Marie Sahba: I strive to build cultural bridges between our native peoples through my music and lyrics -



Marie Sahba: I strive to build cultural bridges between our native peoples through my music and lyrics - INTERVIEW



Azerbaijan lives not only in the hearts of people, who were born and residing there, but also in the hearts of those, who are far away from their homeland due to circumstances. However, there are cases when Azerbaijan, with its historical and rich cultural heritage, has become a part of a person’s heart, who was born in a northern country and has never been in Azerbaijan.


AZERTAC introduces its readers to an exciting artist, who seamlessly blends her cultural heritage with modern electronic music. Marie Sahba grew up in Trondheim city of Norway. Her mother hails from Norway, while her father is from South Azerbaijan.


- How did you get your start in the music?


- Works reflecting the music of various world nations - Azerbaijani, Iranian, Turkish, Norwegian and Western - have always been sounded in my house, which had made a huge impact on my music career and life, and I am very grateful to my parents for growing me up surrounded by the rich culture of the East and the West. I have been obsessed with music since my childhood. My mom always says that when I was a toddler, before taking my first steps, I used to lean against the amplifiers and enjoy The Four Seasons by Vivaldi nodding my head. This episode clearly describes my image, my childhood. I loved all genres of music. I listened to classical music, 80s rock, and then songs by Britney Spears. From an early age, I aspired to learn to play the piano and sing, so I demanded that I simply to be taught music. I was about 8 years old when I started composing music by playing the piano and humming the tunes. It has since become my therapy and life passion.




- How many albums do you own and in which countries have you performed?


- I have released a single album and two mini-albums, one of them is called AZERI BABY. Additionally, my debut album A Billion Years Too Early was released on February 16 this year, bringing me greater success. I feel very proud that I was able to naturally blend my rich cultural heritage with the modern electronic music: I presented the Azerbaijani language with English words and traditional instruments of Azerbaijan, Iran, Türkiye, as well as Western instruments. I have performed in Türkiye and Norway, and my dream is to come to Azerbaijan and perform there. This is one of my goals for the current year. I would like to perform at COP29 in November, and the main reason is to perform the track "Orumiyeh" written by me, inspired by happy childhood memories and, unfortunately, the current global environmental disaster. When I see Lake Orumieh shrinking, it really hurts my heart, so I have included the sound of the heart beating, which contains the sadness, the cry, the desperation of the lake, into the song. With this track, I would like to draw international attention to one of the world's biggest environmental disasters.


- You talked about your album called AZERY BABY...


- The work on AZERI BABY started from exploring my musical and cultural roots. My father passed away while I was working on the album. As a tribute to him, his life and our roots, I decided to dedicate this single to my father. I think he would be proud of me. I wish he had heard the word AZERI BABY before he left me. He was the dearest person to me and the most reliable anchor in my life.




- Do you have songs in the Azerbaijani language?


- The lyrics of many of my songs are in both Azerbaijani and English. I like combining both languages because it helps me feel whole. With this, I am striving to represent my rich cultural heritage all over the world. Azerbaijani is a very beautiful language and I want the world to hear it. Through my music and lyrics, I aspire to build cultural bridges between our native peoples.


- Is Azerbaijani music your source of inspiration? What are your favourite Azerbaijani singers?


-Azerbaijani music is absolutely a source of endless inspiration for me, and it is very essential for me to introduce my listeners to our rich culture. My father used to listen to Azerbaijani singers, he loved the creativity of Rashid Behbudov. I do remember specially the song "Ayriliq" (Separation). It's such a heart-warming beautiful song that really touched me a lot. One of my best memories is when together with my father I listened to live music in Azerbaijani and Turkish on television, and listening to his stories about the period he lived in Urmia and Istanbul. Turkish music has also been a great source of inspiration for me over the years. "A Billion Years Too Early", the key song of my debut album, serving as an ode to Istanbul and my father, who lived there from the ages of 18-22. Therefore, I decided to shoot a music video together with the famous Turkish director Emre Köktaş in Istanbul. Köktaş and his team simply impressed me, and I am proud of the outcome of our joint work.




- How do you portray your Azerbaijani identity in Norway?


- I am very blessed that even though I am Norwegian from my mother's side of the family, and Azerbaijani from my father’s side hailing from the city of Urmia. And my family has always taken care of preserving our national traditions and cultural heritage. I visited Urmia in my childhood and I collected manywonderful memories from that trip.