It’s tempting to describe Dua Saleh as a natural. An artist who only began recording music two years ago isn’t supposed to sing with such infectious bravado and haunting gloom. Yet to say Dua, who identifies as gender non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns, has arrived fully-formed on their first ever EP project titled “Nūr” - (pronounced “noor” - meaning “the light” in Arabic). They may have just decided to try songwriting, but they’ve spent their life working across divisions: borders, mediums, identities, and protest lines.
It’s Dua Saleh’s fluidity of sound, form, and self-presentation that makes them so enlivening. Their vocal range is elastic, floating from an elegant purr into an unvarnished, guttural growl, and then back again at a moment’s notice. Their writing can be dreamy, but more often plumbs the soul, pricking deep with a poet’s precision and showing the scars that remain. To listen to Dua Saleh is to hear, in real time, someone fight for the right to define themselves for themselves.