shébani: you think you've seen it all before, but she's just getting started

Shébani's music will make you feel like a sassy, emotional, badass bitch. She's one to keep an eye out for! What inspired you to finally create your first EP, Alter Ego? I wouldn't say that it was an inspiration to start Alter Ego, because it was more of a sudden realisation that I had to take my musical career further (Looking at you Rayan!). I had to go from doing acoustic shows and singing covers to transforming this passion and molding myself into the artist that I've always wanted to become. And thankfully, with the help of many around me, I've now reached goals that I never thought I would. Alter Ego was only the beginning to what I now see as a constant thing in my life.

Do you remember how you felt before your first live performance as Shébani? Yes, very much! My first live performance as Shébani was in London during my songwriting course at BIMM. It was with a full live band and I was extremely nervous, but once I stepped on stage, the nerves turned into something that felt extremely powerful yet humbling. You slowly ease into it and suddenly you're having the time of your life.

Who do you think is killing the music scene right now? I can't really pick just one! I'd say it's a collective thing. Many UAE based artists are coming out with incredible work, and many UAE based producers are the reason these artists are making such big moves. I'm beyond proud of every single name that has been building this scene years back, and emerging ones who are introducing new and fresh ideas.

Figure It Out feels like a sassy and badass theme song for a girl going through a break up - what's the story behind it? I truly love it when people interpret my songs in different ways. And that is why we put music out there, it doesn't matter why you wrote it, the only thing that matters is how others interpret it based on a certain situation they're going through. It's all theirs for the taking. But if I were to be more precise, Figure It Out is a representation of ridding bad energy and clearing it out of your life. Whether it's because you're causing it to yourself or experiencing it from external factors like strangers, friends or family. Even if you know for a fact that some people will never be like you, you should take pride in that because whatever drama they're causing you, one day they'll "figure it out" and realise that "the joke is on them."

Who is your dream feature? I've got plenty, but surprisingly, the one that I always end up going back to is Ed Sheeran. He's inspired me numerous times, and continues to do so. It's easy for me to pick an RnB artist like Drake or Jhene Aiko, but what interests me the most is learning from artists who fall under a slightly different category. I think if I ever worked with Ed Sheeran, I'd be able to uncover a whole world of songwriting. He is after all one of the best songwriters we know today.

Is there a particular message you want to spread through your music? Many! But what matters to me the most is making sure that I'm true to myself when I'm working on a song or writing a song. I absolutely LOVE listening to artists who spread joy and dance and good vibes. But I never was able to see myself doing something like that. I like to tackle emotions and topics that we don't get to speak of every day. Things we think of in our loneliest or most vulnerable moments, and are too afraid to address. THAT'S what I want to know about you. I'm a sucker for depth and understanding what it really means to stay real and spread truth.

What's the next chapter for Shébani? Won't say much about that, but there's definitely a lot of exciting things happening very soon! Hold tight! Finally, what's your favourite type of cake? Honey honey honey!

Follow Shébani on Instagram at @shebanimusic and keep an eye out for the final Alter Ego era music video out August 16!

All images used are courtesy of @shebanimusic