Through her powerful voice and poignant bilingual lyricism, Saudi Arabian artist Tamtam has been a longstanding staple in the regional music scene, connecting with fans around the globe with hits such as ‘Gender Game’, ‘Rise’ and ‘Ismak’. Based between Riyadh and Los Angeles, Tamtam began her career in the US before the rise of Saudi Arabia’s music industry, carving out a place for herself in Los Angeles’ highly competitive music scene, all while maintaining a curious ear and experimenting within the realm of pop music.

In this XP conversation, Tamtam tells us about her early years in music, and how societal norms at the time prevented her from sharing her real name or appearing on camera. To work around this, the artist came up with the moniker ‘Tamtam’, and released blurred out music videos to push through the resistance she was facing. She also tells us how her track ‘Gender Game’ was a transformative point in her career, as it was noticed by American actress Geena Davis, who invited her to perform around the country, solidifying her presence and launching her into regional notoriety.

Watch the full interview here: