Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: MERYEM ABOULOUAFA

Meet the Casablanca-hailed artist making waves with her atmospheric vocal prowess.

Mereyem Aboulouafa
Mereyem Aboulouafa

The music of Meryem Aboulouafa is quietly arresting, something that creeps up on you slowly and then all at once.

Growing up, the Casablanca-hailed singer-songwriter took solace in writing poems in Arabic and French, which have formed the lyrical backbone of her densely atmospheric tracks today.

Ever since, the interior designer turned musician has been making waves with tracks such as “THE FRIEND” (taken from her stirring eponymous album Mereyem) and “Breath of Roma” – offering up cinematic visuals to boot. Think gently trickling instrumentals, textured production, and haunting vocals.

We caught up with the artist and talked about early inspirations, and making music that makes fans feel “peaceful”…

When did you first realise you wanted to make music?
Music had always an important place in my life, I’ve never been aware about that, until I found myself spending more time making music than working on interior design (my profession). My first interaction with music happened with my dad, who shared with me the music of his time, we listened, sang discussed and appreciated the music together. When he felt my interest on music he registered me in the conservatory of music of Paris in Casablanca, for solfège, violin and guitar classes. I doodled with my fingers on guitar melodic sequences which I liked and that I wanted to make elaborate by humming melodies with my voice; the new need is obvious, adding words to the voice in order to give meaning to the whole.

Who did you grow up listening to?
At an early age, my father shared with me the music of his time, 60s sounds, so I grow up listening to Pink Floyd, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Georges Brassens, Jaques Brel, Nina Simone, Edith Piaf.

How would you describe your genre?
I have difficulty to define the genre of my music. My priority is expressing my emotions authentically, afford them the right sonorities and choose with care the words with the intention and rhythm they reflect through the feelings. Therefore the result of genre can change from a song to another.

Mereyem Aboulouafa standing
Mereyem Aboulouafa standing

I read you initially studied interior design – what was the turning point for you?
It is rare to hear people claim an encore following the completion of a chair prototype or even at the end of an interior designing; it is very likely that the turning point is the great encouragement I received for music.

It depends, sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the music imposes the topic through the melody and then the lyrics follow. Writing and composing are my favourite part in music.

Where do you get most of your inspirations from?
As a moroccan I have lot of influences, at the same time African, arabe, and occidental; the same balance that I try to find for my own person between tradition.

What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received on your music?
Your music makes me feel peaceful.

Who would you love to collaborate with?
I dream of singing alongside Thom Yorke, Fairouz, Benjamin Clementine, Majda Roumy, Björk. To sing the lyrics of Matthew Bellamy and Tania Saleh. To be produced by Max Richter and Brian Eno. And make soundtracks for Tim Burton and Nadine Labaki.

What’s next for you?
I look forward sharing my debut album with people, and meeting them in live shows; feel my songs in different contexts perform them in front of people from different parts of the world.

NEW NOISE: MERYEM ABOULOUAFA

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