Jara, rapper hailing from Saudi
Major music streaming platform Spotify announced the launch of Sawtik; an initiative supporting emerging female artists from the Arab world. Not only does Sawtik help artists broaden their reach but also commissioned superstar Latifa to mentor the MENA-based musicians and vocalists.
The initiative came to be after the streaming giant conducted data analysis, which showed that Arab female artists across the MENA region’s music scene are heavily underrepresented. The word Sawtik translates to “your voice” in Arabic, and the platform is looking to provide the emerging Arab female talent with networking opportunities, education and marketing support in a bid to encourage them to become successful in their musical careers.
Currently there are 16 artists who are part of the Sawtik including UAE artists, Almas, as well as others from across the region including countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and are under the mentorship and guidance of Latifa who will help them build their presence.
Speaking about her partnership with Spotify and Sawtik, Latifa said, “Female Arab artists continue to fight stereotypes and other barriers in the pursuit of their musical passions, and the research from Spotify confirms this.”
“My journey hasn’t happened without its challenges and while I enjoy a successful career, there are many others still waiting for the right opportunity to shine. With Sawtik, female artists have a powerful platform to showcase their talent and connect with audiences who will love their music across all genres. I am excited to extend my support to these artists and help them see a real lift in their careers,” she added.
Spotify’s teams researched the challenges that female musicians within the MENA region were facing, and their results showed that only 13% of artists signed to Middle East labels and platforms are female. Their research also found that Arab women face a particular stigma when they choose to pursue a career in music and are often advised against doing so and moreover, many of them had never recorded their music which meant that the only exposure they have had has been via live performances. Users of the music streaming service Spotify were also interviewed as part of the research and it was found that many of them said that they do not listen to or have not heard of any female artists from the region and that they found the Middle Eastern music industry very male dominated.
Claudius Boller, Managing Director for MENA at Spotify spoke about the initiative and said, “While Arabic music continues to thrive in the region and around the world, female artists continue to be underrepresented. Sawtik is one of the many ways we are looking to amplify the voices of emerging female artists across the Middle East and North Africa and use Spotify’s global reach to further their careers. We are only beginning this journey, and with Latifa joining Sawtik as the initiative’s first godmother, the artists will have an extraordinary mentor who will provide guidance and knowledge.”