RIYADH: Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice, establishing herself as a unique presence in the world of jazz music.
She likes singing famous jazz songs such as “What a Wonderful World,” “Comes Love,” “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “My Funny Valentine.”
Al-Sharif took the stage with the Jazzdotorg band, who had traveled from New York, for their inaugural performance in Saudi Arabia in May. The unforgettable night took place at the Ithra Center in Dhahran.
“I recently became aware of my purpose during my most recent performance at Ithra, where I was invited as a guest of honor as a Saudi jazz singer to perform with a fantastic jazz band that was visiting Alkhobar for the first time from New York. Following that, I want to concentrate on jazz compositions with a Saudi touch with the hopes of promoting Saudi jazz globally,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.
At the age of 5, Al-Sharif discovered her talent for the stage, finding joy in moving and dancing to music. Over time, she nurtured her skills and taught herself the art of singing.
“As I grew older in my teenage years, I discovered my love for singing on my own. My mother has always supported my love for art, such as painting and, nowadays, singing.
“She is a huge supporter and my backbone who believes in my talent and loves me. I’ve always loved music and listening to Disney movies songs,” she said.
After the sudden loss of her father to a heart attack at 24, Al-Sharif found solace in singing, using it as a way to sing away her sorrow. She believes her late father was a significant support and feels he would continue to be if he were alive.
“My father was a musician who used to play the oud instrument and loved music, I know that if my father were still living today, he would be extremely proud.”
In her journey to discover her music style, Al-Sharif initially began singing in Arabic. However, at the age of 23, she crossed paths with an underground music band in Jeddah called Disturb the Balance, who assisted her in transitioning to English music.
“When I first tried to sing in English, I started with alternative rock like evanescence and learned the timing and harmonies. Then, in 2016, I met a blues musician who, after hearing me sing, encouraged me to listen to jazz and blues. At the time, I thought singing in English was very difficult and I wished I could do that, which was a big challenge.
“I chose to remain with blues and jazz because it spoke to me and felt natural to me.”
Al-Sharif believes that singing heals her soul, and is an expression of feelings and pain — and more expressive than playing an instrument.
“I used to be hard on myself for not knowing how to play the piano, but then I realized that I was surrounded by wonderful musicians with whom I could collaborate. I love to share energy with kind people and produce art that comes from various souls.”
In 2019, Al-Sharif participated in an episode of “Arabs Got Talent” to gain more experience in performing and overcome her stage shyness. Since then, she has graced various stages, including MDLBeast and the Saudi International Golf Tournament at KAEC.
She has performed at many events in AlUla, Ithra in the Eastern Province, as well as at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, and MDLBeast in Riyadh.
“I’ve been working on breaking the barrier of creating songs from the heart, which I believe is really difficult and profound. I’m in the process of writing original songs with the assistance of friends and writers,” she said.