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Dina El Wedidi is an Egyptian singer ,songwriter who inspires social change through her music. She is taking part in “The Nile Project”, a musical and environmental initiative that brings together musicians and thinkers from all over the Nile Valley. She won an award from the Rolex Arts Initiative for promising international artist, which gives her a year of mentoring from the renowned Brazilian singer, Gilberto Gil. After which she released an album “Turning Back”. We named her one of artists to watch out for this year. Here is the conversation we had with her;
How would you describe your music journey ?
I started from a very traditional folk Egyptian music, through that I had the chance to know more about the classical Arab music then I loved fusion and jazz and now I have decided to do my own new folk music.
Did you always want to be a performing artist ?
No at all, I discovered that I wanted to be a professional singer in 2011.
What was your inspiration for your debut album?
My inspiration comes from many things sometimes the bad stuff,the random things in Cairo,people you meet by luck and then they disappear.Lastly, my experience with Gilberto Gil was a great inspiration for my album.
Tell us about the Nile Project ?
I joined the Nile project in 2013 when the project started in Egypt / Aswan.
I joined the project because I felt it’s a very rare and important project, it’s not only a musical one but also a culture one . In addition I didn’t have the chance to meet all these amazing musicians by my own.One of the biggest reason was to get know more about my African identity.
How was the experience with Gilberto Gil in the Rolex mentors and protégé program?
To have Gil as a mentor was the best thing ever.His way of mentoring was all about giving you space around him to learn,he never told me what to do. Most of the time we were rehearsing, playing music and we had many discussions about the history of music in Brazil and Egypt. I think it will never end as we are still in touch Gil, Rolex and I . After the release of my album and the support that I got from them I started to look at my career in a different way
In general that was one of the best experience that happened to me not only in my music career but also in my personal life .
What are some of the lesson you have learnt?
I have learnt that Singers shouldn’t hear their voices they should only give their voices to the mass once they start to hear their voices it becomes a big mistake.I have also learnt that if I’m going to work with a group I have to listen them more and to also appreciate the silence .
In your music you discuss social and political issues. What are some of the issues you address?
I think the regime and the system in Middle East is controlling. I’m trying to describe some current street stories.
What are some of challenges you have encountered as an artist?
The political situation around us,most of us don’t feel free to create and express ourselves . This is because we live in fear. you fear for your life in your country. It is very discouraging but at the same time you must be optimistic. I think it’s all about the image because we do not know what the future holds.
What do you do during your free time ?
I hang out with my friends and traveling.Sometimes I just laze around the house 🙂 .I also enjoy attending concerts.
Future plans ?
I would love to release other albums and I’m looking forward to producing some albums for other artists.