It’s time to make you sweat.
Alewya – her name meaning “most high” or “the highest” in Arabic – was born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian father raised in Sudan and an Ethiopian mother. Her family would later relocate to West London as refugees. She later moved to New York City for a while as a teenager before eventually returning back to England. Accordingly, her sound is informed by a rich mixture of cultural influences, including Ethiopian and Arabic devotional music from her parents, as well as “the Moroccan community down Goldhawk Road surrounding her home, visiting the local mosque, her Afro-Caribbean friends.”
At the end of June, following an appearance on Little Simz‘s “Where’s My Lighter,” Alewya released her debut single, “Sweating,” produced by The Busy Twist, a seductive, melodic, instantly infectious deep dance floor ode to all to the things we shouldn’t be doing at this present moment in history: grinding, flossing and freaking in close proximity to sweaty bodies at the club.
“Keep sweating, floss on my enemies / With the tongue, come energy” she commands, empowered and confident – and even a little ominous.
Without detracting from her own unique sound and perspective, “Sweating” also brings other great artists to mind, including Tinashe, Kelela, some Janet – maybe even the icy chill appeal of Cassie‘s debut, “Me & U.”
“It’s about feeling chemistry with someone, but also about a female who is not afraid of her prowess and power. It’s a mood,” Alewya explains.
The accompanying sweat-drenched music video, directed by Jack Bowden, perfectly captures said mood with an entanglement of ecstatic bodies on the dance floor, in what feels like a modern take on a ’90s club scene. The video also includes some of Alewya’s visual art, as she sprays a large canvas with an (all too prophetic) face mask.
“This video is for US. In love, power and rage,” she declares in the video’s introduction.
As an extra early co-sign of her promise, “Sweating” already received the extra sweaty, seriously scorching remix treatment on Friday (July 10) from a legend: Honey Dijon, who just recently remixed Madonna‘s “I Don’t Search I Find.”
“I want to move people to themself. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me. I want people to feel that,” Alewya says of her music.
She also just happens to be gorgeous, as captured in an introductory video from L’Officiel Paris last year.
As she told The Face, the timing for a song like “Sweating” might be a bit off amid a pandemic, but the point is to keep on believing.
“I believe we need to visualize partying for it to come back. I don’t want to keep seeing trauma after trauma, or else it’ll just keep happening. We need to visualize and use our imagination to bring the party to us.”
“Sweating” is an immediate gyration-inducing groove – one of the year’s most effortlessly cool offerings, for sure – and an already impressive first outing.
Keep calm and sweat on.
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Photo credit: Christina Ebenezer