For Marwa, born in France of Moroccan descent, it all happened very fast. After a studious childhood, she stopped school to try her luck in the jungle of the music business. “Music made me quit school”, says the young woman who was a fan of the artist Diam’s before she became a singer herself. She started by recording a cover of ‘Bella’, the hit song by Maitre Gims, in a tiny studio in Strasbourg. This first try made her realise she had what many of her contemporaries didn’t: a real voice, with a unique texture. Marwa was embarking on a new adventure.
She went to Brussels in 2014, at only 17 years old, to record her first original song, ‘Ce Soir’. This fresh and funky track had a small success. But ‘Temps Perdu’ was the real start to her career. She wasn’t always confident: “At first, I didn’t know how to proceed. It took me ages to write lyrics. I had booked the studio in Belgium and I had to quickly write some lyrics, but I was drawing a complete blank. I ended up writing all the lyrics on the train on the way to Brussels”.
Meeting Youssef, aka Lartiste, was a turning point in Marwa’s career. “He listened to my music and asked me to meet him at his label, Purple Money. He liked my character and my attitude.” So Marwa signed with PMP and got to work. Before recording her album, she met up with Double X, a duo of seasoned producers from the outskirts of Paris (Lartiste, Niska, Lacrim, SCH, Damso), who would produce most of her songs. The two beatmakers learned to work with Marwa who operates on instinct. “We recorded by night, never by day. And I’d turn the lights off in the recording booth, I even turned the light on my phone way down. I get stressed when people watch me; the dark allows me to express myself freely”.
Even though Marwa’s first songs reached millions of views on YouTube, she decided to write several melancholy songs for her album. “People discovered me through festive songs, but this record is about me. My life is great, but like everyone else, I went through some dark times and I needed to sing about it.” But don’t worry if you love bangers, Marwa didn’t forget to include a few dancefloor bombshells like ‘Mehdi’, an infectious single boosted by Double X’s production. The producers and the young singer worked well together. Marwa managed to overcome her shyness and, in April 2017, she confronted her audience for the first time in a hookah bar packed with 300 people. “I was stressed when I arrived, but it evaporated as soon as I started singing”.
She was determined not to have any featurings on her album, but then changed her mind: “I asked Jul to come and sing with me while I was finishing my album. He agreed and asked me to sing on his.” Marwa’s favourite rapper from Marseille laid down his voice on one of the album’s gems, ‘A La Base’.
‘Attillo’ tells the story of an intimate betrayal. “I was inspired by the TV series Gomorrah, which I love. I wrote the lyrics over SCH’s sound, and when I asked Lartiste to produce it, he told me he had something inspired by the series. It’s very dark, I think it’ll speak to boys”.
“Je veux taffer, il n’y a que ça qui me fait kiffer” (I wanna work, that’s the one thing I love), sings Marwa in ‘Fâché’, one of her most personal tracks. Dark keyboard layers over a slow beat, very personal lyrics about heartbreak. That’s Marwa, she tells it like it is. No hiding her feelings or compromising on her choices. She doesn’t need a stylist or a mentor to tell her what she wants, she knows who she is: a popular artist, an Edith Piaf from the ghetto, a singer who loves her family, music and sportswear. Her family is at the heart of Marwa’s music and her sisters stand next to her in her videos. “J’ai 20 ans, je ne suis pas la star typique en mode strass et paillettes. Et je n’ai pas peur de la concurrence ou de ne plus exister demain” (I’m 20, I’m not your typical flashy star. And I’m not afraid of the competition or of not being here tomorrow), she says with her distinctive velvety voice.
She goes by the name ‘Loud’: strong and mighty.
Marwa Loud. Strength and charm, with a great sound as a bonus.
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