Accompanied by the music of Maher El-Mallakh, AbuTaleb's hallmark angelic vocals walk us through Betshof Alamat (You See Signs) while unveiling the singer's thoughts as captured by lyricist Nada El-Shabrawy.
"Of course I believed, and I said it's a sign," so says the song's refrain expressing the idea underpinning the lyrics.
"I have been thinking about signs and our approach to them," AbuTaleb shares with Ahram Online, adding that "we always believe in signs and how they guide us. In fact, we often want to see those signs as we need the guidance. We see signs when we look at them from an emotional angle, or when we need to take a decision. In other words, signs are only signs when we choose to believe in them."
AbuTaleb underlines the lyricist's unique talent to capture the singer's thoughts. "Nada is my age; we are the same generation. We have a lot of great conversations and we share ideas. I admire her talent as a lyricist and I'm very lucky to have her in my life," AbuTaleb comments.
The young star of the alternative Arab music scene also shares her happiness to be working with Maher El-Mallakh, who wrote the song, produced it (recording, mixing and mastering) and plays the guitar.
"Together with Maher and Nada we are currently working on the second song which will be released soon," AbuTaleb said also mentioning Mostafa Gamal who plays the trumpet in the song.
You See Signs is the first song of an album that is yet to see light. AbuTaleb says that she had wanted to release an album first but discovered it was not as easy as it may seem. She says that the album is entirely self-funded, so they decided to release the songs one by one first. "I can't tell when exactly the album will be ready. I hope this year," she said.
AbuTaleb revealed that the new songs mark a new direction that she is heading towards as a musician. "I am still discovering myself. I'm experimenting with new things, new sound in production," she said.
While focusing on new songs, AbuTaleb does not have clear plans for concerts in Egypt at this stage. She said, however, that she was preparing for two concerts that will be held abroad in March. Details of these concerts will be released in the weeks to come.
You See Signs is available on all streaming platforms. The music video posted on YouTube was created by Akram Hamdan based on photography by Ahmed Ezzel-Din.
“Born in the Manial district of Cairo, Nouran AbuTaleb grew up in a family of music lovers. Her father, Ossama AbuTaleb, is a professor of theatre and drama at the Institute of Cinema, while her mother, Nesrine Roushdi, is a soloist at the Cairo Opera House and teaches singing at the Cairo Conservatory,” wrote Névine Lameï in a 2020 interview with the singer.
“It was she who introduced the young Nouran to Arabic music, as well as to singers from other music genres, and to the many names who contributed to her growth.”
In 2014, she joined the GUC Music Ensemble, where she met great Egyptian musicians with whom she subsequently collaborated, including Amr Salah, the founder of Eftikasat and the Cairo Jazz Festival; Bassem Darwish of Cairo Steps; Hany Bedair of Nagham Masri; and Rami Attalah, all of whom taught music at the GUC.
She soon joined Salah’s quartet, playing and reviving songs from the 1920s and 1930s.
In the summer of 2018, AbuTaleb decided to form her own band, performing songs by Fayrouz with jazzy arrangements by Samer George. With the latter, she also formed a highly successful duo.
In 2019, she collaborated with the Italian pianist Livio Minafra and the Austrian jazz band Birds Against Hurricanes, presenting covers of Fayrouz, Sayed Darwish, and Umm Kalthoum. She also took part in the Alexandrian Jazz Tales Festival and performed with the Dutch band Under the Surface.
In 2020, AbuTaleb appeared in Mohamed Mounir’s online concert, singing his 1981 hit Shababeek (Windows) twice, giving two different colours to the famous track.
Throughout her career, AbuTaleb performed in several concerts on various stages across Egypt, always attracting a large crowd of fans.