Saudi singer gives voice to world’s musical diversity

©Arab News

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JEDDAH: A young Saudi singer fascinated with musical multiculturalism is keen to learn about authentic and modern music genres from countries across the world.

Haneen Saleh, 24, has mastered singing in four languages — Arabic, English, Korean and Urdu — and hopes to add more languages to her repertoire.

She has performed multiple covers for popular songs in each of these languages; her most popular so far was Breathin by Ariana Grande.

Her latest effort was a two-song cover; the first was Tasna’o Almustaheel (“Making the Impossible” in Arabic) by Hamza Namira and Humood Alkhudher, and the second was Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. She sang it with Moath Bajamal, a public figure with special needs, to show support for this segment of society.

Haneen said that she wants to deliver positive and kind messages to others through her voice.

“Each song I sing has a message, I very much appreciate a good song that leaves a positive impact,” she told Arab News.

She added: “I want to sing songs that encourage people and give them positive energy, help them to accept themselves and their reality, console them in their losses, and spread positivity, tolerance and love.”

Disney and old Arabic cartoon songs inspire her, also singers such as Humood Alkhudher and Maher Zain.

Saleh’s outgoing personality has helped her to learn about other cultures, languages and music. “I like to mix and mingle with people and I have a keen interest in languages and how people express themselves.”

“I know people from different backgrounds, which helped me to learn about other countries’ musical cultures,” she said.

Saleh likes African music and is preparing to introduce this genre to a wider audience. “I am currently preparing a cover for an Ethiopian song, and I am also aiming to sing more Indian songs.”

“I like African music very much. I like the style, music, tunes; it’s so special, authentic and unique, like the Indian genre,” she said.

She said that she was unaware of her talent when she was younger. “I used to sing in school and my friends used to enjoy it, but I was never expecting that it would become a passion and profession for me in the future.”

Saleh discovered her talent after moving to college. “It was there when I began to sing African-American songs at college that students began to tell me that my sound had potential because I was good at imitating others’ sounds.”

Later on, she started polishing her talent and began her self-taught journey via the Internet, using different educational websites and relying on her ability to pick up the music.

“(I have a) serious commitment to improving my singing abilities by singing Korean songs,” she said. “Training myself with this genre has (sharpened) my abilities to master singing in other languages.”

“Finding a training opportunity with a professional instructor was and still is a challenge in Saudi Arabia, especially for singers like me — my style in singing is not very popular in the regional industry.”

Saleh has produced a couple of original songs while singing over the past four years. She has cooperated with various private sector organizations doing songs for commercials and national day specials.

Her fanbase is between 16 and 35 years of age and hails from across the Arab world.

In the future, Saleh said that she hopes to create cross-cultural songs that can incorporate cultural insights into her music and reach every human heart.

She can be followed on Instagram: @7anensaleh.

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