Arab Detroit Exclusive with Pop Singer Ameerah
BY: Ameera David/Contributing Writer
Behind the pop singer’s obvious beauty and undeniable vocal ability is another characteristic that not everybody gets to see: her contagiously warm personality. Just yesterday Arab Detroit was lucky enough to catch up with singer Ameerah El Ouiglani—who is known mostly by her first name, Ameerah (meaning princess in Arabic). During our chat, the singer openly shared details of her journey to the present, as well as a refreshing outlook on her Arab identity.
El Ouiglani’s origin hails from both Algeria and Tunisia, with her father immigrating to Europe as an adolescent in order to afford himself more opportunity. Although Ameerah was raised in Belgium, no one would ever know just by speaking to her. Her English is so advanced that I had to keep reminding myself she didn’t grow up here in the Midwest. The singer was considerably proud to admit that along with English, she fluently speaks Dutch, French, and furthermore understands basic Swedish and Arabic.
One of the first things Ameerah divulged to me is how her affinity for singing started when she was just a toddler, “I actually began singing at the age of three, and I have videos that show me singing in Dutch with Belgian superstars and in English along with my favorite Disney movies.” The singer then elevated her voice in excitement as she told me about her love for late Michael Jackson’s music in her teens and how it expanded her interest in both singing and performance.
When I asked her about some of her musical inspirations for the album currently underway, she immediately revealed that she is truly influenced by a mixture of sounds. The singer went on to share her great affection for the soothing vibe of Mariah Carey, the rhythm and soul of Aretha Franklin, and even the electro-funk of current chart topper, Lady GaGa. And though Ameerah doesn’t sing in Arabic, she meaningfully said, “When I hear Arabic music, it’s sort of a homecoming for me. It just gives me a warm feeling that will always keep me connected to my Arabic culture.”
As our chat came to a close, I asked the singer if she was encountering any obstacles in the music business because of her Arab identity. She told me she hadn’t faced any major setbacks. However, she welcomes those pre-conceived notions from people because as she puts it “When they talk to me, they immediately see that I am open, alive, energetic, and I break down whatever stereotype they might be thinking.” She continued, “I will always embrace who I am because I would love to show them that Arabs are everywhere and are doing great things.”
Although she has spent quite some time traveling between the U.S. and Europe, Ameerah is currently in Belgium using her time to write and record an album set to debut in early 2010. Her newly released single “Sound of Missing You” is rapidly gaining world attention, and her following is growing by the day. The song can be found on iTunes, Amazon.com, and BestBuy.com.