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Rising Voices: Arab Women Musicians Transforming Middle Eastern Music

Female Arab artists, historically confronting cultural resistance, now use platforms like Instagram to navigate societal judgments. Social media boosts the representation of female Arab artists, especially in alternative music. Spotify's 2020 initiative, Sawtik, supports education, networking, and marketing for these musicians. Here are artists revolutionizing the Middle East's musical narrative across genres.

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Tamtam faced concerns over potential backlash as a female Arab singer but pursued her passion despite societal expectations. Moving to Los Angeles before Saudi Arabia's music industry developed, she overcame internal challenges about gender roles. Tamtam's music blends alternative pop and R&B with Arabic influence, reflecting her journey. Currently crafting a full album, she aspires to embark on a global tour.

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Nouf Sufyani aka Cosmicat

Saudi Arabia's first female DJ, originally a dentist, embraced her musical passion, connecting with the local electronic music scene in 2016. Despite limited opportunities, she boldly left her dental career for DJing. Performing at notable festivals, she proudly represents Saudi Arabia.

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Synthpop artist Nour, studying fashion design in Cairo, found breaking into the industry as a woman daunting. Despite challenges and isolation, she started her music career in 2021 with "Purple Heart." Lacking robust support, she persevered, achieving success. Her latest single, "Wana," explores grief, seeking reassurance in shared pain.

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Growing up in the UAE, Almas drew inspiration from Khor Fakkan's beach and mountains. Despite university studies, including musical theater, she dropped out to focus on her career. Initially singing Khaleeji pop and Iraqi songs, she later explored rap, experimenting with new sounds and beats. An Expo 2020 opening ceremony performer, she considers it a significant achievement aligning with her ambition.

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Despite a fine arts degree, Qatari singer Aisha hadn't initially considered a singing career. Qatari composer Dana Al Fardan approached her after discovering a video on Instagram, leading to significant milestones like contributing to the Fifa World Cup 2022 official soundtrack, "Hayya Hayya," and performing at the World Cup final. Despite personal challenges, Aisha is making a powerful comeback, releasing music internationally and working on exciting new projects.

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Zein Sajdi aka Zeyne

With a passion for music nurtured through piano and singing lessons, Zeyne created cover songs during the pandemic in Amman. Meeting producer Nasir Al Bashir led to her first original track, "Minni Ana," and other hits. Currently, she's working on her EP and planning a mini tour across regional cities.

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Manal Benchlikha

"As a female artist, earning respect often demands extra effort," says Benchlikha, the first Moroccan signed by Sony Middle East. Achievements include being the first Arab in Colors studio, contributing to Fifa World Cup 2022 songs, and performing at the World Cup finale. Her latest album, "Arabian Heartbreak," portrays women as strong individuals overcoming societal and familial challenges.

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