There’s a myriad of young talented artists coming from the Arab world who are currently shaking up the music industry, and Moroccan singer Abir is definitely one of them.
Currently living in Queens, New York, Abir grew up in Virginia after having moved from Morocco when she was a child. “New York has felt like the truest home I’ve ever had”, she reveals while explaining how she spontaneously moved to the big apple, by signing a lease on a whim during a regular weekend visit.
Since then, her career has taken a more serious turn, which has seen Abir collaborate with acclaimed producers such as Illmind (who’s worked with Drake and Beyonce to name but a few) and rapper Fabolous. Her powerful and confident voice has also seduced electronic musician Masego, who she collaborated with on her breakthrough track Waves.
Last month, she released the highly anticipated video for her unapologetic song Young & Rude, where we see her aimlessly run around the desert – and we’re totally into it.
With her debut EP due for release on October 19, and a tour with electronic music star Kiiara in the pipeline we caught up with the captivating vocalist to find out about how she got in to music, how her family influenced her and her favourite Moroccan food.
How did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I first started singing when I was six years old! My dad used to run a limousine company and would always come and pick me up after school with jazz and soul music playing in the car. I fell in love with so many voices and started mimicking them until I eventually taught myself how to sing. It became pretty apparent that nothing made me happier than being able to sing so I decided to go for it!
Would you say that your family and background have inspired you?
Growing up, I was always surrounded by music. Saturday mornings in my household usually involved Oum Kulthoum blasting out of the speakers and my mother trying her best to sing along. My family and I would spend nights re-watching live concerts of my parents’ favourite artists and dancing. I don’t think my parents realized how much they influenced my love for music.
You seem to have various influences. How would you define yourself?
Honestly, I try not to put myself in any boxes because, as an artist and even a person, so many different things influence me. I’m constantly growing and changing.
Who would you love to work with?
Frank Ocean for sure. I love his style of writing and his swag on every record he puts out and gets on. He’s one of my favourite artists.
If you had to pick one Moroccan dish, what would it be?
Oooooh. This is tough. Final answer is… Kharchouf. It’s a beef and cardoon tagine that tastes like heaven!