credit: Izzy Commers
It’s tempting to describe Dua Saleh as a natural. An artist who only began recording music two years ago isn’t supposed to sing with such infectious bravado and haunting gloom. Yet to say Dua, who identifies as gender non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns, has arrived fully-formed on their first ever EP project titled Nūr (pronounced “noor” - meaning “the light” in Arabic). They may have just decided to try songwriting, but they’ve spent their life working across divisions: borders, mediums, identities, and protest lines.
It is Dua Saleh’s fluidity of sound and form that makes them so enlivening. Their vocal range is elastic, floating from an elegant purr into an unvarnished, guttural growl, and then back again at a moment’s notice. Their writing can be dreamy, but more often plumbs the soul, pricking deep with a poet’s precision and showing the scars that remain. To listen to Dua Saleh is to hear, in real time, someone fight for the right to define themselves for themselves.
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