Saudi-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Tamtam releases her new single “Rise” with a thought-provoking video written and directed by award-winning Saudi filmmaker Meshal Al jaser, addressing the subject of arranged marriage. Serious subject matter indeed. We decided to find out more about TamTam with a Take 5…

When did you realise that you wanted to be a music artist? What or who has inspired you ?

I’ve been singing since I was eleven years old. But when I turned thirteen, I participated at a school talent show where I sang “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. It was the first time I performed in front of an audience, I had never felt so nervous in my life. I also had never felt the adrenaline rush that comes with performing in front of an audience. After that show, I decided I was going to pursue music no matter what.  

Although he was before my time, I would listen to Michael Jackson growing up. His music really inspired me to perform and to tell stories when writing lyrics. I also grew up listening to the Spice Girls and Britney Spears; and I loved the feeling associated with a good dance rhythm that makes you want to get up and move. One of my favorite Arabic artists is Fairuz, she often worked with her husband who composed her music and wrote her lyrics. She has the voice of an angel, and her husband writes the most poetic lyrics that brings tears to my eyes. One of my favorites by her is: Biktob Ismak.

Who, living or dead, would you dream of collaborating with?

There are so many. But one of them is definitely Ed Sheeran. I can tell that he speaks from his heart, and I feel like he’s one of those people that makes songwriting look so easy. His melodies are amazing and you could hear one of his songs on piano, guitar, or with an EDM production; and it would sound incredible each and every way. To me, that is the definition of a great songwriter. 

Tell us about your single ‘Rise’– what is the song about?

Rise is about rising above the noise of society and following your passion no matter what. People are often afraid of the unknown, and afraid of what people might say about them. But we have to realize that we can’t dictate our lives based on the ideas of other people. Life is about going for it, and learning from your mistakes along the way. Don’t be afraid of mistakes, because they can lead to the most amazing realizations. 

Tell us five things you love about the city you live in, and why……

        I am currently living in Los Angeles:

  • The beach: because there’s nothing swimming or surfing in the ocean can’t cure! 
  • Salt and Straw: my favourite ice cream place in the world, with the weirdest and yummiest flavors! I recently tried their goat cheese and olive flavor…I know what you’re thinking but it was amazing!
  • Abbott Kinney: my favourite street to walk around in Venice. It also has amazing coffee shops and restaurants!
  • Deus Ex Machina: I don’t ride motorcycles but I love this place, its a coffee shop, motorcycle shop, surf shop, clothing store..so inspiring
  • Outdoor activities; specifically Hiking or horseback riding when I get the chance. Being in nature feeds my soul, it’s like my mediation and I’m reminded to feel grateful everyday to be living in such a beautiful place. 

What are you most looking forward to this year? 

Releasing my EP called “Rough Around the Edges” on all platforms July 19! I will also be releasing a few more singles throughout the year.

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