud and violin player. Karaa and Shaheen had toured the US together.

Dawn Elder called Karaa and asked her to audition for the song. But Karaa was in Lebanon and didn't have access to any instruments or a studio.

So, she recorded it on her iPhone and sent it to Dawn Elder.

That was enough for Mayssa Karaa to be hired.