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Anitta on Her Love for Arab Music: “I Grew Up Listening to Amr Diab”

 Photo: Ivan Erick. Vogue Arabia, December 2023

If Anitta‘s love for the region wasn’t evident before, the global superstar made it well-known in the latest issue of Vogue Arabia. As the reigning queen of Latin music stars on one of our December 2023 covers, she opens up about everything from the Middle East that holds a special place in her heart. Most of all is music by Amr Diab, the Egyptian singer, who in his own right has captivated listeners all around the world. In our Music Issue cover story, the Brazilian star reveals that her love for Diab’s work dates back to her childhood. “I am familiar with a lot of Arab singers but there is one in particular that I grew up listening to: Amr Diab,” says Anitta. “I like his songs; I have known many of them since I was a kid.”

Anitta’s fondness for Arab talent and creativity also includes the fashion designers she has worked with over the years: “I work with Mônot and Eli Mizrahi and then obviously Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad, who has always dressed me. He has made a bunch of amazing things for me to wear; I love his work.” She adds, “Eli is very modern; his ideas are always new, unexpected. On the other hand, I love Zuhair Murad’s details. When you wear it, you feel like you are a piece of jewelry. Additionally, I believe Azzedine Alaïa is a classic.”

When it comes to the region’s food and sights, Anitta’s first-hand experience with the culture has only made her want to come back for more. “I have been to Dubai. I went to Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world! My ears certainly felt the pressure. The experience was crazy,” she remembers. “I did not get the chance to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi though. I wanted to go but I did not have time [during that trip].” She also recalls coming together to enjoy a shared meal during the Holy Month of Ramadan during her visit. “It was Ramadan when I went. So, when it was 6PM, everybody had food together in what felt like a spiritual celebratory ceremony,” she says. “It was a great experience. I love religions. I enjoy learning about them – the rituals, the celebrations, the practices, the holidays. So, it was special for me to observe.”

As for her favorite dishes from Middle Eastern cuisine? “I got to try kafta, hummus, and shawarma. Shawarma in particular with the meats and salads – the mix of different ingredients and how it was prepared; it was so good. I absolutely loved it,” she says. “I want to go to Qatar for sure and I want to visit AlUla in Saudi Arabia. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I am going there at some point. One of my best friends and I have a bucket list and AlUla is on top of it.”

Read Next: Global Superstar Anitta on Her Mission to Celebrate Brazilian Funk, and Women’s Quest for Freedom

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