Palestinian artist Noel Kharman delves into the deepest corners of her heart and mind with her debut EP titled Mouthakerti which released earlier this month.
The album that was recorded in Amman, Jordan establishes Kharman’s place in the Middle Eastern music scene as she dictates a story through her EP. Mouthakerti directly translates to ‘My Diary,’ and for Noel, it is a “voyage of self-discovery,” the artist said.
In a conversation with City Times, the artist reveals her thoughts behind the debut EP, some of the tracks like Ann Al Awan and Mamnounlak, and what the listeners can take away from her music.
Congratulations on the release of your debut EP, ‘Mouthakerti.’ Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the title and what it means to you?
Mouthakerti signifies my personal journal. I selected this name because the EP’s songs are deeply intimate, much like sharing my feelings and experiences in a journal. The EP holds a lot of emotional openness that isn’t usually shared, making this name the best fit for it
The EP delves into the depths of your personal experiences and emotions. Could you share some insights into how the process of creating such an introspective collection of songs was for you?
Creating some songs was tough due to the emotional memories they brought up. Working with my producer and other writers made it hard to share personal stories about my father’s passing, my mother’s situation, breakups, and my own struggles. But as we worked on the songs, it felt like therapy. Putting these feelings into words helped me release hidden emotions and made me feel lighter in the end.
‘Ann Al Awan’ seems to have struck a chord with audiences, amassing a massive 23 million views on YouTube. Could you walk us through the story behind this powerful track and its significance to you?
You might already know that Ann Al Awan is a deeply personal song for me. Interestingly, it doesn’t focus on my own feelings and struggles. Instead, it tells the story of my mother’s journey after my father’s passing, highlighting the significant impact from her perspective. I dedicated this song to my mom and others who’ve lost someone close, as a way to acknowledge and honour all they’ve been through.
One of the tracks on the EP, ‘Enta Eli,’ features a collaboration with renowned artist Big Sam. What was the collaboration like?
Big Sam is a dear friend of mine, and I’ve always admired his music as a fan. We had been discussing a collaboration for quite some time, and when I wrote Enta Eli, I sensed that his contribution would greatly enhance the track. I was confident that he would elevate it to new heights. I reached out to him about the song, expressing my desire for his involvement. Surprisingly, he sent me his verse the following day, and that’s when the creative synergy truly blossomed. The experience of filming the music video and reconnecting was enjoyable, adding to the overall satisfaction. I take immense pride in the outcome of this track.
Your EP covers a range of themes from heartbreak and loss to self-discovery and hope. How did you approach translating these emotions into music, and what do you hope listeners will take away from these tracks?
The journey was quite extensive, encompassing both challenging and enjoyable moments. At times, grasping and conveying my emotions posed difficulty, hindering the songwriting process, while on other occasions, it flowed effortlessly. My approach involves deriving inspiration from situations or memories, often unrelated to my current experiences. These become the foundation for my songwriting. My aspiration is that listeners can connect with these songs, finding resonance in their own lives. Ideally, the music might offer them solace, reassuring them that they aren’t alone in their struggles and experiences similar to mine.
As an artist with a growing presence in both the regional and Canadian music scenes, how do you navigate the balance between different musical cultures and audiences?
It’s not widely known, but I began creating mashups at the age of 16. These mashups combined English and Arabic elements, attracting listeners both from the region and abroad. This helped in cultivating a diverse fanbase. Interestingly, a considerable number of Arabs living in Western countries have a strong affinity for Middle Eastern music. Currently, my aim is to produce Arabic music that resonates globally, catering to audiences all around the world.
‘Mouthakerti’ signifies a significant milestone in your music career. How do you feel this EP represents your growth as an artist since your earlier work?
This EP marked a crucial milestone in my journey. It served as a voyage of self-discovery, allowing me to identify my true artistic direction and sonic identity. Initially, clarity might not have been as pronounced during the creative process, yet upon its completion, my vision crystallized. The EP has been thankfully successful, and the experience of its creation was incredibly rewarding. I acquired invaluable insights and skills, which have readied me for my upcoming EP with great enthusiasm.
Tell us your personal favourite track from the EP?
Ann Al Awan holds a significant place in my heart due to its personal importance. Its success has undeniably elevated my journey to a new stage. Moreover, I have a strong affinity for Mamnounlak — the melody and production resonate with me. The song exudes empowerment, and whenever I listen to it, I’m filled with a sense of strength and inspiration.
What’s next for your music career following the release of ‘Mouthakerti’? Are there any exciting projects or collaborations on the horizon?
I’m thrilled about the upcoming projects as my vision is now crystal clear. I’ve defined the topics I wish to explore, the sonic landscape, visual aesthetics, and all the accompanying elements. While I can’t disclose any specific collaborations at this moment, I’m eagerly looking forward to what lies ahead. Anticipation is high for a fruitful and creative year ahead, with hopes that the next year will bring an abundance of amazing experiences.