Western pop music is often focused on the love someone has for a man or woman – a romantically personal perspective that when combined with a pounding beat and hooky melody can be a recipe for chart success.
But what about young muslims who enjoy pop music but find that the lyrical themes sometimes sit uncomfortably with their faith ?
Islamic pop label, Awakening Records, have been releasing reworked cover versions of popular hits, making their God the subject of the songs.
The label have signed a string of artists who sing about their God rather than lovers.
For instance, Chris Brown’s song With You, which talks about a love for a woman, has been covered by Islamic singer Raef, interchanging the words ‘woman’ for ‘Lord’.
He told the Guardian that fans have been waiting for music like this.
“There is a huge thirst from people who want to listen to music which is not of a detriment to their heart, soul or relationship with their Lord,” he explained.
Other covers include Rebecca Black’s Friday.
Co-founder of Awakening Records, Wali-ur Rahman, told the news provider that Islamic music is cheaply produced and is often controversial, with some Muslims prohibiting it. He stressed though the desire to compete with Western music in the future.
The idea has already taken off amongst young muslims with Awakening’s first signed artist, Sami Yusuf, having sold seven million copies of his last two albums of reworked songs.
Maher Zain from Sweden is one of the biggest names in the Islamic music industry and has also signed with Awakening after finding the Western music industry “empty”.
“I’ve seen that people want to hear good music but with a positive message,” he told the Guardian. Zains latest single, which is dedicated to his mother, clocked up one million views on YouTube in just over a week.
Now, they hope to broaden their audience to include secular fans. Both Zain and Raef performed at the weekend at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the Send a Little Hope charity event by Save an Orphan.
With Christian musicians climbing to the top of numerous genres, from gospel to death metal, do you see potential in Islamic pop?
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