Manal Benchlikha (Arabic: منال بنشليخة; born 18 September 1993) or simply known as Manal, is a Moroccan pop singer and songwriter. Originally from Marrakesh, Manal grew up in the red city where she is still studying business and finance. Having always wanted to be a musical artist, she posted covers on YouTube and was discovered by Hamza Aitkhali, the partner of Moroccan producer DJ Van.
After a short stint with DJ Van’s label Magic Castle Entertainment and the release of her debut single Denia, which earned her the ‘Best Female Artist North Africa’ award at the Africa Music Awards in 2015, she switched management to Tarik Azzougarh, better known as Cilvaringz, producer and conceptualizer of the world’s most expensive musical work ever sold, Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
Manal followed up her debut single with her song Koulchi Ban, the last song she would do with DJ Van. The release of Koulchi Ban received critical acclaim from fans and sparked the interest of Sony Music Middle East. In October 2017, Manal became the first Moroccan to sign to a major label in the Arab world.
In February 2018, Manal released her third single Taj (Crown). Due to its music video and a significant departure from Manal’s signature sound, Taj started a buzz and garnered millions of views in a short time. It is one of the most viewed Arabic rap song performed by a female artist. After Taj, Manal released the song Nah featuring Moroccan rap duo Shayfeen and then had her biggest single to-date, Slay, in collaboration with ElGrandeToto.
In April 2019, she released Pas Le Choix and followed up with love ballad Nta in September.
In November 2019, Manal signed a distribution deal with RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment France, and announced the release of her debut album 360.
OVERALL RATING: 4 stars