Elissa (Arabic: إليسا) was born in Deir Al-Amar, Lebanon and raised amidst the spectacular natural scenery of the Bekaa Valley. She holds a degree in Political Science from the Lebanese University. Her first forays into art and artistic activities consisted of acting in theaters of political critique, namely with well-known chansonnier Wassim Tabbara, and the Theatre de 10 Heures. This was the first time she came in contact with an audience, whose overwhelming warmth and energy she immediately took a shining to.
Her theatrical beginnings motivated her to move to singing. In 1992, she appeared on LBC's Studio Al Fan talent show. Elissa won a silver medal over the course of her stay on the program. Following this, she performed in concert tirelessly until 1999, when Lido Productions released her first album, Baddy Doub. Elissa's debut on the commercial music scene was definitely an event of considerable importance.
The album was a success and featured a smash hit with famous French gypsy act, Gerard Ferrer. The release of this first album took her straight to Cannes, to participate in the International Music Festival of 2000. Following this first success, Elissa then released her second album, W'akherta Ma'ak which in turn included the hit duet Betghib Betrouh, sung with Lebanese superstar Ragheb Alameh. It was a massive hit, and is still played on radio and TV today, over three years after its initial release. Elissa's album, Ayshalak, has been the number one selling album in the Middle East since its release in June 2002.
For this album, Elissa took advantage of the high momentum of her previous two albums, and managed to reach an even higher level of stardom. The video clip of the album's hit single, also entitled Ayshalak, was filmed in Paris with acclaimed French director Fabrice Begotti. Elissa was officially dressed and made up by Christian Dior Paris for the entire duration of the shoot. This was the first time the illustrious French designer collaborated with an Arab artist. 2002 brought Elissa more consecration with the winning of the Murex d'Or award for best female artist.
Hot on the heels of the outstanding Ayshalak, Elissa shook the music scene further by teaming up with world-famous Irish singer Chris De Burgh. Needless to say, the collaboration of these two talents resulted in the historic duet Lebanese Night, which is featured on De Burgh's 2002 album, Timing is Everything. To crown the year, Elissa was included in the 100 Pioneers of Lebanon anthology book, alongside artists such as Fairuz, Wadih al-Safi, and other personalities who have left their mark on the Lebanese cultural, political and social landscape.
Elissa’s fourth album, Ahla Donya was released in 2004. This was one of the fastest selling albums ever in the Arab world. The album included a variety of songs, such as Kol Youm Fi Omri, Erga' Lel Shou', Hobbak Waja' (Inta Lamin) and Ahla Dounya. The album received a 2005 World Music Award for best selling album in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2005, a Special Collector's Edition of the record was made available (1000 copies) with state-of-the-art packaging including a mini-biography.
In early 2006, Elissa released her fifth studio effort, the album Bastanak, which has sold nearly 3.7 million copies, according to Rotana. In 2006 Elissa again won the World Music Award for best selling Middle Eastern artist for Bastanak.
In December 2007, Elissa released her sixth studio album, Ayami Bik, which achieved a remarkable success in the Middle East and spawned the hit Betmoun.
In December 2009, Elissa released her seventh studio album, Tisada' Bimin. The song Aa Bali Habibi is gaining wide success, especially in Lebanon. The first single is the title track Tisada' Bimin.