Five Muslim Women Musicians To Listen to if You Like SZA

With her mesmerizing vocals and genre-blurring sound, SZA has carved a distinct niche in the music industry. But she's not alone — there’s a diverse group of Muslim women who have also been redefining the boundaries of R&B, pushing the genre into exciting new territories.

A collage of the musical artists ilham, Felukah, ABIR, Dounia and Aint Afraid
SZA isn't the only Muslim woman making soulful, infectious music right now.

In today’s contemporary music scene, few artists have managed to capture the essence of introspective R&B and soul quite like SZA. With her mesmerizing vocals, emotionally charged lyrics and genre-blurring sound, she has carved a distinct niche in the music industry. However, SZA is not alone in this sonic landscape. There’s a diverse group of Muslim women who, like SZA, have redefined the boundaries of R&B, pushing the genre into exciting new territories.

If you enjoy listening to SZA, check out these five artists w also blend together R&B, soul and contemporary pop.

  1. ilham

ilham is an R&B and soul singer-songwriter who has gained recognition for her emotional music and has been praised for her powerful and soulful vocals. She was born to Moroccan parents in the U.S. and grew up listening to a mix of American R&B and Arab music. Her upbringing in Queensbridge, New York, which is known for its hip-hop culture, has influenced her lyrical style today.

ilham is a classically trained vocalist who has always been focused on her career. Initially resistant to attending college, ilham applied exclusively to Ivy League schools in hopes of being rejected and being able to pursue her music career, but was ultimately accepted to Cornell University, where she graduated early.

When asked about her journey from a poor neighborhood in Queens to where she is now, ilham told Flaunt Magazine that she strives to inspire people. “I want to be the vessel … for girls who look like me, guys who look like me, all the Brown kids, all the minorities, all the people who literally come from nothing — I want them to look at someone and say ‘you know what, I can do that.’”

ilham's music is defined by her smooth, sultry vocals blending seamlessly with powerful trap beats, making her a standout in the R&B scene. What sets her apart is the authenticity and vulnerability in her lyrics, drawn from her real-life experiences, making her style truly unique.

  1. Felukah

Amina Khalil, better known by her stage name Felukah, is a talented Egyptian American rapper, singer and songwriter known for her unique blend of hip-hop, R&B and Middle Eastern influences. Here are some key points about Felukah:

Felukah was born in Cairo, Egypt, and raised in New York City. Her upbringing in a multicultural environment played a significant role in shaping her musical style; Felukah frequently raps and sings in both English and Arabic, seamlessly blending the two languages to create a unique and inclusive musical experience.

Felukah has garnered recognition and a dedicated fan base for her artistry, and she's considered a rising star in the music industry. Her music has resonated with audiences not only in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region but also globally.

Through her music and social media presence, Felukah often addresses social and cultural issues, advocating for inclusivity, diversity and gender equality.

Felukah’s music combines elements of hip-hop, R&B and soul with lyrics that often braid together personal experience, identity and social issues. She is known for her lyrical prowess and thought-provoking storytelling.

  1. Aint Afraid

Aint Afraid is a girl band composed of twin sisters Inah and Yahzi Rahman. Hailing from Baltimore and raised in Detroit, they've been singing since the age of two, using music as a source of comfort during challenging times. Inspired by their artist mother, they began performing early in life, transitioning from local recognition to a dynamic duo with a global mission of empowering, inspiring and motivating people worldwide.

Their journey has included features in renowned publications like Vogue Arabia, Wonderland Magazine and Dazed Magazine, as well as collaborations with major brands. Since their debut as recording artists in June 2020, their music has garnered millions of streams, known for its catchy hooks, harmonious melodies, and relatable lyrics that appeal to diverse audiences.

Advocacy plays a central role in their work, with a focus on addressing issues like poverty, homelessness, healthcare, education, hunger and mental health. They have mentored and inspired youth through various artistic outlets, earning recognition as mentors and community leaders. Aint Afraid continues to make a positive impact in spaces like IMAN Central’s Artist Roster, Meta's We the Culture Program and the Assemble Sound Residency Program, where they inspire change.

Aint Afraid's musical style — a fusion of pop, hip-hop, soul and R&B — draws inspiration from artists such as Lauryn Hill, J.Cole and Beyoncé. Their talents extend to songwriting, singing, rapping, spoken word, fashion, dance, creative direction and more.

  1. ABIR

ABIR, a singer-songwriter hailing from Morocco and now based in New York City, combines joyful dance-pop with a powerful soulful voice, drawing comparisons to artists like Dua Lipa, Jess Glynne and Alessia Cara. Her solo career began in 2016 with the track "Wave," featuring Masego, after contributing guest vocals on several songs. She proudly represented Morocco in the Europa Song Contest multiple times before releasing her debut EP, "Mint," in 2018.

Outside of her music career, ABIR has been an advocate for representation and diversity in the music industry. She has spoken out about the importance of embracing her Moroccan heritage while pursuing her music career.

ABIR's music incorporates elements of R&B, pop, soul and electronic music. She was heavily influenced by artists like Umm Kulthum and Etta James, the latter of whom she would listen to with her father. ABIR is known for her powerful and emotive vocals, often delivering lyrics that touch on personal relationships. Her second EP, "Heat," arrived in 2020, showcasing her evolving and unique musical style that blends her Moroccan heritage with contemporary sounds.

  1. Dounia

Dounia is a Moroccan American singer, songwriter and social media influencer known for her music and advocacy for body positivity and self-acceptance. She hails from Queens, New York and is openly bisexual.

Dounia has gained attention in the music industry with her unique blend of R&B, hip-hop and pop influences. She released her debut EP titled "Intro To" in 2017, which received positive reviews for its honest and empowering lyrics.

In addition to her music career, Dounia is known for her advocacy for body positivity and self-love. She uses her platform to challenge beauty standards and promote self-acceptance, particularly for women.

During an interview with Quip Magazine, Dounia discussed what her identity as a Muslim woman means in conjunction with the revelrous art she creates. “A lot of people talk about Muslims like we’re a monolithic group,” she told the magazine. “We’re not just one thing. We’re all human so we all have the extreme capacity to be open-minded and be empathetic … I’m very in tune with my culture and I preach it. The love that you give, you get back. It’s kind of impossible to be giving out positivity and light and not get that back.”

Dounia’s music often includes empowering and relatable lyrics that resonate with her audience, addressing themes such as self-confidence, relationships and personal growth.

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