Cultures Introduction to Music

Introduction to: Faouzia

Illustration by Ben Beechener

Faouzia is one of my favourite musicians, and her talent is out of this world. Although she is gaining popularity, she still deserves much more recognition than she currently has. In a time where music is often heavily produced and edited, Faouzia’s natural talent is clear. This is something that keeps me listening.

Like many artists, Faouzia started by posting covers on YouTube, and this quickly earned her a contract. She has entered, and won, many songwriting competitions — including the International Songwriting Competition which she won alongside Matt Epp in 2016, and she has also won the teen category in 2017 with her single “Knock On My Door”. Faouzia achieved these awards as a teenager, and so as she continued to write and release songs, she found her musical style. She has also worked on some big collaborations, including songs titled “I Fly”, with the artist Galantis, which featured on the soundtrack for Scoob!; “Battle”, a collaboration with David Guetta; and her most recent collaboration, “Minefields” with John Legend.

Catchy pop songs always tend to land well, which are a large portion of Faouzia’s discography. One thing that I find unique about Faouzia’s music, though, is that she has the musical elements of upbeat pop songs which often contain quite shallow lyrics, but Faouzia’s lyrics are very meaningful and, well, the opposite of shallow. She candidly sings about moments in her life, or experiences she has had, in a way that is so relatable but also personal to Faouzia. For example, her song “You Don’t Even Know Me” portrays Faouzia as somebody who has been underestimated and dismissed, but is quietly confident. She sings this in a way that just about anybody can relate to, which is what makes her music so great. “You don’t even know / Where I kept the way I’ve grown / You don’t know about the way I love so deeply to my bones.” Another example is her most streamed song, “Tears of Gold”, which shows Faouzia giving her all to somebody only to get nothing in return. Again, the situation is not the most unique, but her songwriting makes the song really special, combining relatability with personal anecdotes. “Platinum love for you / I’d give no less for you / Generosity is my enemy / So I’m broke and your heart’s rich / Because of me.” Her latest song, “Hero”, is an incredibly catchy song about being hesitant to enter a relationship. The lyrics to this song are so simple, yet they sound perfect alongside the music and flow nicely: “Maybe I’m better off alone / At least that’s what my mind is saying / I think I’ve been through way too much / So you gotta assure / That this love is sure.” I’m surprised this song hasn’t gained more traction already.

Her voice, above all, is the reason I think Faouzia should be much more well known than she is. Her songs are great, and I really enjoy listening to them, but her voice is truly on another level. While you get a feel for the power she carries in her voice in her more upbeat pop songs, it’s actually in her ballads, acoustic, and stripped songs that we get to see her vocals shine. In 2020, she released her EP Stripped, a collection of 6 songs’ stripped (acoustic) versions. My personal favourite from here is “Tears of Gold – Stripped”, because not only is the song so much more personal and raw with minimal instrumentation, but Faouzia can flawlessly and powerfully hit the high notes, and even extend them from the regular studio version. Her live performances of this song sound virtually identical to the recorded songs, which is impressive given how powerful her vocals sound on those versions. There is also “100 Bandaids”, a song that has only been released as a stripped version, which sees Faouzia effortlessly go between low and unbelievably high notes.

My personal favourite song of Faouzia’s is “Exothermic” (Piano Version), as I think this song has the best combination of Faouzia’s lyrics being channeled into self-empowerment, alongside such incredibly strong vocals from her. The song shows her moving on from somebody who treated her poorly. “Playing with the flowers that I picked myself / Because I know they won’t come from anybody else / Wrap myself up to warm my hands / From the biting ice that you made them stand” is just one example of how Faouzia can use such beautiful lyrics to portray dark moments in her life… but her music doesn’t dwell on the negativity, as we see later in the song that she is just as strong, if not stronger, than before. “I don’t know if you know this / But when I shoot I score / Took this pain inside of me / Turned it into gold.” Her vocals do an amazing job of conveying this strength!

Singing really comes effortlessly to Faouzia, and her talent deserves so much more attention — I hope you enjoy her music as much as I do!

Gloria is a Junior Lifestyle Editor for The Oxford Blue. She is in her second year, studying Psychology & Linguistics at Christ Church. If not writing essays, you will usually find her binging a TV series, or procrastinating by re-organising her Spotify playlists.