DUBAI: The new video for singer Lolo Zouai’s “Desert Rose” is here and it’s a beautiful celebration of her North African roots.
The Franco-Algerian singer, who was born Laureen Zouai in France to a French mother and an Algerian father and relocated to San Francisco with her family when she was three-months-old, wrote the song as a love letter to her Algerian family.
Zouai (pronounced “zoo-eye”) has been vocal about her period of internal struggle during which she felt she wasn’t as in touch with her Algerian heritage as she would have liked. These feelings informed her fourth single, whose title alludes to the rose-like crystal formations that occur in the desert of Algeria, and further plays on her existing feelings of not belonging.
Filmed in an unnamed village situated in Morocco’s Essaouira, the Emilie Badenhorst-directed clip further captures the 24-year-old’s feelings of displacement and desperate longing to reconnect with her father’s side of the family’s culture and traditions.
In the video, the singer croons “‘Inshallah,’ that’s what you say/ You think I lost my faith,” as she fraternizes with local children, watches a group of elders make couscous and traverses the sea in a boat all while wearing a mix of Western clothing and traditional Berber accessories.
“This is a story I’ve needed to tell my whole life,” the singer shared with Arab News. “I’m so grateful that I was able to travel to North Africa and work with an amazing director and crew to create this video exactly as I saw it in my mind.”
“To be honest, I was really scared to share this part of my life, but hopefully you guys understand me a little better now,” she shared with her 223,000 Instagram followers, alongside a wilted rose emoji.
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Desert rose video out now. I’m so grateful I was able to travel to North Africa to tell my story. To be honest, I was really scared to share this part of my life but hopefully you guys understand me a little better now. Thank you to the director @emiliebadenhorst for making this come to life. It means the world to me!! & big thanks to everyone who worked on this video with me. Shot by @toddmartin Produced by @couscous Edited by @thekidmatt HMU by @flowenchy Styled by @meriambe @lepomponm Colored by @rickygausis @mpcla_colorists Titles by @samm
“Desert Rose” is from her debut studio album entitled “High Highs to Low Lows” that dropped in 2019. Since its release, the project has amassed more than 50 million streams worldwide. In addition to the success of her own LP, the singer was also recognized for her song-writing skills in 2019 when she took home her first Grammy award for co-writing “Still Down” from H.E.R.’s self-titled album, which took home the R&B Album of the Year award at the Grammys that same year.
As of now, the Brooklyn-based singer is set to open up for British crooner Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” European tour in 2020.
The new music video will be screened all week at Time’s Square and Madison Square Garden in New York as well as The Staples Center in Los Angeles.