Living between the Middle East and the US gave Tamtam an interesting outlook on life. We started our conversation there and before the end talked about a Grammy party performance to her upcoming EP, Identify Myself, and more…
Kendra: Growing up between the Middle East and the West, what were some of the big differences about the two places you couldn’t wrap your head around then?
Tamtam: I would say that the biggest difference is people’s everyday way of life. In Saudi, women don’t drive yet, and in the US most of my high school friends had their driver’s licenses and would drive to school everyday. The dress code is also very different. In Saudi a woman has to wear a “abaya” which is a black robe before she leaves the house or goes out in public, and the traditional men’s dress code is a “thobe,” which looks like a white robe; while in the US you can wear whatever you want. But I also realized that as human beings, we are all more similar than we may think, despite the cultural differences.
Kendra: You have to have felt a sense of pride when you were the first Saudi artist to get that much love on the radio on a global level. What did that moment feel like?
Tamtam: I am so happy and grateful to have my music on the radio and to be heard by people all over the world! But I mostly feel happy because I know now, that more artists from the Middle East will be inspired to breakout on a global level. There are so many talented musicians in Saudi and the rest of the Middle East; and all of them deserve to be heard!
Kendra: Speaking of, I love the message behind “Old Soul.” The idea that it’s never too late. We always hear stories about people really getting their big break later in life. While it’s never too late, what’s something you want to accomplish within the next few years?
Tamtam: I’m always recording and writing new music. I’m looking forward to releasing a full album after releasing my EP next year, and also going on tour- I love performing live and I have an incredible band that I’m so lucky to share the stage with!
Kendra: You already got to do something pretty awesome in 2016. You were asked to play Kevin Hart’s Oscar After-Party. How was that?
Tamtam: It was amazing!! I got to play with Keith Harris and his band, and they are incredible! He is someone that I’ve looked up to in music, so it was definitely a dream come true.
Kendra: Will we be getting more new music in 2017?
Tamtam: YES! can’t wait to release my EP Identify Myself.
Kendra: What about more covers? I saw you showing the ’90s some love in recent months. What’s one song from that decade you think is a pop music standard – like above the rest?
Tamtam: I love the band No Doubt, so if I had to choose one, I would say “Don’t Speak” because although it’s such a nineties song, its also a song that is timeless and always relatable.
Kendra: Other than some possible new music, what else is on the plate for 2017?
Tamtam: Music videos, more shows, hopefully a mini tour.
Kendra: With that, being a global artist, is there a new artist out there you’ve seen either in the Middle East or in the states that you are loving, that you can share with our readers?
Tamtam: I really love Alessia Cara’s music and I respect her so much as an artist. I definitely relate to her music because her songs are catchy and fun to listen to, but they also carry an important message; which I find so great, and I always try to do that with my own music.