Name: Linda George
Hometown: Baghdad, Iraq
When did you know you wanted to be a singer? Never. I really never thought that this would have been my career. However, God blessed me with this voice and guided me through this path.
Can you share one childhood memory with us? When I was six years old, my childhood priest, Qasha (Priest) Yonan, took me to visit the late Mar Yosip to chant a church hymn to him. It was a hot summer day and the journey seemed long for a six-year-old, so at the end of the trip I asked Qasha Yonan if he could buy me an ice cream cone.
Describe yourself in three words: Focused; Assertive; Loyal
Who are some of your favorite musicians or singers? Sargon Gabriel, Shamiran, Evin Agassi, Ashur Bet Sargis, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Andrea Buccelli, Fayrouz, Umm Kulthum and Googoosh
If you could have a duet with any singer in the world, living or dead, who would it be? Andrea Bucceli, his voice is so godly and close to heaven.
What type of songs do you enjoy singing? Church hymns, love ballads, or dance songs? Church hymns
What is your favorite church hymn to sing, if you had to choose one? Immar Le Eta (Tell Me O Church)
You said once that Germany is one of your favorite places to travel to, is this still true? Yes, it will always be, after my motherland of course.
You have traveled a lot during your career. Do you have an idea of how many airplane miles you have flown? Nearly 3,000,000 miles.
What is your favorite airline to fly? United Airlines
What's the first thing you do when you wake up? Thank the Lord that I am able to open my eyes yet another day.
How does the situation facing Assyrians in the Middle East make you feel? Disappointed, we are the indigenous people yet we have no rights to even one square foot of the land. It is very unfortunate.
What is the solution to the crisis facing our people in the Middle East, in your opinion? Get a safe haven, for the future of our children. Somewhere safe and promising.
Which of your songs is your favorite and why? Khoot Golpaneh d’Malakha (Under the Wings of an Angel). It was one of my favorite compositions that is near to God.
Can we expect any new music or music videos soon? Yes, I am always producing new ideas when I am on the go. I have to do it for my fans, so be on the look out for some surprises!
What is one word of advice you would like to give young musicians? To all the young musicians, work hard on yourself and remain original. Follow the straight path.
What do you think is the future of Assyrian music? Social media did not create the legacy of our legends: Biba, Jermaine, Shamiran, Evin Agassi, Sargon Gabriel, Ashur Bet Sargis and Walter Aziz. It was originality, hard work, dedication, and support. If we support each other as we did in the 80s, Assyrian music will continue to live on.
Why is singing in Assyrian important to you? It is the only bridge between the past and the future.
What are the unique obstacles you faced or currently face as an Assyrian singer? We as Assyrians do not have a record label. Therefore, we are easily criticized by our video/audio productions when compared to multi-million dollar productions. A record label is really needed.
What has made you stay true to singing in Assyrian when it may have been profitable to sing in Arabic or English instead? Assyrian is my mother tongue. Don’t get me wrong, I have produced songs in Arabic and English, however my roots are Assyrian and I will continue to embrace that, especially in the church.
What is the toughest thing about being an Assyrian singer? Being a female singer for over three decades. I will leave it at that.
A video circulated some time ago of a female Turkish artist singing one of your songs. What are your thoughts about this? Everyone thought it was a folklore song, however, the melody is actually my very own composition. I am very proud that my music is being circulated to other nationalities, but mostly I am honored that my mother tongue is being welcomed by people around the world.
Do you have a favorite word in Assyrian? What is it? Shlama (Peace)
Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years? In five years I see myself still composing more hits, but God willing in 10 years, I see myself producing for others.
Any final words? I pray and ask all of you to continue to pray and hayir (aid) our beloved back home in the Middle East.
Portions of this interview have been edited.