Interviews

Interview with indie darling: Rotana


I lost my shit and it felt so right. You’ve gotta question it all. The system. “Daddy” is any bully that requires you to dilute yourself to make them more comfortable.About 'Daddy'


I am calling like a wolf to night, come away with me to a place we can bright as the stars, come away with me to a place we can be, just as we are.Chorus of 'Never Going Back'

Interview with Rotana

What inspired your powerful and honest lyrics?

My life really! I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. It was a beautiful safe and happy place to grow up in. It is always a very conservative environment culturally. I wanted to fit in so I went on with my life following the rules and not causing any disruption. I woke up one day thinking  

“Who the hell am I? What the heck do I believe in?” I had no idea. I write music as a reminder to myself that I am free. That I will be the one to define what freedom and life is going to look like for me. Not any societal construct whether it’s America or Saudi Arabia. “Daddy” speaks to that. “Daddy” is the bully, the oppressor. Anyone that requires you to dilute yourself in order to make them feel more comfortable. That song is about the moment you step into your power and say “this is me in all of me. Here I am. I’m not going anywhere” “ So, whachu gon’ do, Daddy?”

The other thing I write about is love, of course. I experience feelings in such a saturated way. It’s intense. I go hard at love and when you go hard and that fast you hit things, you bruise and sometimes you crash. So there’s a lot of that. I’m trying to do less crashing though

Whenever I hear from anyone that was born into boundaries that my music felt like permission to just let who they are erupt, I am just on the highest high.

How does it feel to hear your music on many blogs and websites?

– It’s really cool! This whole thing already feels surreal to me. If you told me just 4 years ago I would be a singer and writer in LA swimming with the sharks in the industry I would laughed in your face. My 15 year old self would think I’m the coolest thing ever.

What has been the most fulfilling experience of inspiration due to your music so far? (Because it is honestly inspiring and so perfectly set up)

Honestly, watching my little sister grow into a confident woman that is unafraid to be different and believes in magic is it for me. Whenever I hear from anyone that was born into boundaries that my music felt like permission to just let who they are erupt, I am just on the highest high.

Do you have a personal mantra or philosophy that motivates you on music and life?

I wrote this song called “Never Going Back.” The chorus repeats “ I am calling like a wolf to night, come away with me to a place we can bright as the stars, come away with me to a place we can be, just as we are”.

That’s my philosophy. To howl out my essence to world with no apologies and invite others to do the same.  

You can hear the extreme joy, pain, confusion and finally, the surrender in it.

How would you classify your music?, it’s not pop nor rock but it blends their qualities so uniquely and beautifully.

It’s cinematic pop. That’s how I would describe it. My upcoming songs are quite romantic and not on the rock side at all. Especially my upcoming single in March “The Cure”.  What the all have in common is that they explode and have cinema in them.

How have your personal experiences come through your music?

There honestly isn’t a single way my personal experiences have not come through my music. There isn’t a single song I have written that doesn’t come directly from what I am going through. The desire to go back to a place where I am more in touch with the uninhibited animal in me is so present in the lyrics of songs like “Never Going Back”. Parts of me are always in opposition. The parts of me that want to be loved and approved of by my society and those around me, and the other parts of me that are screaming to be just as they are with no layers suffocating them. I always choose the later, but that struggle, that angst, that eruption I keep talking about is always in my melodies.
The past 3 years I have been in love and hurting at the same time. That is all over my writing as well. You can hear the extreme joy, pain, confusion and finally, the surrender in it. I am so excited to show these new songs!

What do you think or want Rotana to represent for women, girls, men and boys? I believe you have the voice to lead and to inspire personally and I love that capacity in music.

I want my music to help people get loud with who they are. I want them to not be afraid to create something that doesn’t exist or isn’t allowed in their culture, society world etc. I want them to question shit. The greatest form of human control is the suppression of the sense of the possible. I want ROTANA and all that will come of my career in music, film and brand collaborations to set all these possibilities on fire and bring them to life. 

How was the transition from the corporate world to the mystery of music? (Rotana used to work for one of the biggest companies in the world – Saudi Aramco)

It was very scary. I had never written a song or had any formal training in voice or for my music. I had no idea what the hell I was doing! My transition into music paralleled a time in my life where I decided to take off all the layers and live life the way I wanted to and the way it felt right to me, not the way I was taught to. So it was all terrifying, I was putting myself out there in so many ways. But it was incredible, people saw that and gravitated towards me, became my teachers, and now my best friends and collaborators.

A experience that you feel marked you and set you on the path to music?

There wasn’t a single experience at all. It was more so having this amazing job straight out of college and killing, making money and living the “dream” I guess, yet being so depressed and feeling a hole. I decided to finally quote the noise on the outside and listen to what my insides had to say. Somehow, music popped up. Truly, out of nowhere. But you know, it wasn’t nowhere, it was always there just waiting for me to listen.

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That’s my philosophy. To howl out my essence to world with no apologies and invite others to do the same.

For More of the interview with Rotana be on the lookout for some more questions that will be showcased in the upcoming new website: Style by Nomads (Link coming soon)