Rotana's music always feels like heat, an eruption. There's a reason for that. Every song she writes, whether it's about love, freedom or rebellion is an invitation to experience an eruption of self. To let it all out. Be all of you and not compromise for anything or anyone. She knows what it is to wake up one day and realize. Holy shit, I'm not really sure who I am, what I believe in and what I am on this planet to fight for. Rotana's music is here to fight for going back to a place of intuition. Where you are letting the voice inside of you guide and explode. Not the voice society and culture throw at you. This is 2017. This is Generation Z. This is the future. It is female. It is powerful. It is animal -- and it is free.
Rotana's debut single "Daddy" was released on January 27. It was featured on Spotify New Music Friday and Apple Music Pop Hot Tracks. "The song "Daddy" is about the moment you step into your power" states Rotana. "It's the decision to question shit and not dilute yourself to make other people more comfortable. Daddy is societal boundaries, the obsession with celebrity and wealth. Most of all, Daddy is the voice in your head that has convinced you that you can't."
Rotana was born in Saudi Arabia, a beautiful, complicated place and one of the most conservative environments in the world. In Saudi Arabia, women must subscribe to a male guardianship system. You are not a complete individual without the permission of a male. Basic rights that we take for granted are simply denied there. In 2013, Rotana moved to the U.S. on an employee scholarship from Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, fully owned by the Saudi government. She immediately began to pursue music while attaining her Masters degree at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. With music, came a path to herself and what she wanted. Rotana quit her job to pursue music full time.
Her lyrics are brooding "Shooting up the same hit, fake it till you make it. I'm never Going Back," but they are hopeful. In her song "Never Going Back" Rotana howls her essence she fought so hard to find into the world "I'm calling like a wolf to the night, come away with me to a place we can be bright as the stars."
At her core, Rotana is an explosive lover. She doesn't really know to exist in a middle place. She admits "It is my curse and my greatest gift," "I grew up in a place where, if you want to be heard you've got to get really, really loud with it." You hear this in songs like "Over You," a declaration of not being able to let go of dysfunctional love. "Back then I did give. Back then I did open up my skin. But what did it fix? You wouldn't let me in."
The greatest lover of Rotana's life however is the story. The narrative. Although music is her deepest passion, she declares herself a storyteller first. She sees herself as the growing pains of a place like Saudi Arabia. She comes in a sexy, dynamite, articulate package that challenges what both the East and the West expect her to be. She will write books and give TED Talks. Music is a marketing tool for the larger brand that is ROTANA. Rotana will use herself as permission "To let all the 'dirty' corners of yourself that society and fluff culture tell you are 'forbidden' or 'not dope enough' to skinny dip in the moonlight."
Rotana debuted her upcoming project at The 2017 Sundance Film Festival "A Celebration of Music and Film Concert." She shared the stage with Common, Andra Day, Jim James, Hunter Hayes, Peter Dinklage, Ava DuVernay and more.