The record faker: Meet pop artist Zineb Belrhiti


When Zineb Belrhiti was growing up, she tells Arab News, “I was much more into Western culture: I watched a lot of American movies and I listened to American and British music. I didn’t want to listen to the big Arabic artists my parents were listening to.

”The Moroccan-born artist’s experience is typical of her peers growing up in the cultural jumble of Dubai. “I only lived in Morocco until I was three. I grew up in the UAE.

I went to a French school, so I was surrounded by people from different nationalities — and in general the UAE is very multicultural,” she says. But as she entered her late teens, Belrhiti began to feel somewhat unrooted — another experience that many in the UAE will be able to relate to. “I realized that I felt pretty far from my own culture,” she says.

“I didn’t really feel Moroccan, but I’m not French either. I speak French and I’ve grown up with French culture, but I can’t say I’m French, because I’m not. At the same time, I can’t say I’m from the UAE because, even though I’ve spent my life here, I don’t have a UAE passport.

“I don’t think it’s only me, I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to,” she continues. “And this disconnect from every culture made me want to get closer to my Moroccan roots and to Arab culture in general.”

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