SoundCloud, YouTube, and Vimeo have seen a surge in modern Arab musicians showcasing their talent to the world. What required a record label, expensive studios, and pricey gear twenty years ago could be substituted by a solo artist playing an instrument in their bed room. Surprisingly, some of these musicians gain more fame through social media than those who sign with record labels. But what about the underdogs? Here’s a list of our top Arab artists on Soundcloud that you should know of.
1. Tamer Abu Ghazaleh
Tamer Abu Ghazaleh was born in Cairo in 1986 to an exiled Palestinian family. He started singing and performing at the age of two, but everything evolved the moment he turned nine. At that age, Tamer began composing music on the Oud, leading him onto a path clearly influenced by the likes of Mahmoud Darwish and Saadi Youssef.
One of the more inventive arab artists on Sound Cloud, Tamer’s interest in poetry and texts were influenced by his parents, who rigorously read Arabic poetry to him as a child. Tamer’s other major influence is his tutor, Khaled Jubran.
There, at the Edward Said Conservatory, Tamer was not only taught how to play the Oud, but also music theory and history, and was introduced to many music genres and styles that affected his musical method.
Tamer himself has confirmed to Humanity Can Wait that a debut album will be released this year at Alif Ensemble.
Check out the rest of his stuff here:
2. Mahmoud El Shawa
Mahmoud is a 20-year-old student currently studying Business Accounting at Fanshawe College in Canada. His day consists of studying, working and making music.
What makes Mahmoud unique from most of the producers is that he rarely resorts to samples, creating instead his own beats and rhythms. Another factor unique to Mahmoud’s songs is the sudden but fitting change in tempo when you least expect it in a beat.
His best work include Wonderland, Signs, Madaba, and the production of Gemini and Greta Svabo’s Fire Inside.
Check out the rest of his songs here:
3. Ahmad Farah
Ahmad Farah has been composing and playing the guitar since 2000, but started performing only in 2007. His passion towards music is evident through the effort he puts in producing his songs.
Ahmad’s main influence is the American folk-singer Bob Dylan, due to his admiration to Bob’s passion and poetic type of music. It is clear that Ahmad is nostalgic in his music. All of his songs are recorded in unconventional locations, from his rooftop, to stairs, and even to a tent.
Check out Ahmad’s work here
4. Oun Jweinat
Oun is a 15-year-old student currently doing his GCSEs at the National Orthodox School. Don’t let Oun’s age fool you. His reputation is growing exponentally in the local scene, having most recently performed in the Zain Independence Festival. Oun has also recently signed a contract with a house record label in Canada.
Having done this for four years so far, Oun is the perfect example for other aspiring teenage musicians, mainly because of his professionalism and commitment to such craft even at his age. His main influence is his brother, Sultan, whom was ranked the 6th best local DJ in Jordan. They are both planning on creating a DJ project together.
Check out the rest of Oun’s work here
Mohamed Ziena, commonly known as Moseqar, is an Egyptian music producer who started at the age of 17 by bringing his own ideas and thoughts to life. His influences include Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams, Mark Ronson, and Dr Dre among others.
Mohamed released his first ever EP album, “Daydream”, 3 days ago which you can find here on this link:
6. DJ Pretentious
Mohamed Zohair is a 25-year-old music producer commonly known for his fantastic Arabic chill-out remix of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
Mohamed started playing music 6 years ago, when his sister started learning guitar and he used to take it behind her back just to fool around with it, eventually learning how to play it himself. Two years later, Mohamed expanded into electronic music under the name DJ Pretentious.
As for his influences, he listens to a lot of metalcore and progressive music, bordering more on the rougher edges of music. This is evident in his passion even for electronic music, with inspirations such as Deadmau5, Wolfgang Gartner, and The Glitch Mob.
Check out DJ Pretentious’ stuff here: