The ultimate fashionista, musical artiste phenomena, the mom we all aspire to be. These were my thoughts immediately when we waltzed into Eiman Hamza’s home in Nashville, her son “Z” being the ever-so-gentle “meet and greet.”
It was a fantastic day, and I felt as though we’ve known each other for a while. One can’t help but be drawn to Eiman, much like a powerful magnet. We dived right into all things colorful, happy, and fashion-y- oh yes, and tons of fun chatter and exuberant energy.
Eiman is a woman of many angles. Born in America (LA to be exact) to Egyptian parents, she studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. Next up, she married an Italian man, co-founding the Italian clothing label Happiness Brand (selling at close to 4,000 stores internationally). All the while, she has been creating ultra-cool music. Her most recent endeavor? Landing in Nashville, chickens and all, and releasing her latest song—Don’t Wake Me Up—a collaboration with former NBA basketball player and current DJ Rony Seikaly.
It didn’t take more than a nano-second to want to know every little detail about Eiman, listening intensely and taking in her (upbeat) energy.
Creative in music & fashion. I sing and write songs, and I design clothes.
Before your current occupation you were:
Singing and designing clothes for free.99, worked at a bowling alley, Costco, a sushi restaurant, as a trend researcher/ analyst for a company that sold products to Bed Bath and Beyond and Target, a high-end boutique selling shoes and handbags.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have it written down everywhere in my old diaries or papers I made and put in a “dream box” when I was little that I would be a fashion designer and a singer. That was it. It was just music and fashion for me. I wish I could say I wanted to be an astronaut or something cooler but unfortunately, it was just those two things. I loved sports and loved art, drawing, singing and performing for my stuffed animals… a strange little being I was.
In 10 years you will be:
Living my best life. Haha maybe I’ll have one more kid, living in Paris for a year and working on yet another project that allows me to express myself in a different way, maybe it’s writing a book and still making music because it is what gives me life. I will be super flexible because I’ll be doing yoga and pilates every day and still eating my way through life. Did I mention I love food?
What inspired you to be a singer:
I was inspired by my father to sing and to create music. It was always his dream and he sang all throughout college in Egypt. He had an incredible voice and wrote beautiful lyrics of love and life. He always pushed my sisters and I to play instruments so we grew up playing the violin and the guitar. He taught me how to sing and introduced me to the greats like Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Nat King Cole, Oum Kalthoum, Abdel Halim Hafez, and every musical known to man. I have a rose tattooed on me because of Bette Midler’s song The Rose that he had me sing all the time. It’s one of his favorite songs of all time.
What is your background, and how did you get started in this field?
I grew up singing and when I was thirteen I started to write songs when going through some “hardcore” teenage stuff, which seems like the worst thing ever until you fast forward life and realize that those problems were not as massive as they seem at the time and if I could have “those problems” again I would sign up so fast for them! Lol. Playing the guitar and the violin also became a release for me during tough times and I was always in choir. I have been singing since the day I could speak and after high school I was asked to audition for a girl group and I made it through every round of auditions until it got to the dance choreography part which I bombed miserably. I still have PTSD from that. After, I kind of gave up on music for a little to express myself in fashion, graduated FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) moved to Italy and started my brand, opened 38 stores worldwide with distribution in over 3,000 boutiques and then I lost everything and I found myself expressing myself the same way I used to when I was a teenager during “hard times” through music again. I began writing and vowed to make that little girl proud and follow through with her dreams of creating music.
Where did you learn your craft:
From my dad. (He is the one who taught me how to sing and where to put the emotion, how to write music that means something.) And he always told me to never live within comfort zones, to be honest and work hard for everything I want in life and I’ve always applied that to every single I’ve ever done. Whether it be music or fashion.
Where do you look for inspiration?
In old Arabic songs. I love everything about classic Arabic music, the powerful lyrics, the emotion in the song, the tremble, and vibrato in the voice, ugh… the beat, the simplicity in the music itself is just incredibly inspiring and I want that similarity to be represented in the music I create today.
What was your “aha” moment when you realized you could really do this:
I don’t know if I’ve ever had that “aha” moment. I am not as confident as I seem, and I probably shouldn’t be saying that but I doubt myself a lot. I am in my head so much and every day I battle myself which is not only tiring and exhausting but incredibly crippling. I am rather pushed by this need to do it for the little girl in me who had these dreams, for other women just like me who cannot and should not give up on their dreams because life happened. So I am running on a sense of I have to do this rather than the idea of “oh, I can totally do this.” I mean the reality is, I can sing, I can write my own music, I can entertain, I know it and I do it but it’s a constant battle to believe in myself.
As much as my father inspired me and surrounded our lives by music he was also an immigrant who strived for a sense of security. He gave up on his dreams of becoming a singer to be an engineer and never liked the idea of me pursuing a creative field. He didn’t speak to me for three years when I told him I was going to pursue fashion. I’ve found that a lot of my friends and people that are raised as a first-generation American/ Egyptian you are never told “sweetie, you can be whatever you want when you grow up!” You need to find a job that gives security. And when you are Egyptian there are only three professions to choose from: a doctor, pharmacist and/or an engineer. Period. The rest is for dreams and I think that lack of self belief is instilled in us at a young age because of that very reason.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I am constantly expressing myself and leaving a legacy behind for my son. Music is immortal and I think it is truly a gift and curse to be able to create in music. How many people dream of being a singer? So many and not all have a voice and I have to remind myself of this of this gift. It’s a blessing and a curse when you have a voice and something to say you feel a sense of obligation. When I am in the studio or writing, up on stage with my band I feel the freest I have ever felt in my life. And I have learned that freedom is truly the greatest luxury in life. Nothing compares.
What makes your (work) style different from others (in your field) out there?
I started making music out of a need to express myself after everything that happened with my brand and the first song I wrote was “Free Me.” It’s a song about following your dreams and passions even when life is pulling you in so many different directions. Each one of us play so many roles in this little life and sometimes we just need total freedom to do us! After that song I put out two other ones and I realized that I was being a songwriter and not an artist. That those songs as a whole didn’t represent me and who I am as Eiman Hamza, the artist. So I decided that whatever music I put out from here on out will need to be a blend of both my worlds as an American and an Egyptian. Now I am here in Nashville creating music with Arabic influences and bellydancing in cowboy boots. Lol. I think it’s kind of different, no?
Who would be a dream collaborator?
I mean, Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves or Amr Diab. From Nashville to Cairo. A girl can dream.
What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
The most fulfilling part hands down is having my son come into the studio with me, be present in writing sessions or seeing his little sweet magical face in the crowd from stage. He wrote me a card when I said I was going to pursue music that said “mamma I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you make your dreams come true. I will see you on stage!” I have that card on my fridge and whenever I am feeling that self doubt it pushes me forward.
How does your personal style influence your brand and products?
It has an influence on everything I touch. My personal style is very much anti-neutral. I love color, bright things, happy people, positive vibes, writing on my pants, sneakers and cowboy boots with marker, personalizing everything. Since I was a little girl I’ve never been into following trends but I’ve always been on the other side of being a trend setter but not on purpose. Like everything I do I express myself through fashion and when I wake up in the morning I dress myself by the way I feel not what people would like to see me in and that philosophy goes into every brand/ product I create. I will make music the way I want to make it, not what’s trending.
Do you have a hobby?
I love to read but only a few books can really capture my attention span (I suffer from A.D.D) but when they do it’s heavenly. And I love to paint- I’m not a painter by any means. There is something just so calming and relaxing about picking up color with a brush and swishing it onto a blank piece of paper without any direction. Oh, I also found TikTok and I now love to make videos to funny sounds from movies or shows. I refuse to do the dances. I have to draw a line somewhere.
“My favorite quote is”:
“Be the child you were.”
Who is an influential figure in your life?
So cliche but my father and mother. My mom is one of the strongest women I have ever met in this lifetime. She has showed me what resilience looks like first hand, overcoming things you only read or see in movies. My dad is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met who has always aspired for greatness. The two of them are a constant force that moves me to destroy my boundaries, overcome obstacles or move towards my dreams. They are also the reason I do therapy.
Do you have a style icon?
I have a few… Cher, Bianca Jagger, Sade.
If you could have a conversation with any living person, who would it be and why?
Dolly Parton or Madonna. They are women who paved the way for so many of us in the music industry and have had to really push against male chauvinists, hatred from other females, it must have felt at some point or another that the world was against them because they were doing something different. I watch their old interviews and I am constantly in awe by how eloquently spoken they are and how beautifully strong they get their point across even when it isn’t being met with grace. I would ask them so many questions they would call security on me after a minute.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew before?
That nothing is forever except change. I thought some things would be forever and knowing that nothing is safe from failure or loss makes me appreciate simple things more like time, people and the memories being made rather than the goals that need to be accomplished. I enjoy the process now so much more over the result.
What’s your motto in life?
Do you, boo boo. Screw what everyone else thinks, go after those dreams, stop trying to be ordinary, by being true to yourself you will attract the right people and trust in the timing of things!
Where do you go for peace of mind and spirit?
To the bathroom. It’s my safe space, my haven with zero interruptions and I just put music on in my headphones and dance dance dance.
Photos by Alaina Mullin