Ottawa-trained singer shows off talent in Middle East version of The Voice

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A graduate of Carleton University’s music program is one of tonight’s contestants on The Voice Ahla Sawt, the Middle East version of the popular program where aspiring singers vie for fame.

“I feel so different after doing the show,” said Malak Ghanem from her home in Toronto.

Ghanem, who goes by the stage name Malak Sound, completed some of her high school in Ottawa and graduated with a degree in music from Carleton in 2017.

I felt so proud to be amongst these cultured, educated, talented people.

– Malak Ghanem, a.k.a. Malak Sound

The 24-year-old Egyptian-raised singer credits the school for helping develop her singing and songwriting, but she credits The Voice Ahla Sawt for helping her reconnect with her roots.

“I’ve been in Canada eight years now and I consider myself very Canadian. When I moved here, that’s all I wanted to focus on. I just wanted to fit in,” Ghanem told Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan.

“I completely forgot there’s this whole other part of me.”

Being around other singers from across the Middle East changed that.

“I felt so proud to be amongst these cultured, educated, talented people,” she said.

The show finished recording in September. As the episodes are released, Ghanem keeps fans in Canada upto date through her Instagram account.

Ghanem made friends with Tunisians, Algerians and Syrians during the filming, she said.

“I got to know them really, really well and we became family.”

Ghanem, who trained to sing in English, is now considering taking Arabic singing lessons. While she already speaks language, singing in Arabic requires certain notes and musical flourishes unique to the language.

“I think that’s something that I do want to pursue now,” she said.

The signer no longer fears being “too different” in Canada.

“There’s no reason why I can’t consider myself Canadian and Egyptian at the same time. They can both exist harmoniously. I didn’t think that before.”

The Ottawa ex-pat has been tearing it up on the Middle East’s singing competition show. 8:39