You may wonder about my song Gender Game and why I wrote it. I get asked if I write songs that have to do with social identity, self identity, or politics on purpose.
The truth is that I do not do anything on purpose.
When I write a song, I want it to come from an authentic place.
I do not pre-plan or over think it.
This is how the best songs get written.
I had just recorded one of my songs called "Little Girl" with producer Zahed Sultan. I was cautioned about releasing the video on Youtube, revealing my name to the world, and showing my face, because of the more conservative society that I come from. But I still decided to release the video and song. I changed my name to Tamtam. And I told the editor to blur my face so that no one would be able to identify me.
Although I was able to go around my fears of society and still release my music, I felt disappointed and sad. I felt I did not have the freedom to be myself because of the thoughts or ideas of other people.
I did not understand why I felt so helpless because of something related to my gender. It’s really amazing how society can engrain a thought or an idea in your mind.
Why should other people’s views affect our own decisions? At that moment I wrote "Gender Game" because I felt that if I were a guy I would not care what society thought. Society would not care either. “I won’t share my face, I won’t share my name in this Gender Game, if I say my name or I show my face I should be ashamed”.
I also discovered something amazing after I wrote Gender Game. I realized that it is actually never about what anybody else thinks. Deep inside, it was about me the whole time. It was about my own fears of being disappointed in myself for going against the norms of society. And it is also the fear of not succeeding. How would that feel? What will I do next if that happens?
But after I knew how much I wanted this. After I knew how much I wanted to prove to whomever would listen, that any person, no matter where they are from or what their gender is, can do whatever they want to do; that is when I found out that the fear I have about feeling regret for not doing what I want, is far greater than the fear I have for not succeeding.
I am so thankful for my father because he always tells me that there is no such thing as failure. You are here to do what you want, you should always give it a try, and then go with the flow of where life takes you without giving up. Sometimes it will lead you somewhere else, and as long as you are happy you will have no regrets.
I had the best time filming the music video for Gender Game. Each woman in the video came from a different place, background, and upbringing. Each one was a different age. Yet, almost every single one of them came up to me during the video shoot and told me that they relate to the song I wrote. Each one of them had experienced her own gender equality narrative.
That is when I realized that this song is bigger than me, it is bigger than my story and why I wrote it.
We all go through different experiences and sometimes we draw the same conclusion from those experiences.
That is my favorite part about music, it is not just for one person, it is for everyone. It is a universal language that we can all understand.
To some people, my music may be about politics or social issues, but the truth is that my music is about humanity.
It is not about me or you; it is about us.
I reveal my face to the world at the end of the Gender Game video. I want to send a message to every woman or man who has gone through her/his own experience and can relate to mine. People are always going to think their own thoughts, and we cannot change that. We have to know that it does not matter what people think. We have to dictate our own decisions in life. We have to be able to live our life to the fullest and never regret a single thing.
The song is about confronting those fears that we have inside ourselves. Because we do have them. And the first step is knowing that, so that we can overcome our fears, and feel confident in our own skin, in order to feel comfortable enough to share our truth with the world.