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A Tunisian-American woman at a microphone wearing a black dress with a reflective blue and gold gem around her waist


Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisian-American singer-songwriter, composer, performer, and producer whose music has crossed time, countries, and continents.

In 2008 she fled Tunis after her music was banned in Tunisia and she was prevented from performing in the country. With creative freedom in Paris, she pursued writing and perfecting her protest songs, mainly voice, guitar, North African percussion, and cello, later adding electronic textures which made the body of her first studio album, Kelmti Horra (My Word Is Free).

Emel has continued her exploration to develop a unique sound through her 2017 release of Ensen (Human). Her 2019 release of Everywhere We Looked Was Burning, embraced her taste for the English language and experimental and cinematic music.

In 2020, Emel spent quarantine time in Tunis. After several months of confinement, the musician gathered recordings to compose The Tunis Diaries, a fourth album, acoustic, that marks a moving reconciliation with her native country and her early influences. A companion song to the album, Holm (A dream), was released with a simple video becoming her most widely listened-to track to-date, garnering over seven million views on YouTube in 15 months.

In 2021, following the COVID-19 pandemic, Emel released a live album of her self-titled album, Everywhere We Looked Was Burning. In 2022, Emel celebrated the 10th anniversary of her first cult album, Kelmti Horra.

Back in NYC in 2023, Emel wrapped production of a fifth album, MRA, a 100% woman made album, an ode to femininity and sorority carried by a close collaboration between women artists, musicians and producers from all over the world. MRA is the Arabic word for woman and an acronym to be revealed upon release of the album.

Photo by Ines Karma.