The music world is one that has the ability to spread its popularity of different genres in a heartbeat. Thanks to social media, there is no dearth in the birth of raw talent and bold originality. Yet, it is only the most influential that blaze their own trail across and leave an indelible mark in the landscape.
Our featured artist on these pages is not here just because she is fabulous in her respective genre. It is also not only because she was the first of its kind on the shores of U.A.E to do what she did. It is also not only because she brought her respective craft from the peripheral to the mainstream. She significantly and irrevocably reshaped the landscape of which you and I are a part.
To state she is an ‘all-rounder’ donning several hats will be an understatement. Picture this – an author, singer, songwriter – whose proclivity for words encapsulates many, most importantly, a philanthropist inspiring millions! She is Benedetta Paravia, popularly also known as ‘Princess Bee’, whose work speaks volumes. Having established her mark on the shores of U.A.E, here is an individual that tries to keep herself ahead of the curve. Here is a snippet of our tête-à-tête with Benedetta, the Queen of Hearts.
1.You have paid your obeisance to this country in more ways than one and have been recognized for the same. Tell us about your next gift to the country.
Benedetta: My 2022 gift is the song “Only Dubai”, written with Sheikha Al Anoud al Remeithi, mother of Sheikh Sultan bin Falah bin Zayed al Nahyan with the arrangements of the Armenian-Lebanese musician, Guy Manoukian. It’s a song we wrote 15 years ago and the demo was uploaded on an old platform called “My Space”. One day Fazza rang us to compliment us for the song! I was happy and I felt appreciated. Then My Space crashed and I lost the demo. It was only in 2021, I managed to find it on an old computer and I felt it was the right moment to refresh and release it. I met Guy Manoukian at the Dubai World Cup 2021 and I have asked him to arrange it… and here we are today, with a song distributed by Sony, thank to Stardust Records. Sheikha Al Anoud is like my sister and we share 20 years of friendship already, she is the “Umm Sultan” I speak about in the song. “Umm Sultan” is a young woman, like the city of Dubai, “my habeebty”.
2.“Hi Emirates” has been a tremendous success. Are you replicating a similar venture into Saudi Arabia?
My cross-media series was born as a student’s project with Zayed University, which soon gained international media interest. We have explained to many people in Europe how determined, successful and valued are the women in the UAE. There is still lots of ignorance around the world and with this series we teach the truth of the women’s community here. As every media has written about me, I am happy to have received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia, as they want me to do what I did for the UAE! It’s a great honour and a big business opportunity, but of course my heart will remain here, in my beloved UAE.
3.As a driven woman with so much up your sleeves, what keeps you yearning for more?
I am blessed with a shining soul, so I wake up every day very motivated and determined. First thing I do: I salute the sun and thank God. I welcome the new days, believing they are better than the ones gone. I always believe that tomorrow will be better than today. This is my personality. I am ambitious and driven. But I also enjoy the ride to my achievements and I enjoy the moment and the now.
4.Tell us about your philanthropic activities? How and when did it start?
I was always generous since my childhood; I helped my friends in need or I was protecting the weakest and I was brave and quite violent with the abusers. In 2008 with my family and H.R.H. Princess Al Johara al Sauod founded ANGELS Charity not for profit, since then we saved many children from death by offering them heart surgery or liver transplant in Italy. Most of the children we care for have cancer. I feel very much protected by the Cosmo power since I have saved those children. Most of them are today on Instagram and we follow each other.
5.What is the most fulfilling facet of being a cultural bridge between Italy and UAE?
Giving opportunities to the youngsters. I have always been happy to see a smile, a surprise on the face of a student when running “The Intercultural Project”. With this project I invite Emirati students to join Italy and to discover its UNESCO sites, the prominent museums, the culture, the food and the language. In the South of Italy, we have a lot in common with Arabs… for the rest many Italians are jealous of my relation with the UAE or they don’t consider me as purely Italian. On the other hand I cannot be considered an Emirati but I spent exactly half of my life here. So, I define myself as “Italian with an Emirati twist”. I have recently received a recommendation letter for the Golden Visa by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth and I can’t wait to apply for it.
6.The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting a variety of different individuals to participate. Having cultivated an impressive following and presence in the media, how have you managed this aspect?
I gain strong attention from the media because I have been always honest with myself since the beginning of my multiple careers. Media helped me to prove my credibility in many fields and to have evidence of everything I accomplished. On the contrary, I was not enthusiastic initially with social media but now I see how many people wish to be virtually close to me and how many are interested in what I do and some of them get truly inspired by my daily motivation and spontaneity.
7.New Year …New Tidings…and notably also your birth month. What are some of the goals you have set for yourself in 2022, personally and professionally?
Personally, I think I will get married again and this time I will try to plan for a child. I love my freedom that I have always escaped the responsibility to be a mother. I will be in Italy with my boyfriend for the New Year and I will spend my birthday with my beloved friends in the UAE. I wish every Dubai lover will listen to my song “Only Dubai” and I can’t wait to visit Saudi and start with the production of Hi Saudi, to continue to be the advocate of Arab culture abroad and of Italian culture in the Middle East.