The former TV contestant turned recording artist is really one to watch.
Her passion for music first began aged 4, after auditioning for a role in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
And now, years later, the thrill of performing still resonates with Aishah Al Banawi, who skyrocketed into the public eye with a scene-stealing turn on Arabs Got Talent.
The Saudi singer, who is based in the US but has previously lived in Jeddah, competed in the 2015 season of the talent show—and her spine-tingling rendition of Etta James’ At Last ensured she scored a place in the semi-finals.
Al Banawi revealed she had a mixed response to her participation, with friends and family both supporting her and sharing worries over the show.
“There were people who wanted to support my decision to be on the show from the very beginning because they knew this was something that I really wanted,” the singer told Elan magazine.
“Then there were people who supported it once they saw the first performance air, because they were convinced once the success of the show started to kick in.
“But it feels good that I fought for something I wanted. It felt like a battle for my artist self, and I had to defend my creative self, and nurture it. So I feel like a stronger artist because of this experience.”
Following her small-screen appearances, Al Banawi continued her studies at New York City’s Columbia University, from which she graduated last year.
Shortly thereafter, the Saudi songstress inked a recording deal with music producer Randy Jackson.
The rising star was also spotted on last month’s Grammys red carpet, wearing a design by her cousin, Dubai-based Arwa Al Banawi.
Attending the awards show was a “dream come true”, the singer revealed on Instagram, adding that “I’ve grown up watching it every year admiring the performers”.
“This dress created by my cousin meant the world to wear. She created this dress that states ‘her life’ on the back on behalf of a feminine movement occurring now,” Al Banawi posted.
Last night was sincerely a dream come true. To attend the Grammys has always been a dream of mine…as I’ve grown up watching it every year admiring the performers, and their incredible artistic work that heals people and connects people. Their phenomenal out-of-this-world talents, and the space that is shared among the creators of sound. This dress created by my cousin @arwaalbanawi meant the world to wear. She created this dress that states, “her life” on the back on behalf of a feminine movement occurring now. • As we re-define, re-claim, and resurrect these innate life force knowledges, we shift perspectives on how we see ourselves and how we give back to the world through our “deeply female” selves. This to me isn’t just a “modern” movement. It is invoking a memory. An ancient memory and a reminder of what was always there. A re-alignment of our cosmic female nature. I am sincerely grateful to @contentkartel and @people magazine for allowing me the space to share about my projects with @randyjackson, for @voguearabia / @voguemagazine, @glamourmag , @raraearrings for sending my protective stone earrings, also for Teleshow, Turkishny, Sonhaber, and @thecut for placing me next to @ladygaga who looked STUNNING. (I almost fainted, hence nervous photo above ^^) and to my family, team, and dear friends ( you know who you are) that made it possible. Thank you thank you God. #Grammys
“As we redefine, reclaim, and resurrect these innate life force knowledges, we shift perspectives on how we see ourselves and how we give back to the world through our ‘deeply female’ selves. This to me isn’t just a “modern” movement. It is invoking a memory. An ancient memory and a reminder of what was always there.”
It’s not known exactly what music Al Banawi is working on, or exactly when we can expected singles and albums to drop, but she previously revealed a desire to “translate Arabic poems and sing them in English”.
“Arabic poetry is so vast and profound. I think it would sound great next to a melody line,” she told Elan.
“I would like my music to be a bridge combining sounds of the Middle East with Western music.”
We’re calling it now: she’s definitely one to watch in 2018.
Images: Aishah Al Banawi/Instagram