5 things to know about Perrie, the Arab singer who’s taking over New York Times Square

DUBAI: If you haven’t heard the name Perrie El-Hariri, soon you’ll be seeing it everywhere. This is especially true if you live in New York City, where the emerging Moroccan-Egyptian singer has her very own Spotify billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square.

The 23-year-old first gained recognition when she responded to Egyptian artist Tameem Youness’ viral hit song “Salmonella” with her very own rendition titled “Shigella.”

The song clearly caught the attention of global streaming giant Spotify, who tapped the up-and-comer as its ambassador for EQUAL, an initiative that launched in the region this month and that aims to amplify the work of women creators by giving them international recognition.

Her appearance on the billboard is part of the initiative, which launched in celebration of International Women’s Month.

Spotify featured Perrie on a billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square. Supplied

Since her musical debut in 2020, Perrie has been making waves in the rap scene by collaborating with some of the genre’s key figures in Egypt, such as Abyusif on “Mamlaka,” Lil Baba on “Perrie Taniya,” and more.

Read on for five fast facts you need to know about the rising star.

She comes from a creative background

Perrie started singing aged eight. She was introduced to music from a young age by her mother, who is a Moroccan singer and performer. Her mom used to take her to the studio with her when she was younger, which Perrie admits that she hated. Meanwhile, her father is the late Egyptian actor Omar El-Hariri, who is known for his work in “The Black Cat” and “El-Hobb fi El-Kharif.”

She studied sound engineering

The singer was always destined to pursue a career in music. The artist graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sound engineering from a university in Leicester after she graduated from the Lycée Francais Maadi in Cairo.

She counts Beyonce as an inspiration

In a previous interview, Perrie stated that multi-Grammy award-winning singer Beyonce is her “idol.” She also revealed that she looks up to US rapper and producer Travis Scott.

She identifies as a feminist

The rising star is a staunch advocate for women’s rights. In fact, her song “Shigella” was created out of her frustration at the way women were depicted in Youness’ viral hit “Salmonella.” She said in a previous interview: “I was so shocked, both due to the lyrics and the absence of women in the video…I think [Salmonella] is amazing, but the way [Youness] delivered the message was not the best way.”

‘Shigella’ was her first-ever Arabic song

“I honestly didn’t expect it to go that viral and that’s when I decided to write in Arabic because I felt that otherwise, it’s cultural colonization and a language barrier in Egypt,” Perrie told Identity Mag of her hit song. However, she reveals that she will continue to mix Arabic and English in her music.