Mirelle Mokhtar, with her wild curls, all-natural good looks, beautiful voice and adventurous spirit. The fabulous young singer has impressed everyone with her performance at the World Youth Forum, and has collaborated with Hisham Kharma in the song “Halleq Maei”, lyrics of which were written by her friend Nesma El Shazly. We speak to her to learn more about her, her adventures and her art.
Afro Mountain Girl is a very catchy nickname, where does it stem from?
This name came about by pure coincidence. I had just moved to Vancouver, Canada when to my surprise I realized Vancouver was surrounded by mountains. Being this close to mountains, having mountains as my backyard and living on a mountain-top was such a crazy thing. Three years into living in Canada, I’d really gotten into hiking. And one day after I conquered a few BC mountains, I jokingly said, “I’m a mountain girl” and I also had an afro so I said, “oh wait, I’m afro mountain-girl” and it stuck around since.
Tell us more about your mountaineering hobby.
Hiking didn’t come easily for me. I lived on a mountain-top, and there were so many trails around where I lived. One day, I decided to hike alone. It was only about six months into living in Vancouver. My fitness was terrible and I barely made it out of that trail, but I managed to power through. I went home very upset that I had all this beauty around me but couldn’t really enjoy it because my fitness wasn’t the best. So, I decided to train. From then on, it became a lifestyle. I hiked three times a week. I knew some of those trails like the back of my hand, and it just became my escape.
Your last trip to Paris must have been exciting on a professional and personal level, tell us all about it!
This was probably the most spontaneous thing I had done in a while. My beautiful friend Nesma El Shazly called me up and said, “let’s go to Paris!” Next thing I knew, I’m at the airport four days later, heading to Paris with her. It was a much-needed trip. It was a sweet escape for the both of us, but it was also inspiring for us on a professional level. We came across beautiful art and some out-of-this world concerts like “One Republic”.
So many people approached us telling us how it moved them. That’s one of the best feelings ever.
Tell us about your experience at World Youth Forum, how was the feedback?
It was such an honour to be invited to sing there. I met so many inspiring people. Singing in the opening ceremony in an operetta, that was the biggest audience I ever sang in front of. It’s just a rush that I can’t describe. The feedback was amazing too, and that was the most rewarding part. Everyone loved it, and so many people approached us telling us how it moved them. That’s one of the best feelings ever.
You’ve collaborated with A-list musicians like the awesome Hisham Kharma, how does that add to your resume as a young artist?
Collaborating with Hisham Kharma was a dream come true. The fact that he believed in me as a young artist added so much to me in the industry, but it also made me believe myself more. I have so much love and respect for him as an artist and human. Working with him on a song taught me so much about myself and the industry. I still seek his advice and mentorship, in music and in life. So, to me it was much more than just a song, I gained so much more than that.
There are so many insanely talented people out there and very minimal outlets for these talents to showcase that
Do you think we have enough music outlets for performances in Egypt or not yet?
There are so many insanely talented people out there and very minimal outlets for these talents to showcase that. I wish we had more open nights and more venues to be able to do that, also to be able to host global musicians in the future as well.
I was always the teenage girl that straightened her hair because I never liked my real hair. So, when I just let it be, I think it was such a Hallelujah
Your looks are wild, bold and different, do you think our audience is ready to get introduced to genuine beauty unlike a decade ago when all female artists had to look and dress the same?
I’d like to think so. I was always the teenage girl that straightened her hair because I never liked my real hair. So, when I just let it be, I think it was such a Hallelujah moment for me and everyone who knew me and always encouraged me to let it go natural. I think that little by little we embrace and accept our differences, because there is a realization that there is beauty in being true to ourselves.