As President Joe Biden embarked on history-making talks with top Saudi Arabian officials, “MTSU On the Record” reviewed the fast-paced changes in the Saudi music scene.
You can listen to their conversation via the SoundCloud link below.
With help from Department of Recording Industry chair and Grammy-nominated sound engineer John Merchant, Foley organized a concert and academic symposium on the emerging independent music scene in Saudi Arabia.
The event took place at Hayy Jameel Cultural Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in March 2022.
Singer-songwriter Ghada Sheri; Moe Abdo, a Sudanese musician who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia; rhythm-and-blues artist Ahmed Amin; and singer Hamza Hawsawi, winner of the 2015 “X-Factor Middle East” competition, entertained the night before the symposium.
“We had different speakers talk about legal issues, about copyright issues, how scheduling was going to be done, how artists are going to be paid, those types of issues,” Foley said of the symposium.
“We also had a special session … about songwriting, the types of things that go into songwriting (and) to help Saudi musicians develop their own skills.”
For her part, Raghad said she truly appreciated Foley’s expertise, which includes extensive writings on the Arab world, including his 2019 book “Changing Saudi Arabia: Art, Culture and Society in the Kingdom.”
“I really enjoyed working with someone who knows about us more than anybody else, and we worked together so that it became a very beautiful work,” Raghad said. “I’m really proud of what we’ve done, and I’m sure we can do more of that.”
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
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