Omnia Hegazy
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Omnia Hegazy

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Rock Pop




"Exclusive premiere of Omnia Hegazy’s powerful new single, ‘Dust’"

Omnia Hegazy's latest single, “Dust,” is a passionately raging soulful swagger of fearsome intensity. From the opening jagged chainsaw guitar lead to the dam-burst of genuine emotion, Omnia has hit another potent highpoint in her already impressive career.

“The song tries to explain to a significant other how it feels to be a woman and feel unsafe as I go about my daily life (work, rehearsal, shows, simply going home alone, etc.),” Omnia told AXS in a recent interview. In a broader sense, the scorching track examines the contrast between being objectified and being loved, but Hegazy reveals the verses aren’t just examples created to reinforce the central theme, they were actual situations she found herself in.

“The second verse happened at a party in LA,” Omnia recounted. “I was there for work, it was a music industry party, and within five minutes, there was a guy who was trying to lure me into the bathroom! And then there was another guy, an angry guy who...” the artist trailed off, opting to leave the details of the situation out of the conversation. “Let’s just say, when you try to politely turn a guy down, sometimes no matter what you do or say, you get called a b*tch!”

She continued, “On the street, if a guy catcalls and says, ‘Hey sexy!’ or something stupid like that and I don’t act like I like it or I don’t say, ‘Thank you,” once again, I am called a b*tch! If you talk to other women, they will tell you the same thing, the second that you’re not receptive towards a guy’s comments or advances, you’re a b*tch.”

When asked what she thinks it is that causes this behavior, Hegazy responded, “I think entitlement is the perfect word. Street harassment has been the talk of public conversation these days. And, there is the video of that woman who was just walking down the street in New York and she was harassed over 100 times! I think when we’re walking down the street, a lot of men feel, maybe subconsciously, that the street is theirs, the space is not for women, it’s for men, so if we pass through it, we are commented on and evaluated. If we’re not okay with that, then basically, they are entitled to say whatever they want. Ultimately, I think that’s why they get so angry if you challenge them because in essence you are challenging their power, you’re challenging that entitlement.”

But backing down or submitting is just not in Hegazy’s nature. In all aspects of her life, even amidst insults and threats, she boldly makes her stand. She’s an advocate, a champion for anyone whose freedoms are being oppressed.

“I tend to be very socially and politically aware,” the artist noted, “and that’s going to infiltrate my music, no matter what.” However, even Omnia realizes her writing is evolving. Previously, her music tended to focus on cultural inequalities and larger, world issues, but more and more, instead of looking at what’s going on globally, the artist is pulling her focus inward and examining what’s going on inside of her. That personal aspect seems to be forging a powerful bond with her listeners.

“There is still a global point to my music,” she declared, “something that is bigger than me. In ‘Dust,’ I’m speaking about my own experiences, yes, but there’s an overall point to this song. It’s about women feeling unsafe. I don’t text my guy friends and say, ‘Hey, let me know when you get home,’ but I do text that to my girlfriends. And that’s what this song is trying to address, that ever-present discomfort of feeling unsafe.”

“I’m impressed by manners, a guy who knows how to say, ‘Hi,’ and doesn’t talk about my ass in the first few words,” she offered. “When a guy doesn’t lead with how I look, that is such a rare thing.”

When AXS asked if there was ever a time or a way that a guy could call something out from the street that would not make her feel threatened or objectified, the artist replied, “There is a big difference between approaching a woman and shouting something out at her on the street. On the street, it’s very rarely an actual advance, it’s just a show of power. A guy who is shouting at me on the street has no intention of coming up to talk to me, he’s just shouting whatever he can because he can. It’s not an approach, it’s not a means to an end. And something else that’s important to note, usually it’s not something nice. I might hear, ‘Hey, you have a beautiful body... for a little woman!’ And if you don’t just let that comment slide, that’s when the obscenities start coming.”

First and foremost, “Dust” is a powerful, well-crafted song performed by an artist who knows how to engage and captivate through music. “That’s the ultimate goal, really,” Omnia concluded. “Sometimes my music does become about the issues, but at the end of the day, it needs to be about the music. I don’t take on issues so they’ll speak for my music, I speak about issues through my music. I’m a musician, it started that way and it’s gonna end that way.”

For more information on Omnia Hegazy, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Also, be sure to download “Dust” from the artist’s Bandcamp page. - AXS

"Photos from Women in the World Texas Forum"

Photo Gallery - See Link Above - The Daily Beast

"Pop Singer Omnia Hegazy Tackles Rules of Arab, Muslim Communities 1 Song at a Time."

Pop singer Omnia Hegazy isn’t one to keep quiet about inequities she sees in Muslim societies. The young artist, who is of Egyptian descent, is working to draw attention to issues that she says that many would rather ignore, while treading a fine line between critiquing her community and defending it.

The California-born, New York-raised recording artist said it was a recent visit to Egypt, where her father is from, that sparked songs which upset some of her friends.

“I have always been the person at the dinner table to argue with you about politics and I will not shut up,” Hegazy told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “Music is an avenue for me to express that.”

“There are a lot of issues, like honor killing, that go on,” she said. “For instance, we were at a beach, and it was extremely hot. All the women were covered up head-to-toe in black, and all the men were wearing Speedos, and that’s how I started writing my song ‘Grace.’ We are all covered up and you men are not, what’s going on here?”

“Grace,” which Hegazy says celebrates female empowerment and beauty in all ages, shapes and sizes, is featured on her EP “Jailbird.” Indeed its lyrics are quite direct:

Cover your face
Before you poison all our souls
Cover your mouth
Before it tells us something we don't know
Cover your body
For your skin incinerates
The will of weakened men who just might lose their faith

Our heads our full of color inside
Why is it that we should hide
Who ever gave you the right to step on our pride?

The next topic she wants to tackle is while many Muslim women choose to wear the headscarf, known as hijab, some women are still forced to wear it by their families or the governments.

“A lot of the women on my dad’s side wear the hijab, and I have no problem with someone choosing to wear it,” said Hegazy, whose father is Muslim and whose mother was raised Italian Catholic. “I grew up believing it was a choice, but I think there is a lot of pressure on young Muslim girls to wear it, and it is becoming not a choice, which I don’t think is right.”

Hegazy says her music gets an overwhelmingly positive reaction in Arab and Muslim communities, but that being outspoken does have a cost.

“There are a lot of people, not just even traditional Muslims, these are everyday Muslims and friends I have had, who have said, ‘I disagree with what you said,’” she told us. “It’s at the point that there isn’t a lot of debate in that community and we’re all supposed to think the same... I can’t really do that.”

Hegazy says the criticism sometimes goes beyond just a difference in opinion.

“I will admit I do get nervous, I try to keep my family out of things when people ask. I need to start budgeting for security,” she said. “But I won’t stop doing what I do because of a few crazy people.”

Hegazy says the entertainment industry hasn’t exactly been warm and embracing either.

“The music industry is tough because there is not that much cultural diversity as there should be. Being Middle Eastern you get pigeon-holed, or people don’t really know how to approach you,” she said. “But I just released my second album, and there is a lot of subject matter I want to get out there. I am an independent artist, and I am okay with working without a label. I am a DIY musician, and I come from that DIY school of thought.”

Read more:
- Fox News

"Omnia Hegazy releases challenging new music, talks growing up Muslim on Staten Island"

On the eve of her EP Release Party, singer-songwriter Omnia Hegazy talks about her politically charged pop/rock, growing up Muslim on S.I, and refusing to whitewash her Arabic name. - Staten Island Advance

"No Judgments: Aslan Media Music Editor’s October Pick"

Confession: being a woman who writes on Middle Eastern and so-called Muslim music is sometimes a lonely task. “Today’s Muslim woman, in a postcolonial context, can run the risk of being sensational, dismissing voices from within in favor of outsider perspectives fueled by Orientalist mystery and untouched exoticism,” I wrote back in March. “If there is a unified self in depicting female Islamic identity, it’s many times conflicted, fighting against a dichotomy that sensationalizes the Muslim woman as exotic, passive, anonymous—rather than individual and assertive.”

Yet to counter that periodic loneliness is the excitement of more female artists coming forward to create music that isn’t Islamic, but Muslim (yes, there is a difference between the two)—instead of singing praises to God, they’re using their talent to create a new perspective and dialogue around the issues that eclipse and stigmatize contemporary Islam, as both a faith and a culture. One such artist leading that path is the Egyptian-Italian-American singer-songwriter Omnia Hegazy (popular amongst Muslims and non-Muslims alike), a woman whose lyrics about female dignity walk the tightrope between getting vilified by the uber-religious and manipulated as a poster image for Islamophobic neo-cons.

An outspoken critic of both extremes—and an advocate for progressive Muslim ideals—Hegazy’s unapologetic grace and passion shine through in her sophomore EP Judgment Day, her “bold statement on love and war,” released earlier this year. In what feels almost like a throwback to the socially conscious vibes that dominated 60’s singer-songwriter protest music, the tracks address social ills within conservative Islamic communities that many would rather push under the rug and pretend don’t exist—a Band-Aid approach on an infected wound. Hegazy effectively strips the gauze off, and in doing so, keeps dialogue around women’s issues relevant, holding other Muslims accountable as well.

“I do not perform Islamic music,” she recently wrote in response to Aslan Media’s recent criticism of Awakening Records and their lack musical diversity and female representation. “While I have written songs that reference my faith, I do not set out to write hymns, nor have I ever written one. For the longest time, I avoided singing or even talking about religion, especially Islam. Being pigeonholed as a ‘Muslim’ artist would have meant: 1). having a standard of pious behavior to publicly adhere to, and 2). isolating potential non-Muslim fans.”

With its universal approach to issues that affect more than just Islamic societies, the EP deeply intertwines the political with the personal, and it’s through the gentle yet raw lyrics that we see Hegazy getting to the root of difficult conversations that too easily go didactic, or worse, apologetic. “Tell me you love me again/ And leave a bruise on my face/ Is that how you cope/ With the weakness you can’t escape,” she sings in “Tough Love,” a track she debated including but decided to release out of frustration with the “ambiguous and metaphoric songs about domestic violence and relationship abuse that sugarcoat the harsh reality of the experience.”

“It is a challenge to fight injustices in Islamic societies, while also battling Islamophobia,” she writes. “Nevertheless, as a Muslim, an Arab and American, and an artist, I believe it is my responsibility to do both…. If every time a Muslim speaks honestly about his or her community, the far right uses that criticism to fuel Islamophobia, Muslims will continue to be afraid to address the problems that arise in their communities for fear of feeding stereotypes. The result? No progress.”

That’s not to say that we’re not making progress, but it’s often uneven and stalled, and in the case of the Middle East, many times marred by either Orientalist ideas of powerless women dominated by men, or self-induced inferiority amongst women in the region who suffer from internalized oppression. Both sides play into the stigmatized and negative identity that is best encapsulated by the worn out, overmedicated and clichéd image of the veiled Muslim woman, often dominated by the trifecta of male power: the state, religious institutions and husbands. Rarely is the average Muslim woman portrayed by her standard strengths: educated, socially aware, politically active. Instead, we latch on to her modest, “traditional” reputation, assuming that she has no voice. As if she were a passive force of internal and untapped strength, what these assumptions really do is reduce women to one image the West has of her, making her cheap ammunition in an already simplified debate over the complex issues and double standards that make up gender inequality in the Middle East.

Within a potent lyrical and melodic mix of confession and emotion, blunt and soft, Judgment Day draws its greatest strength-- from opening song “Aziza,” about a young girl who gives up her life to be forced into an arranged marriag - Aslan Media

"Omnia Hegazy - Grace"

Committed to women’s rights, Omnia celebrates the beauty of women in her music videos. This NYC native with Mediterranean roots fuses political lyrics with western rock and oriental sounds. - MTV Iggy

"Music Monday: Aziza"

About the Song

"This song is on my ‘Judgment Day‘ EP that came out in May 2013 and was featured on features on Fox News, The Daily Beast, and Arabic newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat.

The character “Aziza” is an amalgamation of two of my cousins. One was sent to Egypt to get married at a very young age to a man she hardly knew (she was later divorced). The other was a young medical student who married while completing her residency. When she got pregnant, her husband decided it was best for her to stay home, not just on maternity leave, but permanently, despite the years of schooling and hard work she had undergone to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. Neither of my cousins is named “Aziza”, but I always found the name to be very musical. It also means “precious one” in Arabic, and, amidst all the other Arabic terms of endearment referenced in this song (habibi, hayati, etc), it just seemed to fall into place. Some songs take months to complete, but this one basically wrote itself, in less than a couple of hours.

“Aziza” doesn’t have to be of Arab descent – she can really be any young woman who faces societal pressure and unfair expectations. I still get messages from women all around the world saying, “I was married at the age of ____. I feel “Aziza’s pain”. But then, I know so many women here in America who feel that they must be married by a certain age or else they will be seen as undesirable. Many of us also feel that we have to adhere to certain standards of beauty and that our worth is determined by our sex appeal, or lack thereof – despite our more important attributes such as intelligence, kindness, or talent.

There’s a live performance video on Youtube as well.

About the Composition

Because this song tells a story, it almost felt like a folk song to me. My goal in the arrangement and recording of this song was to blend American folk with a Middle Eastern sensibility, while still maintaining a pop song structure that made it easy to catch on to. My cousins, who “Aziza” is based on, are Arab-American, so I wanted the song to be distinctly Arab-American as well. Along with acoustic guitar and mandolin, we also recorded an oud – a traditional 11-stringed lute from the Middle East. It is incredibly hard to tune, and Eastern tuning is quite different from Western tuning, so bringing both musical traditions together was definitely a challenge (but 100% worthwhile). We (my amazing engineer Chase Culpon and I) also opted not to record with a click-track, so the drums, bass, and acoustic guitar were all recorded together live. It definitely made for a more organic experience and sound. - Storyacious

"Faces of Moral Courage"

"When Internet trolls pressure Omnia Hegazy to cover up, she lets down her hair. A Muslim singer-songwriter, she's sometimes vilified for baring her heart and singing about women's dignity. Omnia won't give up her voice because there are too many girls denied their own. Artists take note: when anonymous people curse you to hellfire, it might mean you're flashing moral courage." - Huffington Post

"Omnia Hegazy Interview - Al Majalla"

Documentary for Arabic Channel Al Hurra - TV Show Al Majalla
- Al Hurra TV

"In Review - By Nik Lone"

When you first listen to her engaging funk infused pop tunes, the subject matter she deals with isn’t immediately apparent. It’s when you immerse yourself in them and actually listen to the lyrics that these surface. On the stage, her songs have an even greater presence and force, which I was lucky enough to witness during a show at The Sidewalk Café back in April. Despite its dive-esque feel and the few vantage points to properly see the stage, the sound system overcame these deficiencies, giving due respect to the audience and the artist on stage. Her stage presence is certainly not short on confidence or finesse either. Some casual banter followed by diving head first into another thundering rhythm driven tune seemed to be a recurring theme that maintained the full room’s attention. - Informant Daily

"Young Female Egyptian Musicians Break Barriers"

The singer-songwriter Omnia Hegazy has been singing and playing the violin since she was a child in her New York home of her Egyptian father and Italian mother. But it was when she picked up the acoustic guitar that she discovered writing music as a form of self-expression. Today she writes about women’s rights, political freedom and the wide realm of human emotion.

She was in Egypt in 2010 and came home with a notebook full of thoughts that became the framework of her first EP Jailbird. She released her second EP Judgment Day in May 2013. In the song “Aziza” she talks about arranged marriage, a song she said has inspired responses from women worldwide.

Hegazy said that it is very important for her to be a “self-contained singer-songwriter.” “There is still somewhat of a division of power in the traditional Middle Eastern music scene between the singer, songwriter and instrumentalist,” she said. “We are starting to see artists take on those multiple roles, rather than just the role of ‘singer.’”

Hegazy, who will be filming music videos this year in the Middle East and hopes to perform in Egypt, said the Arab world is still getting used to women with guitars telling their own stories. “It is tough when you're dealing with conservative organizers who don't support female performers in ‘mixed’ environments.”

She also points out that people both in the US and in Egypt expect her to have a man to speak for her.

“I went to university for music business and I represent myself/book all my own gigs, so the assumption — that because I do not have representation— [is] that I either don't know what I'm doing or am not established enough.” She said that despite knowing her way around a studio, male sound engineers will still patronize her (“Don't worry, hun, I'll make you sound real nice.”)

“The music industry is incredibly sexist worldwide,” she said.

Read more:
- Al Monitor

"Egyptian-American fights discrimination against women through singing and dance."

*In Arabic, incompatible with Sonicbids, see link above* - Al Sharq Al Awsat


Beautiful new video with an empowering message by New York singer-songwriter Omnia. Released on International Women’s day, the song blends American and Middle Eastern pop/rock, and the video features clips of belly-dancers interspersed with head-on shots of women of every size, shape, color and age, celebrating the full range of beauty that can be seen in an honest, open, smiling face.

Description from the video:

“For all the women of the world…you are all graceful and you are all beautiful.”

Music video by Omnia Hegazy performing Grace. © 2012 All Rights Reserved - Lyrical Venus

"Musician Challenges Views on Muslims"

Video: Musician Challenges Views on Muslims: Interview on Fox News Channel "What's Happening Now" with Jenna Lee. - Fox News

"Moral Courage Channel Launches On YouTube"

Meet Omnia Hegazy—she’s a singer, a songwriter, a beautiful young woman with a lilting voice and mesmerizing dance moves that draw from her Muslim heritage. And she’s the first star of the new Moral Courage Channel, which has just debuted on YouTube in connection with the Moral Courage Project at New York University.

The channel is the brainchild of Executive Producer Irshad Manji, the NYU professor whom The New York Times once described as “Osama’s bin Laden’s worst nightmare” and the author of Allah, Liberty and Love and The Trouble With Islam Today. According to its YouTube site, the Channel is dedicated to “the willingness to stand up when others want you to sit down. It is living with integrity.”

Hegazy’s story, the first in Channel’s series of original episodes, is a prime example of this kind of radical temerity. “A lot of Muslim men could learn how to deal with a woman,” she tells the camera with a slight smile. “And a little bit of skin. To be frank.”

Her lyrics—such as those on her song “Grace,” from her digital album “The Jailbird”—have stirred up hate mail (one email told her to burn in hell for all eternity) as well as praise, especially from other Muslim women. “Why should you just be free while I stay here to suffocate?” She sings. “I’m not an object, but a woman, don't you see? It would do you some good to learn the way to talk to me.”

Hegazy hopes her songs—by appealing to people’s emotions rather than just preaching at them--will convince Muslims to respect a diversity of opinion—and to reconsider the message that Islam gives to women today. “You get the sense that I have to hide, my body is poisonous, it makes men do bad things. Instead of teaching men self-control, we teach women that we need to cover up and protect ourselves. There’s the wrong emphasis here.” - The Daily Beast

"10 Questions with Omnia – Featured Artist on Lyrical Venus 3/27!"

While many young women her age are singing about parties and boyfriends over the same beats as everyone else, New York singer-songwriter Omnia tackles weightier world issues head-on with grace and passion. Combining modern pop styles with the rich flavors of her Mediterranean heritage, the East-meets-West result is fresh, engaging music with a message of empowerment. - Lyrical Venus

"Omnia Releases Long Awaited Project The Jailbird EP"

OMNIA Releases Long Awaited Project “The Jailbird EP”
The Egyptian-American singer, OMNIA, released her project “The Jailbird EP” today. A senior in the Clive Davis Dept of Recorded Music at NYU, Omnia utilizes what she has learned at the prestigious school to produce an amazing piece of art that rivals that of mainstream music. She is an example of how young people all over the world are using their talent & knowledge to change society by offering unique perspectives and solutions to global problems. We salute Omnia and those like her… KEEP STRIVING! Click here for OMNIA’S TWITTER & WEBSITE

Open Sky Artworks released this statement: “We are proud of OMNIA for producing such a quality project that blends live instrumentation with a social commentary that needs to be heard. With the media spotlight on the Middle East and as countries are seeing revolution, Omnia is a breath of fresh air to those of us in entertainment who try to reconcile music and social movement. We are looking forward to seeing the response that critics, supporters and fans have to “The Jailbird EP.” - Strive Till I Rise

"OMNIA Hegazy "Grace" Video"

Check out Omnia's first official music video. I've done two shows with her in the past, extremely talented and nice!
- The SI Band Guy

"Omnia Hegazy "Grace" Video"

Right in line with our theme this month... singer/songwriter Omnia released her debut video for her track "Grace," advocating for women's empowerment and liberation, the first track from her EP The Jailbird. Looking forward to hearing more!! Via Open Sky Artworks. - Hip Hop and Her Family

"Omnia Hegazy - In Arabic - see link below"

Arabic text is imcompatible with Sonicbids, see link to article. - Bandoora

"From Nothing in Silence"

Originally from Staten Island, New York, Omnia was not raised in a musically-rich household. There were no musicians in her family, but from the ripe age of 5, Omnia knew music would become her passion. She began singing and playing classical instruments like the violin and clarinet, but when she was introduced to Arabic music, she immediately gravitated towards it. The whimsical quality of Middle Eastern music caught the attention of Omnia and she began incorporating the quarter-step notes into her own music. “Arabic music is more dreamy and more mysterious than American music,” says Omnia. At a young age she also picked up the rich Middle Eastern cultural practice of belly dancing, and aspires to incorporate these elements into her musical undertakings.

Omnia is now a Junior studying at the Clive Davis department in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is currently perfecting her first EP and is no rush to release it. The patience she has for her music will ultimately ensure that it will turn out exactly as she envisioned it–from its conception to the release. She explains she needs to feel a certain “vibe” on all of her tracks before they are finalized and to be able to step back and experience the song as if listening to it for the first time. “I know when a song is finished when I can listen to it objectively,” she explains.

Although the quality of Omnia’s sound is very much reflective of her personality, she ultimately wants her music to be selfless and used as a tool to raise political attention. In the song “Grace” she sheds light on the role of women in society and their often mistreatment. Omnia hopes to not only bring Arabic music into the American mainstream but to start conversations for social change. Her sights are set high, but at the end of the day, she has a very simple approach to it all. “I just want my music to be real.” - Campusounds



If Omnia Hegazy was not a musician, she might have been a journalist. The daughter of an Egyptian-Muslim father and an Italian-Catholic mother, she grew up in New York City a citizen of the world, with a passion for music and storytelling. Her sound is informed by guitar-driven American pop/rock, maqam-based Arabic folk, and the politically-charged singer-songwriters of the past and present. 

Omnia started singing around the age of five and became a dedicated classical violinist at the age of ten. Looking for more artistic freedom, she picked up the acoustic guitar and discovered songwriting as a medium of self-expression. Now twenty-five, she does not draw inspiration exclusively from her own experiences. Her diverse perspective has also prompted her to take on issues such as women's rights and political freedom. After scribbling her observations in a notebook on her trip to Egypt in 2010, she wrote half of the material for her first EP Jailbird and released the project independently a year later. Her sophomore EP entitled Judgment Day was released in May of 2013 and met with major press, including features on The Huffington Post, Fox News, The Daily Beast, and pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat.

Omnia is a graduate of the prestigious Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied music production and music business. She performs frequently at venues and universities in the United States, and is currently in the process of writing and recording her first full-length album. 

Band Members