On her debut single ‘East Coast Hiding’, Dounia sets us straight from the get-go. ‘Ain’t too concerned with conforming, fitting in is foreign to a woman like me,’ she asserts. The 21 year old Moroccan-American singer, activist and model only just recently released her debut EP Intro To, a laidback yet complex vibe that’s always honest. A true testament to herself, Intro To showcases her belief in utilizing her platform for empowering women.
Like her Instagram presence, Dounia’s music embodies her calm confidence. Her sultry voice arms her raw lyrics (“we confined to a good time, we confined to a one-night. To a fuck but I won’t wife, to a like but I won’t try.“) Her music is her. It’s real in every sense of the word, as an outspoken activist not putting on a façade or a persona. In a time where we’re so desperate for realness that we’re willing to fake it, Dounia’s authenticity is refreshing. She means everything she does – her voice shows it. Even her decision to release her EP independently preserves the feeling of her music. “I’m terribly offended they’re commending mediocrity / Are we honestly praising this commodity,” she declares on ‘Shyne’, an anthem for believing in your own talents. Confronting the artificiality of the industry, she eloquently declares her own mission to prove them wrong. She’s not a pop-star prototype and she’s not trying to be one either. She’s just unapologetically herself.
Dounia’s music creates a laidback, soothing soundtrack to a city summer, the glowing sunset to backdrop the grit. There’s a calm 90s nostalgia to her music – the Barbie Ferreira-directed music video for ‘So Cool’ even alludes to the 1996 cult film The Craft. In this new track, she explores the phenomenon that girls are constantly pressured into being, especially in relationships. “She just wanna be your dream girl/ Real cool, never be a mean girl,” she muses. “Never call like, “Why you with that one girl?” / She don’t wanna be like them girls.” Her dulcet vocals are opinionated but still dreamy, addressing and advocating for what she believes, for what she wants to say. In contrast to the aforementioned pop culture construct, Dounia speaks her truth on what it’s like to be a modern girl – when you’re confronted by mediocrity, uncertainty and a world that’s against you, sometimes it’s nice to remember that we just got to be ourselves in the end.