By Romy van Diepen August 29, 2020
THIS WEEK ON MEET THE FAM: TAWSEN
The next Belgium based artist that we want to introduce to you, is Tawsen. Tawsen is a singer who grew up in Italy and moved to Brussels when he was eleven. Tawsens family is from Morocco, so in his music you can hear touches of raï, hooks in Italian interspersed with French verses.
‘Taws’ is Tawsens family name and the suffix ‘en’ in Arabic makes a word dual. Tawsen likes to see himself as a dualistic artist, there is the singer and the rapper. But besides that he doesn’t leave any genre untouched; “On my next EP, the first song will be a hiphop song, followed by an afro song, a disco-funk song, a raï song, a reggaeton song and then a slow song with an acoustic guitar. I do all these different styles, in French, and then there will always be an Arab touch to it, I can’t escape that. That’s why I often get described as ‘the raï singer’, people see how I look, I look like a Moroccan guy, so they categorise me as that. But listen to my music, I combine so many different genres.” Tawsen says.
“I don’t want to be placed in a box when it comes to genres, but neither when it comes to language. French, Italian, Arabic, I can sing in all these languages. To me, music is international. I did a remix with two Nigerian singers, one with Moroccan guys and I did a remix with an Italian. If the vibe is good, you can transcend language barriers. When I look at my numbers, more Dutch than Belgian people listen to my music, even though they can’t understand my lyrics. You just need a good hook and a nice flow and then you can go global, regardless of the language.”
Most of Tawsens videoclips are made in Morocco, in his clips you can see Tawsen dancing through the desert, or singing on a rooftop in the midst of atmospheric Marrakech. “We cannot make the same video in France or in Belgium, I want something more aesthetic. I just want to show the world: these are my people, this is my country, this is my village and it’s beautiful.” Tawsen writes the scripts for his videos himself. “I always have an idea for my songs and I want to see it happening exactly how I’ve imagined. So I need to be in control.”
And he credibly fulfills the roles that he wrote for himself, “I always wanted to be an actor growing up.” But later on when Tawsen was in high school he got into making music.
“I was sixteen and I always was in the back of the class. When we had to do mathematics or something, I was just humming, singing, annoying others. The other kids were just like, “shut the fuck up man.” But one day at break time, a dude came up to me and said: “you are always singing, so you can sing a hook, right? I know someone that has a studio at home, just come with us for fun.” So I went with them and that’s how it started.”
Tawsen has a clear goal for what he wants to accomplish with his career; “In fifteen years, I want to be in all of the French karaokes. If you go into a bar in a little village in France and you want to choose a song on the machine, I want to be on that list.” Tawsen says.
“But for now, I’m just finishing my third EP. After this trilogy, I want to make my first album. On there, I want to sing one song entirely in Arabic and one in Italian. But I might need some help with writing lyrics in Arabic, maybe my mom can be my ghostwriter.”
Tawsen isn’t ready to be an artist fulltime yet, because he is still studying. He has one year left before he gets his degree in communications. “When I finished high school, I wasn’t motivated at all to go studying. I thought: I got my diploma, now it’s time to focus on my music. But I also want to be realistic. Sometimes people listen to the success stories and they forget about the reality. You have to stay focused and don’t believe everything you see. Because there are success stories, but there’s 10 million people out there waiting for that to happen.”