In an exclusive interview, Faouzia talks her new song, "Puppet," and TikTok stardom.

Faouzia On "Puppet," Pop Music, And Why She Loves TikTok

"Music really does bring people together."

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In Elite Daily’s I Can Explain… series, we’re asking celebrities to revisit their most memorable photos and tell us what really went down behind the scenes. In this piece, we chat with Moroccan-Canadian singer-songwriter Faouzia about making music with authenticity.

Faouzia’s latest single speaks volumes about her artistry. In a world where pop stars are often controlled by major labels and industry execs, she’s taking matters into her own hands when defining her sound. How so? The Moroccan-Canadian singer-songwriter refuses to play into pre-conceived notions of what pop music should sound like, meaning she won’t deliver cookie-cutter, bubble gum tunes anytime soon. The budding singer prides herself on making music that is both infectious and impactful, just like her October 2021 single, “Puppet,” which contains empowering lyrics within every verse. At 21, she’s already had some impressive career highlights, including a collab with John Legend (“Minefields”) and an accompanying performance on The Today Show. With “Puppet,” she has an important story to tell about self-love.

“I wanted to create something that had depth to it,” she tells Elite Daily. “I always want to have depth to my music, and I just think that it's so cool when you can unpack a song and just keep listening and finding different layers to it.”

In the chorus, Faouzia sings, “You tried to pull me under / said I was too much / you're just not enough.” The lyric is an emblem of her strength and the vulnerability she puts forth in her music. Oh, and she’s also dropped versions of “Puppet” in Arabic and French, showcasing her worldly point of view. “It's very important to me for the lyrics to have a deeper meaning and to have a strong message behind them,” she says. “Growing up, I would pay attention to lyrics, almost more than the melodies and almost more than the production. I loved writing. And I loved reading stories.”

Fauzoia is not only an open book in her music, but she also prides herself on being transparent with her TikTok fans — all 2.6 million of them. For her, social media is special for its ability to bring strangers together.

“Everyone at the end of the day is human,” she says. “And when you show your vulnerability, and when you show your true colors, and start talking about your own stories... that's why people will connect to it. I think that's why it might resonate with others as well. Music really does bring people together.”

Up next, Faouzia says she’s looking forward to releasing a full-length project, one that’ll be reflective of her roots. Below, she shares the backstory behind three of her most memorable photos from her musical journey so far.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Her Moroccan Roots


Elite Daily: Where was this photo taken and where did you get the hat from?

Faouzia: I was performing at a private event in Egypt and this was after I had performed and I was kind of winding down. I got to go with my parents, which was very special. They accompanied me throughout the trip. It was a very short trip, but it was still very fun. My dad actually brought the traditional Moroccan hat that you saw in that photo — it's called the tarboosh. And just to be funny, I put it on, and I took a picture, but I ended up really liking it. I wanted to kind of touch on my roots in an Instagram post and have photos with it.

ED: You’ve made several nods to your Moroccan roots in your work. Why is that important for you to do?

Faouzia: I feel like my Moroccan roots are so ingrained in me that I couldn't — even if I wanted to, which I definitely don't — I couldn't escape my roots if I tried. I grew up speaking Arabic, listening to Arabic music and just eating Moroccan food, wearing Moroccan traditional dresses, kaftans, everything. So I am super, super Moroccan, even though I grew up in Canada, and I just think it's such a beautiful culture. I think there's just so much more for me to discover and to learn even as an adult. That's something that I really want to do in the future as well.

ED: How did your parents incorporate your Moroccan heritage into your upbringing?

Faouzia: They spoke to us fully in Arabic. And just our mannerisms are very Moroccan, too. You know, like my sisters and I are super Moroccan. It's just very evident.

Larger Than Life


ED: Your hair looks amazing in this BTS shot from your “Puppet” cover art shoot. Did you work with a hairstylist to achieve this look?

Faouzia: I worked with a hairstylist; His name is Josh and he is absolutely incredible. He brings hairstyles to life and he creates iconic looks with his clients. With this specific look, he just had this vision of creating these bubble-like pigtails, and he put a wire in them so that he could manipulate how they sat. That's why they were kind of, like, swooped up. He worked super hard and he's just so creative. He doesn't see hair just as hair; He also sees it as a way to, like, express yourself and his art.

ED: In “Puppet,” you sing about someone trying to “dim your light,” and this IG caption references being told you’re “too much.” What message do you have to anyone with haters?

Faouzia: Well, just like the line says... you're just not enough. I feel like if you're trying to bring someone down and if you're trying to like, just break them, if they're just, like, living their life, living their best life, they're being confident, they’re being expressive, and you're trying to bring them down? I think that says a lot more about you than the person that's just trying to do their best and live their best life. If anyone's ever trying to dim your flame, I think you should take it as a challenge and shine even brighter.

ED: How would you define your style? How much has it changed since embarking on a music career?

Faouzia: I feel like my style has always been the same in essence, but it's been evolving. I just think it's becoming a lot more refined over the years as I understand myself more and as I understand my sound more, because I think my fashion is a reflection of my music. I feel like I'm entering this very powerful and dark and mysterious world with my music, and my fashion is becoming that as well. It’s very bold, it’s very confident. I’ve been trying to be a little bit out of the box as well. There's also the side of me that likes to be very casual and very comfortable. So, I'll try to be extra but also wear something that's very cozy.



ED: This was on the set of your “Minefields” music video with John Legend. Where was it shot and why did you choose that location?

Faouzia: It was in California, but it was kind of like middle of nowhere California. And we decided to shoot in two different places. One was on the water, but it was with a different look, and then this one was in a field. It was just very, very dreamy. Like you said, it just feels like a place that you've seen before. Everyone kind of feels that nostalgia when they see that type of environment. It reminded me of my childhood. When I was there, I felt like I was in a Disney movie, and the the dress itself feels like a Disney princess gown.

It was really cool because when the video came out, lots of people made comments on the dress and it was actually a topic of conversation. Lots of people thought it was very polarizing. Some people were like, “I've never seen something like that. What is that?”

ED: Did you get hot while filming in that big dress?

Faouzia: It actually wasn't. I remember that we got lucky with the temperature. I remember though, that I was getting a lot of like, sharp terrain that was poking through my boots... I was like, “Just keeping smiling, just keep singing.”

ED: “Minefields” features John Legend, of course. What about him made you want to collab?

Faouzia: John Legend. He was just like a wish list type of name that we wrote down. I didn't really expect anything from it, it was just kind of like, “It would be amazing, it would be such a dream to have him on the song.” When we got news he was going to be on the track, it was just super mind-blowing. It didn't feel real. John Legend just has that type of voice that’s very classic, it's timeless, and I feel like “Minefields” has that type of vibe, too. It's a ballad. It's very much about love in any way that you can relate to it. It was just such an honor to be able to perform and sing with him on this song.

Faouzia’s new single, “Puppet,” is out now.

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