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The New Crop of Arab Female Singers You Should Be Listening To

By now, all of us are familiar with Nancy Ajram, Myriam Fares, and Elissa, but what about the new crop of female Arab singers dominating Spotify playlists? Read on for the five emerging Arab artists waiting to be heard.

Lolo Zouaï
Background: Algerian and French
We’re listening to: Desert Rose, Brooklyn Love, High Highs to Low Lows

Zouaï’s (pronounced “zoo-eye”) breakout moment was when she met producer Stelios and dropped “High Highs to Low Lows” in 2017. The 23-year-old was born in France to a French mother and an Algerian father and relocated to San Francisco with her family when she was three months old. She discovered her passion for singing at the age of 6, by practicing Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera songs she’d heard on the radio. Today, the singer is currently working on her debut EP, while in the midst of a whirlwind North American tour.

Background: Moroccan
We’re listening to: Rich Girl Mood, Casablanca, Darija Freestyle

Dounia Tazi is a singer born in Morocco. The 21-year-old artist, who initially gained recognition for her body-positive posts on Instagram before launching her musical career in 2017, has so far collaborated with artists like Kehlani, toured with Christine and the Queens, and launchd her second EP, Avante Garden Vol. 1 in November. Residing in Queens, New York, the singer’s Moroccan heritage strongly influences her music and look (she wore a kaftan to the 2018 VMA’s) and is present in the instrumentals of her songs.

Ghaliaa Chaker
Background: Syrian
We’re listening to: Why, Praying/Je Prie

Ghaliaa Chaker didn’t always have the courage to sing. The 20-year-old Syrian artist’s newfound confidence has only recently allowed her to perform the Arabic and English songs she’s penned over the last five years, and subsequently thrust her into the spotlight. Her debut single Why came in August, after almost a decade of playing the piano and guitar. Based in Al Ain, she began performing in talent shows across the emirate before relocating to Dubai to further pursue her musical passion.

Background: Algerian and French
We’re listening to: Mela, Orion, Lil Bit

The Tokyo-born, Paris-based musician formerly known as Ta-Ha released her debut EP Tuareg Shawty (a nod to her Algerian roots) in 2014. Since then, the artist has gone on to garner a loyal checklist of fans, performed with UK grime artist Skepta at London’s V&A museum, and even managed to get a Drake co-sign (the 26-year-old’s R&B has had plays on on OVO Sound Radio)— not bad for an underground artist.

Background: Iraqi and Syrian
We’re listening to: I’m Good, 83 Days

Residing in Australia, Wafia is an up-and-coming Syrian-Iraqi singer who is known for her blissful vocals. The 25-year-old, who was born in the Netherlands, first began writing songs as a way to escape the monotony of the biomedicine degree she was pursuing at university. This resulted in her first major hit, “Let Me Love You”, which culminated into three EP’s and a coveted spot on one of the most acclaimed music festivals: Coachella.

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