we'd like to introduce you to pop artist Rotana. born and raised in Saudi Arabia, rotana began to pursue her music after she moved to the states. She recently put out an unedited and unfinished EP Demo Love Series, ending with the final track Side Effects that was released today. throughout her visuals, we see a lot of her signature locket engraved with scripture from the Quran, which serves as a reminder that we can discover new grounds while not forgetting where we came from. we've got to say, the unfiltered EP is so beautifully refreshing, and we're so stoked to hear what else is in store from Rotana.
Asymmetric Magazine: Congrats on your EP release! Tell us about Demo Love Series.
Rotana: It's an EP about love and heartbreak. Nothing revolutionary, but it kind of was to me. It was an inner revolution to embrace myself as a human being with a heart that breaks and not just a Saudi girl with a protest story. It’s crazy because as this EP is released and closes the chapter with Side Effects, which is a song about meeting someone new and asking them to move slowly because you have baggage. That’s exactly what is happening in my personal life right now.
AM: To accompany your EP, there is a lo-fi animation for each track. What made you choose to create these visuals? What was the process like?
R: I smoke weed and watch these videos by a YouTuber named Neotic. I've always loved the Simpsons and Lisa in particular. I think she's so smart and such a little shit. So, I combined those two things and made these visuals in an afternoon with my best friends.
AM: How does this EP compare to your previous work, including your singles like Daddy and Over You?
R: I would compare them, but what you are watching is an evolution and true process. These songs are raw, unmixed/mastered and definitely not completed. They are raw feelings I decided to put out. And the music coming next is finished and polished and has a very specific sound. I needed to make Daddy, Over You and the Demo Love Series to get to where I am.
It was an inner revolution to embrace myself as a human being with a heart that breaks and not just a Saudi girl with a protest story.
AM: How would you describe your sound?
R: Come to a show.
AM: What themes do you typically pursue through your music?
R: The body, sexuality, sensuality, freedom, intuition, and love (duh).
AM: What other musicians are currently inspiring you?
R: Sade, Alaanis, Fairouz
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
R: It plays a huge role in a sense that my collaborators are here. But I think I would be writing similar shit no matter where I was. It's coming from inside, you know? Not some external thing that happened to me in a city.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self/music?
R: On stage.
AM: What can we expect to hear from you next?
R: New music–we're gonna talk about sexuality first. It's going to sound like world music. It's going to be dope.