By Nohad Topalian
Dounia Batma, who reminded crowds of Umm Kulthum and El-Tarab El-Aseel, returned to Morocco to be greeted with a reception befitting a major star. Magharebia talked with her about the “Arab Idol” experience.
Magharebia: First, congratulations on achieving success equivalent to the title. Are you satisfied with the outcome of the results?
Dounia Batma: Thank you from my heart for the congratulations. As far as the outcome, I gained people’s love and fame reaching the world. In practice, Carmen’s and my fortunes were equivalent and equal. Today I am convinced that Carmen represents her country in earnest, as I represent my country Morocco.
Magharebia: How were you received in Morocco after the end of the programme “Arab Idol”?
Batma: I was met by a large number of fans at the airport along with my family and friends. There I was showered with congratulations, and my visit to Morocco a week before the results were announced received a warm welcome as well. Everyone gave me support and encouraged me. Until today, I receive congratulations and words of honour and pride for the respectable image I offered of my country and its people.
Magharebia: Did you expect to reach the final stage?
Batma: I took part in “Arab Idol” at the insistence of my mother. She insisted that I try my luck. After having been reluctant to take this step because of the principle of the programme, I came back and participated, as I was expecting to be among the top five competitors, and not to reach the final stage.
Magharebia: Will your artistic career end with the results or venture into artistic projects?
Batma: I am a fundamentally ambitious person. Having arrived where I am today, I contracted with the production company “Platinum,” a subsidiary of MBC Group that will manage my work and plans for artistic projects. And at present, I am spending some time in Morocco for the promotion, while the artistic director of the company is working to prepare my first singles.
Magharebia: On the programme you performed several song genres. Will you specialise in any genre?
Batma: Honestly, I’m awaiting my stopover in Dubai and my meeting with Platinum company officials, managers and technicians to know what will be my artistic future. But certainly, I will never neglect Moroccan song.
Magharebia: What role can you play alongside Moroccan youth, who consider you their star?
Batma: I cannot begin to thank all the Moroccan people who supported me, and those I made happy and moved to tears… and those who were sad because I took second place. I am at their disposal, for they are the youth of my country, and I’m here to provide advice and assistance. I will do everything I can to meet their expectations, especially since for them I am a spoiled young woman, and everyone wants to protect, support and adopt me.
Magharebia: What do you say to them, especially in light of the delicate conditions the Maghreb is going through?
Batma: All I wish is for them to be positive, and to seek to achieve their dreams and aspirations. I also tell them to never stop dreaming, and to not back down in the face of failure or prior judgement, but to turn failure into success.
Magharebia: What about your family?
Batma: My family hails from a district known as a neighbourhood of artists in Casablanca, Mohammadi neighbourhood. My uncle is the founder of the band “Nass El-Ghiwan” and its mentor, and many of my relatives work in the music field. My mother had wanted to become a singer, and here I am today realising her dream and my dream.