The 22 year old, singer and writer has mesmerised her fans and music lovers from across the world with her golden voice and highly expressive lyrics. Amaal started singing at the tender age of 14 where she was exposed to music at school and has since emerged as a sensational artist now on verge of taking the global stage by storm.
Despite mainstream success, Amaal says that young female singers in her community don’t get the recognition they deserve in their immediate circles.
“Growing up in a Somali, Muslim household can be challenging for a young female artist breaking into mainstream recording industry. I hail from a culture where music is not looked at as a career path for women” said the stunningly beautiful artist during an exclusive interview with the Digital Journal’s Farid Omar in downtown, Toronto.
Asked why female musicians performing in the Somali language have largely been accepted into the musical fold and celebrated as heroines, Amaal was quick to point to the contradictions inherent in communal perceptions that treat artists of Somali descent plying their trade in the English language in negative light.
`` Folks need to understand that music is a universal art that transcends global cultures and languages. It is a medium that brings together humanity regardless of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin” said Amaal adding that “In my community, female artists who sing in the Somali language are widely accepted for their creative work regardless of their gender. But once they sing in a foreign language, their music is regarded as Americanized or simply Westernized despite the fact that English singing Somali artists are better placed to advance the Somali cause on the world stage as they are able to speak directly to both the Somali and global experiences.”
In terms of genres, the shy but supremely confident Amaal is willing to take on the challenge of performing in virtually any genre out there.
“I can go from Pop, R&B to alternative. I think there is nothing I can’t do. I can handle all types of genres of music and I think that is what it takes to be an artist”
Her hit songs, Words Revealed
and With You,
are loaded with powerful messages intended to bring out emotions for people, which in turn can serve as an impetus to empower those in vulnerable position.
“When it comes to women for example, I believe that it is important for them to be conscious of their vulnerability. In order for women to empower themselves, they should not be ashamed of their emotions, which infact can serve as a strength. Society is trying to cover this trait, but I think women should use it to their advantage,” said the ever charismatic Amaal.
With artists like K`naan raising awareness on the plight of Somali people on the world stage, the global Somali community can count on Amaal to do the same, as the intellectually inclined recording artist has demonstrated the ability to dole out socially conscious lyrics that seek to edutain (educate and entertain) while advocating for the international solidarity movement to rally behind Somali and other important global causes.
Her educational pursuit at University level speaks volumes to both Amaal’s artistic and intellectual prowess. Majoring in International Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Toronto, Amaal`s creative work is a reflection of both her artistic talent, intellectualism and her activist-driven desire to bring positive change to her community and the world in general.
“As a young and upcoming artist, I would like to raise global awareness on the political crisis and social disintegration afflicting my beleaguered home country. As a Canadian, I can effectively use my voice to bring change to this world” said Amaal.
In the busy and fast-paced recording industry, Amaal notes that it can be challenging to maintain a healthy balance between career and school and feels that from time to time, it is imperative for her to take time out from school to concentrate on her career and especially in the current time when she has a lot of momentum going on with her music.
“In this industry, time is of essence and therefore, I would like to maximize my potential and talent while still young and when I have all the attention of my audience.”
Without delving into details, Amaal says that major record labels have expressed interest in signing a deal with her meaning that she is on verge of making a significant breakthrough into mainstream recording industry pretty soon.
Immensely adored by fans of diverse backgrounds, many have compared Amaal`s voice to that of megastar Beyonce.
“To be placed in the same league with an internationally acclaimed performer of Beyonce`s calibre is definitely a plus for an emerging young artist like me and there can be no words to describe such a comparison. While I have great admiration for accomplished artists like Beyonce, I want to chart my own course and identity in the recording industry. I want to be my own self. I want to be recognized as Amaal, the artist.”
Many artists who make it to the big stage usually adopt stage names to ``fit in` the industry. By choosing to retain her Somali-spelled name, Amaal Nuux,
the young Canadian artist is sending a strong message to her peers and the global musical fans alike.
“In the West, people are expected to know how to pronounce the names of mainstream western artists no matter how difficult their names may sound. Little attention is paid to the names of non-western artists. I have opted to retain my real name in this industry because I would like fans out there to know how to pronounce African names that make it to the musical stage” said Amaal, once again, revealing her philosophical edge.
Amaal is Somali for “hope”`, “aspiration” and “ambition”. True to her magical name, Amaal is not only seeking to take her career to another level but also looks to make a difference in the lives of others and especially the vulnerable and less fortunate in this world.
“While building my career is important, life for me is not simply about topping charts, winning awards, generating platinum sales or rising to global fame. I would like to make a difference in this world by using my voice on the global stage to bring hope to those in dire need of help” noted Amaal.
In terms of drawing inspiration from other artists, Amaal Nuux finds the social justice oriented Alicia Keys as an ideal role model.
“I have always looked to Alicia Keys as an artist whose noble work I can emulate. Her music has struck a chord with me and I love her for her humanity and commitment to charitable causes. She has done great work in raising awareness on the HIV/AIDs pandemic in Africa and in other causes. Like Alicia, I would like to sing and raise public awareness around global issues such as poverty, human rights, underdevelopment etc.”
Amaal is grateful to her countless fans and prominent personalities who have expressed their upmost support for her singling out among others, rapper Knaan, who once tweeted her saying he likes her music. Her songs have gone viral in social networking sites like YouTube and Facebook where thousands of fans from as far as the UK and Australia continue to download her music.
“Apart from conventional mainstream marketing avenues, I find social media as a useful marketing tool that I will continue to utilize” said Amaal.
On long term professional goals, Amaal hopes to venture into acting in future.
“In my high school days, I had lots of exposure to drama and acting and so it won’t be a problem for me to transition into the acting scene in future” said Amaal, noting that acting has been a common path taken by established artists in advanced stages of their showbiz career.
Intent of making dreams happen for people, Amaal granted the Digital Journal an exclusive audio preview of her eagerly awaited bombshell of a song titled “Mufasa”, which stands for `”Lion.” The milestone single is a great testimony to her `”don’t give up” stance.
“I don’t want to give out everything beforehand but my new release touches on the devastation and upheavals afflicting Somalia. Due to bloodshed and chaos, many have given up on the Horn of Africa nation. My new song offers a message of hope calling on the people that a devastated nation can actually rise from the ashes of war” said an optimistic Amaal.
For young wannabe artists, Amaal’s advice is simple and straightforward.
“To succeed in this industry, you need to surround yourself with positive people and friends who can lend you encouraging words. If you don’t have that, keep focused. There will be obstacles along the way and so never give up. And remember, nothing without hard work is granted.”
Stating that there can be no short cut in the recording industry, Amaal wants aspiring artists to learn from her experience.
“For young people seeking important dreams in life, I would like to share how hard it has been for me. Being a young, Somali, Muslim girl trying to break into this industry, I encountered a lot of obstacles. I did not get any level of support from family, friends and community. I was completely independent and worked my way into the industry entirely on my own to eventually attain the success I enjoy today. At all times, you need to be resilient. If you have an unwavering passion for something, you’ll always succeed. It is real passion that drives you to intended success” concluded Amaal.
Beauty, brains and talent, Amaal got is all. For this rising Canadian artist, the sky is the limit. Certainly, the future looks far much brighter for Amaal, a promising legend on the brink of international stardom and greatness.