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Saudi’s first female DJ swapped dentistry for a career in techno music

DJ Nouf Sufyani

If you were to encounter Nouf Sufyani a few years back, it would have been between the white sterile walls of her dental practice, abiding to societal expectations and preparing for a lifetime of cleaning teeth. Today all of that is behind her, swapping the sounds of the high-pitched dental drills for base-bumping techno beats. 

Known in the region by her stage name Cosmicat, the 27 year old Jeddah-native has fully embraced her new title: “Saudi Arabia’s first female DJ.” Leading the way for young female artists, she personifies the kingdom’s sudden liberalisation.

Growing up, she felt alone in her passion for techno music, with a lack of representation and a looming pressure to follow a traditional path… until she met a group of artists in Jeddah. 

“Everything changed after that” she told Vice Arabia. 

Aftering catching a glimpse of the lifestyle these young creatives paved for themselves, she wasted no time, went to the nearest music store, bought an amateur DJ controller and began to teach herself the craft, with the help of those same friends, countless youtube videos and online forums. 

 

For a while, she had to juggle two lives

The first as Nouf Sufyani, the full-time practicing dentist in Jeddah, working six days a week. The second, as Cosmicat, who was only able to come alive at night or sporadically in her precious spare time, making mixes from her own home, then posted on social media. 

 

 

Cosmicat’s online persona gained traction rather quickly, roping in the attention of one especially big fish: the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). As the region’s largest television network, they single-handedly changed the path of her career by inviting her to be the host for their latest TV shows.

The lifestyle show, translating to Youth Hub in English, airs weekly from Lebanon, to which she commutes to from Jeddah. Despite the distance, this opportunity in the entertainment industry gave her the green light to retire her scrubs and focus on her creative craft. 

 

Change doesn’t happen overnight 

Nouf Sufyani is fortunate to have the support of her family and friends. She does admit, however; to dealing with criticism, as the country undergoes adjustments to accepting what, for so long was intensely taboo

“Some people told me I was simply fooling around while others said that my work as a DJ wouldn’t make it far as a Saudi woman. But I never let it affect me, she told Gulf News. 

 

Moving massive crowds

The criticism surely failed to slow Cosmicat down. Last December, she performed a live set in front of a 130,000 crowd at Middle East’s main music festival, MDL Beast.

Cosmicat also recently enthralled a crowd at Saudi Arabia’s first electronic music festival, White Oasis, in her city of Jeddah, as the only female DJ headlining the festival.

 

 

Speaking more with Vice, Cosmicat bolden’s her stance regarding the critics: ”I’m trying to show them that times have changed.”   

Although her battle is not political, she recognizes music as a powerful tool for change. Her goal as an artist is to make “the difference between humans vanish; to make all distances and barriers disappear.” 

Techno music’s power resides in its ability to be speak volumes without the use of any words.