New sounds and top collaborators: everything we know about Ahlam’s next album

The Emirati singer will release her 13th album in February

Emirati singer Ahlam is readying the release of her 13th album. Courtesy Samer Halimeh
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Ahlam is set to return with her first album in five years.

The Emirati pop star, full name Ahlam Al Shamsi, commands a fervent fan base in the region, so the announcement that her 13th and yet-to-be-titled album will drop on February 1 has been met with much anticipation.

The singer's last album was 2016's Ylazmni Khayalak, and much of her time since has been dedicated to regional and international touring, with shows played in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, London and Paris.

Her tour resulted in two live-music albums, recorded at various shows, including London Concert (Palladium Theatre), based on her UK show in August 2017, and Haflet Souq Okaz, a recording of her 2019 concert in the Saudi Arabian city of Taif.

However, the coming album will see long-awaited new music from the star, who has been drip feeding teasers on social media alongside the hashtag #Ahlam2021.

Here's what we know about the album so far...

The sound

Ahlam teased fans on Friday by dropping a 23-second video featuring snippets from five different songs.

While the previews are short, there is enough to tell us that Ahlam’s album is shaping up to be a varied affair, with string-drenched ballads, mid- and up-tempo Khaleeji pop sounds, and an intriguing number that sees Ahlam singing in a rare major key.

Ahlam's management dropped another hint on Twitter, posting a 10-second preview of the song, Daftar Wa Mamaha, which features Ahlam's smoky vocals sailing over Khaleeji percussion.

The personnel

A lover of Gulf poetry, Ahlam enlisted esteemed writers to contribute lyrics to her songs. They include Saudi Arabian poets Khaled Al Oud and Abdullah Abu Ras, and Emirati Hassan Al Obaidly.

On the production front, Ahlam spared no expense by bringing in some of the best Gulf producers and composers, including long-time Saudi collaborators Talal and Sadeg Al Shaer, Bahraini producer Hisham Al Sakran and Egypt's Osama El Hendy.

With such talent behind the scenes, Ahlam’s 13th album could prove to be fortuitous affair.

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