A new voice for a new world.
With the world in our pockets and strangers, lovers, heroes, friends and foes all just a tweet, a friend request, or a swipe away, instead of building bridges, so many of us find ourselves muddling our way through a dangerous and frustrating game of telephone.
And that’s where tamtam comes in. As a singer-songwriter born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who relocated to Los Angeles as a young teen, tamtam’s understanding of varying cultures spans the globe making her the perfect bridge for a networked, yet fractured, world.
“I realize there are huge misconceptions between our two cultures and people,” she says. “It is ironic that in a world where communication has become so easy, it’s still so hard to bridge the distance in our minds. I see my music and myself as that bridge between the Middle East and the West. Music is the only language everyone can speak.”
And with her soulful voice and blues sensibilities, the language tamtam speaks is music to everyone’s ears. Pulling on the influences of her grandfathers—one a doctor and poet, the other a historian and author—plus her training as a pianist and skills on the guitar, tamtam is able to deliver songs that move in both music and message. Her breakout “Little Girl,” for instance, gives listeners the soul and swing of a young Amy Winehouse feel while still standing its ground as an anthem for female empowerment. Meanwhile, the more opinionated “Gender Games,” which tamtam wrote to address the challenges she faces as a Saudi woman who dares to not only share her face, but also her voice with the world, packs a punch that recalls early Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
The combination is a powerful one, as recent engagements playing for audiences at Geena Davis’s SeeJane symposiums on gender equality in media and at the Bridges of Understanding Gala in New York honoring Arab fashion icon Reem Acra attest. And with the release of her new single Old Soul, her reach is sure to only continue to grow.
“In a world where musicians influence more and more people, especially the younger generation, it is important to realize that we are leaders who should set a positive example,” she says. “This is why I strive to write powerful, uplifting, and inspirational music and lyrics to encourage everybody to open their minds and have a worldly understanding of humanity.”
As for that approach and philosophy, there can only be one word—flawless.