Naima Shalhoub

Naima and I are long time friends and we love sailing together on the Bay. When we're lucky, she sings at our Apres-Sailing parties.

Naima is not only stunning, fierce, and fiery, but is also a crazy talented musician. She stands up for what she believes in and fights for social justice.


What is your everyday magic?
I don't think we can have magic if there isn't a surrendering of control, whether conscious or unconscious. Magic happens when it's unexpected. If it's expected it's not magic, it's expectation. Even though we may expect the sunrise or sunset and have seen glorious colors emerge before, there is something awe inspiring about experiencing things as if it's for the first time. And in that there is a realization that everything is unique to the moment. Magic is in the perception of it, the ability to experience it. Things are magical when we accept mystery as a part of life. The way I'm able to surrender is through faith that I'm held by the great Creator. And I trust in that. Others have other ways they surrender. It's a daily, momentary practice and I often forget. But the beautiful thing is that there is grace that meets me again and again. And in that there is magic in itself.

What strategy and tactics to you utilize to live your best life?

  • Find out what scares me
  • Decipher whether this is a legitimate fear (I.e. Will I be eaten by a lion if I reach out my hand to pet one, or some other carnal fear that is useful). If it is not a legitimate fear, it could be a growth opportunity parading around as fear. Or parading around as shame. If I'm still having trouble deciphering, I have a dream session where fear isn't invited, to explore what exactly I'm trying to envision. I call on support of trusted advisors/friends if I'm stuck, they're amazing. Wouldn't know where I'd be without trusted council. Oh, and I always pray for clarity. Prayer and solitude are crucial.
  • Once I have a clear vision, I take steps toward it.
  • See #3
  • If there is more fear, see #2 and do #3 anyway.
  • I laugh at myself when I can. Crying helps too. It's all the same.

What are your top 3 tips for success?
First of all being aware of the various definitions I have of what success is. Then sniff out the definitions that I was conditioned to carry but no longer serve me.

What one book do you want to give everyone you know because you believe it has the power to change lives?
Total Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti

About Naima
Naima Shalhoub is a Lebanese American artist who uses music as a tool for transformation, liberation, education and self-expression. Her dimensional work as a vocalist, composer, performing artist, and educator focuses on the expansive quality of the voice and its power for redemption and social justice. 

In addition to appearing regularly with her band, Naima is currently teaching, composing, and serving as a Restorative Justice Coordinator for youth in the Oakland public school system. At the same time she continues to work on her project “Borderlands”: an expansion on her work in the San Francisco County Jail. Borderlands facilitates music sessions that are simultaneously expressive and educational, and ultimately connect with the larger movement of transformative justice on a local and an international scale.

Singer Naima Shalhoub leads weekly music sessions with incarcerated women at a San Francisco County Jail. On May 5, she recorded her debut album Borderlands live at the jail. AJ+'s Dena Takruri caught up with Shalhoub to find out what the music means to the women and what insights she's gained about the prison industrial complex in the U.S.