November 18, 2020 06:50 PM | by Jasmine Kamal
Latifa Talks to Us About Her Role in Spotify's SAWTIK Initiative
Being a superstar doesn't just mean hit albums and magazine covers. To be an influential star means you can make a difference and change...and this is what Latifa does. Since she started in the 80s, she's been an example of success and ambition for girls. So when we got the news that Latifa will be participating in Spotify's SAWTIK initiative for supporting emerging Arab female artists, we were excited to talk to her too learn more about her role in the initiative. We can telll you know that her words are full of passion and determination. Read along our interview with Latifa...
1. First, we would like to know more about your role in the SAWTIK initiative and how did your participation come about?
For me, Spotify is a very important platform, and it has great credibility and stature, so cooperating with them was a positive step to a large extent. Also, the idea of the initiative is what encouraged me to participate, when it presented to me by Spotify. I'm also very happy with the direction Spotify's taking to support young female talents in the Arab world and Middle East, and what encouraged me the most was my confidence in the platform's managing team.
2. What will you bring to these young female artists?
What I'll bring to these young artists, will come in several stages that we're still studying with Spotify. But the first and most important stage now is moral support. Also, I will try to pass on my experience, as much as possible, as an artist who moved from Tunisia to Egypt, stayed there and worked with art masters, like Ammar El Sherei, Baligh Hamdi, Mohamed El Mougy, Salah El Sharnoubi, Ziad Rahbani, Mansour Rahbani, Kadim Al Sahir and others. I'll also help them overcome some of the difficulties that I have gone through in the past, that every artist goes through. One of the most important things that I will work on with them is how to educate themsleves right now. They don't have to have studied music, but they have they internet and millions of information with which they can learn and educate themselves.
3. Tell us about your criteria for choosing these young artists, and what encouraged you to support them?
The selection of young female artists came in several stages, as Spotify conducted a large and lengthy search for female singing talents in the Middle East. Then we participated in selecting some voices and started listening, filtering, and choosing from them. We settled on the final list, which will be in the first stage of the launch of the initiative. What encouraged me the most to support them is, like I said, is that they're really talented female singers, and they have the right to the spotlight and attention. As you know, in the Arab world, young female artists face many difficulties, from their families and society.
4. You're a woman and you've known a lot about the music industry for years now, and have also faced challenges in the beginning. How have the challenges faced by female artists changed from the past to even today?
For sure, I've faced many challenges in the beginning, for being a young woman wanting to work in the field, with features that everyone says are beautiful, which presented challenges and difficulties, which may be the same challenge that still young artists face today. But my will, my morals, the nature of my upbringing, and my family's confidence in me, were a weapon for me. In addition to the support of great stars like Baligh Hamdi, who was the reason I came to Egypt, and others. All of these things made me independent, able to producer my own work, and maybe even the only person who owns what they sing, audio and video.
5. In your opinion, what's missing so these young artists could obtain equal support like men from production companies?
Will, intelligence and knowledge. These three things are needed so they can compete powerfully, especially knowledge. They must have the right knowledge of music, because that's the only thing that provides continuity. So if these three factors are there with any young and talented artist, she can compete with men powerfully.
6. Is there something you're anticipating to see from these young artists during the next period?
Certainly, I'm waiting to see someone who possesses strong determination, will and a great love for music and art in general. Because if she doesn't have this love, she won't be able to succeed. I'm waiting to see these things from these young female artists.
7. Could we potentially see Latifa in a duet with these young artists on Spotify?
Indeed, this will be a part of the second phase in the SAWTIK initiative, which will be coordinated with Spotify platform, starting with choosing the artist who work on the duet with me, working on it and then releasing it.
8. Speaking of Spotify...in your opinion are digital platforms a good opportunity to achieve success and support Arab singers who didn't get the chance?
Certainly, so I would like to thank Spotify and their team for their work on the SAWTIK initiative, which is a serious and important step in supporting talented women. No other platform has ever thought of doing something like that and with such persistence in supporting young female talents.
9. Coming back to your journey in the music world, when did Latifa feel reassured and that she was on the right path?
I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that I've felt it since my first album, and it was a huge hit. I was even the first artist to put eight songs on one album, despite what was common at the time, which was to have one song on the cassette tape. Egyptians were very supportive of me, as well as the Egyptian artists who stood by me and believed in my talent. Also, my success in the Academy of Arts with distinction. All this made me feel safe and on the right track.
10. With your music journey, you've definitely learned a lot. If you could give one piece of advice to all young female artists, what would it be?
Not just one single piece of advice but many...I would say to each of them, "Have faith and confident in yourself, you must have a sense of responsibility because success won't happen without being committed. Educate yourself constantly."
11. Do you think that the societal restrictions imposed on young female artists could end, as we approach 2021?
Let's admit that they have become less than before, compared to when I started out, for example. However, there are always areas in the Arab world where families won't allow their daughters to sing or be in the music industry, so I think this will need more time to go away.
12. Finally, what do you have planned or what you preparing for this next period?
I released my album 'Aqwa Wahda' 2 months before the COVIID-19 pandemic, so I'm currently working on filming 2 music videos, one in Tunisian and the other from the album.
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