A vocalist whose music is a potent mixture of East (traditional Middle Eastern accents) and West (R&B and hip-hop song structures), Massari is a Lebanese-born singer who developed an international following after he and his family relocated to Canada.
Massari was born Sari Abboud in Beirut on December 10, 1980. As Sari was growing up, Lebanon became mired in Civil War, and when he was ten, his family emigrated to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. When he was 13, the family moved to Ottawa, Ontario, where Sari performed for an audience for the first time at a talent show. In 2001, Sari decided to become a professional entertainer, adopting the stage name Massari, which means "money" in Lebanese. In 2002, he released his first single, "Spitfire," which gained radio airplay in Ottawa and the surrounding area. In 2005, he released his first full-length album, a self-titled effort distributed by the Canadian label Capital Prophet
. Featuring guest appearances from rappers Belly
and Loon, the album was a commercial success, going gold in Canada and charting in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The relationship between Massari and his record label became contentious, and in 2007, he and Capital Prophet
announced they had severed their relationship. Massari signed with Universal, and released his second full-length album, Forever Massari, in 2009. However, Massari's relationship with Universal
proved to be short lived, and in 2011, he signed a new deal with Capital Prophet
, and released the single "Dance for Your Life." Two hit singles followed, 2012's "Brand New Day" and 2013's "Shisha" (the latter featuring French Montana
), both of which went gold in Canada. Over the next few years, Massari devoted himself to live work, both in Canada and around the world, as he made plans for his next album. In March 2017, he dropped two singles, "So Long" and "Done Da Da," ahead of his third album, Beirut. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi