Layla Kardan has one of the most remarkable air miles sucking CVs imaginable – born in Belgium but now an Australian national, Layla lives and works in the United Arab Emirates, becoming hugely respected in the worlds of both music and fashion. With Iranian roots, courtesy of her father, this kind of overtly self-confident embracing of Western idealism is at odds with the subservient expectations of women in society. That Layla continues to capture the imaginations of magazines and radio stations across the Middle East and beyond is testament to both her spirit and her talent.
With the likes of Emirates Airlines, Harper’s Bazaar and Louboutin featuring her in editorials and campaigns, it’s her new album, Saved, which is currently making waves. The songs reflect both the opposition she has faced in her career choices, as well as what it means to be an empowered woman in any area of the world, let alone the Middle East. Combining jazzy, moody vibes alongside traditional rhythms and soulful vocals, it’s enchanting and thought-provoking and well worth a listen.