"My name is Maram, and I am from Kuwait. I started my career as a singer in 1997 when my first album I will not betray you was released. Six albums of mine have been released in the market. I had a production contract with Rotana, but now I produce my own albums.

I have sung Gulf songs for most of those I listened to when I was young. I am, of course, of a different generation than the old one, but I used to listen to Umm Kulthum, Farid al-Atrash and I loved songs of Abdul Halim Hafez, Warda and Mayyada al-Hinnawi.

All these singers have distinguished styles, and I have learned a lot from them. The singer that had the most influence on me when I first started my career was the Kuwaiti, Nawal. I wanted to be like her. 

In the Gulf, our problem is that we are restricted with the traditions of a very conservative society. Up until now, we look as if we are doing something wrong, but singing is a people's culture. If we trace our history, we find that women used to welcome and sing for divers when they came back from their long cruises.

There are specific chants for each occasion, and women used to sing them; such as Ouda al-Mhanna and Aysha al-Marta. Where are these women now? They were here, and their role was important.

In the Arab world, there are more female singers than male singers. Arab women artists are well supported. Some of them have become goodwill ambassadors and others have reached good positions, unlike us in the Gulf."

Next Music Station
airs at the following times GMT each week: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.

Click here for more on the series.

Source: Al Jazeera