Written by Brittany Shawnté
Another great spotlight for y’all! As always, if you are or represent an upcoming artist, designer, dancer, etc., and are interested in being featured on The Spotlight, please visit our Features/Submissions page for more information!
Today, we have Saudi Arabian pop/soul singer Tamtam! The artist has had a thirst for music since she was a young girl growing up in the Middle East. I’ve wanted to do music since I was eleven years old,” Tamtam revealed. “But back then, I didn’t think it would be a possibility for me because I grew up in a more conservative society in the Middle East.” When she was 13, she decided to sign up for a talent show at school to showcase her talent and love of music, the first time of many that she performed live in front of a big audience. Inspired greatly by Michael Jackson, Tamtam sang “Thriller” for her performance, and decided then that music was her life path. “Ever since that night, I knew that this was something I was going to pursue against all odds,” the singer said.
Raised as a young girl in Saudi Arabia, and moving to Los Angeles when she was a teen, Tamtam is inspired by a variety of artists in addition to Michael, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, The Gorillaz, Daft Punk as well as Arabic singer Fairuz. “She has such a captivating voice but I love listening to her music mostly because of her lyrics. They are the most beautiful and poetic lyrics I’ve ever heard,” Tamtam said of the singer. “I wanted my music to have that poetic quality, not just a great melody, but also something that carried a deeper meaning and message that people could analyze. At the same time, I wanted it to have the emotion that someone like Michael Jackson conveyed in his music.”
In that same way, Tamtam’s own music showcases real messages and emotions that listeners will be able to connect with. Case in point, her track “Gender Game,” which the artist stated that people automatically assume is just about gender inequality in Saudi Arabia. “Growing up
between both the Middle East and the West has taught me that gender inequality exists all over the world,” the singer stated. “I wrote that song for every woman in the world, not just women from my country,”
Another song with deeper meaning is one of Tamtam’s latest tracks, “Old Soul,” inspired by an older man she saw crossing the street with a cane who she initially pitied. “Then we crossed paths and I looked into his eyes and I didn’t see an old man at all,” the singer revealed. “I saw someone full of spirit and full of youth.” Working with producer/musician Karnig Manoukian, along with Greg Barbone and Ryan Gilligan, for production, Tamtam wrote the song to let people know essentially that age really ain’t nothing but a number! ” I hope that listeners will really start to embrace the idea of age,” she said of the track. “And I hope that they will also think for themselves rather than get easily influenced by the media and popular culture.”
Check out the official video for “Old Soul” below!
Currently, Tamtam is putting the finishing touches on an EP that she hopes to drop at the beginning of 2017. She’s also doing a lot of live performances in LA, “which is great because it gives me a chance to meet my fans and to do what I love!” she mentioned.
In terms of what sets Tamtam apart from other artists, she believes that it’s the messages behind her music that make her stand out. “I talk about issues that have to do with human nature and the way we think, and why we think that way,” the artist said. “I have a lot of questions in my music, and you will hear that once the EP is out in 2017.” In fact, that’s what her upcoming EP reflects–the interactions Tamtam has had with people over this year, “their reactions to where I’m from and what I look like, [and] the people in the entertainment industry.” Real, honest music that is sure to get listeners thinking as well.
In the future, Tamtam wants to continue to use her music to positively influence others across the globe, and have the same opportunity to be inspired by them herself. “It would be amazing to go on tour and share my music and message with as many people as possible,” she stated. With Tamtam’s soulful vocals and positive thinking, she is sure to do just that!