Emel Mathlouthi is a singer in the most direct, impactful sense of the word.
The Tunisian-born/New York-based performer can twist established songs into fresh shapes, continually finding a place of her own within the material.
A startlingly original songwriter, her work fuses together aspects of her Arabic heritage with a love for Western pop.
The experimental singer partners with Partisan on her next project, with 'Everywhere We Looked Was Burning' becoming her first ever English language album.
Constructed during an extensive spell in France, the final mixdown was aided by Chris Tabron and Marta Salogni.
Out on September 27th, 'Everywhere We Looked Was Burning' is an impactful record, one with real depth to the material.
Clash caught up with Emel Mathlouthi to uncover a few of the Influences that ripple through her music...
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Joan Baez - 'The Boxer'
My guitarist from my first metal band played me this track once, the Joan Baez version, it literally changed my life... the emotions I felt were so powerful that I just saw so clear what I wanted to do, I quit my band and started a solo career in which I tried to make powerful music to change the world and help people believe in themselves in their freedom.
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The Cranberries - 'Zombie'
This is the first track I played on the guitar and started accompanying myself singing covers then ultimately started writing my own songs.
This track helped me express the rebel AND the powerful singer/performer in me. I became a little celebrity with this track in our student community in Tunis.
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Dead Can Dance - 'The Wind That Shakes The Barely'
This is the first a capella song I had ever performed and to this day it gives me the chills.
I have trained my voice with Celine Dion and Whitney Houston then started singing metal and goth metal songs but singing this song has always opened a very mystical part of me I haven’t suspected it existed.
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Marcel Khalife - 'Asfour Tall Min Echibbek'
The first Arabic song that a Palestinian friend of mine suggested I perform. It was quite a revelation because I loved it so much that it became a classic of my repertoire and decided for the rest of my path where I traded singing in English to singing in Arabic.
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Jeff Buckley - 'New Year’s Prayer'
And this brought me back the opposite way, singing in English again. I love Jeff’s voice and incredible talent as an interpreter. this one to me is his most majestical performance.
It inspired me a hybrid version half way between his and my own universe ('Fallen') with which I have been opening all of my concerts for the last three years. I found a stronger and more authentic version of me that inspired the new direction I took on my last record.
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'Everywhere We Looked Was Burning' will be released on September 27th. Catch Emel Mathlouthi at London's Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on November 5th.
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