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Interview with Sonia M’barek on Al Jazeera

The singer is a witness to the times in which he or she lives.

“When I was three years old, I used to learn melodies without the words. I knew the melodies of all the Arabic and Tunisian songs I listened to. I’d pick up the melody as soon as I heard it.

My grandmother used to sing me old songs. She has been a great influence on the way I sing and the music I like.

I then started to study music.

I began singing at an early age. The first song I sang was called Papa, Tell Me About Her. The singer Adnan Chaouachi introduced me to the Tunisian audience through this song. And it all started from there. I was 11 years old at that time.

I sang for young people, for freedom and for peace. I sang in the theatre in Tunis. I gained more experience singing Tunisia’s traditional maluf music.

As I grew older, I discovered that music is a universal language. It is something that cannot be confined to only one language. Even if it is in the world’s most beautiful language, which, in my opinion, is of course Arabic.

I perform as a singer, but not just because it is my vocation. For me, singing is my personality and my soul.

I cherish being considered a singer because it is not easy for anyone to be successful in this profession. It takes a lot. It requires being open-minded, creative and putting on outstanding performances for your own people and for the wider world. This is the role of a singer.

The singer is a witness to the times in which he or she lives.

My singing is a continuing journey towards the ‘other’. On the condition that this other culture respects my creativity and respects and believes in dialogue.”