Ahmed Soultan
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Ahmed Soultan Wins EMAs


Moroccan singer-songwriter picks up Best Middle East Artist prize at MTV Europe awards show in Frankfurt


December 06, 2012

Moroccan singer and multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Soultan was named Best Middle East Act at last month’s MTV Europe Music Awards. Soultan was chosen as the winner by MTV viewers throughout Europe, and – having picked up the regional prize, beating Saudi rapper Qusai, Lebanese-Canadian singer Karl Wolf, Egyptian star Sandy and Tunisian rapper Karim Al Gharbi – went on to win the award for Best Africa, Middle East and India Act too.

“When I asked why [I was nominated], they said [“My Jailer,” which had been put on heavy rotation on MTV] was, like, easy listening,” he says. “Even if people couldn’t understand the words, they could feel the emotions.”

Soultan, who sings mainly in Arabic and Berber, as well as English and French, describes his music as “Afrobean.” “It’s a mix between the African roots of my country, plus Middle Eastern melodies, plus a Western format, you know? With the chorus coming in before one minute and stuff,” he explains.

Soultan is currently working on his third album – which he began around 18 months ago. He’s working with “a couple of names that should make you happy,” including Parliament and Funkadelic founder George Clinton, saxophonist Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis – famed for his work with James Brown, and trombonist Fred Wesley, who has worked with both men previously. “We are trying to do something authentic,” Soultan says, “trying to continue research on the Afrobean sound.”

The singer is adamant that while the awards have raised interest, he doesn’t feel under any extra pressure. “Nothing’s gonna change man,” he says. “I have no pressure, because I’m an indie artist. I was working hard, and I’m still gonna work hard. And if everything stopped right now, I’d be happy to have had those experiences.