Gambian-US based singer, Mariam is the most popular Gambian musician on Facebook and possibly the first ever to accumulate more than 20,000 fans on the social networking site.
She surprisingly beat out household names like Singateh (374 fans), Gee (947 fans) Rebellion Dâ€™Recaller (3,555 fans) and even top Senegalese mbalax star, Pape Diouf.
Many Gambian musicians prefer to use their personal profile as their artist page. Singateh has more than 5000 friends on his profile and itâ€™s the same for the reigning king of rap, Gee.
Below we bring you the profile and personal facts about Mariam â€“ culled from her Facebook page;
Singer/Songwriter Mariam was born in Pipeline, The Gambia and moved to the United States when she was 11 years old. Exposed to many genres of music at an early age, music became her passion in her teen years. At 18, Mariam had an encounter with legendary Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour, who she gave a demo tape to. "It meant the world to me as a young aspiring singer to hear encouraging words from Mr. Ndour, I felt like it was my seal of approval". With that, Mariam was on a searched for a unique sound that would represent both her West-African roots as well as the Pop/R&B sound she grew up with in the US.
In 2007 Mariam moved to Los Angeles, CA to continue her education, where she met singer/songwriter/producer Hakim Adulsamad, formerly from the 90's group "The Boys". Hakim has worked with the likes of Akon, New Kids from the Block, Viviane Ndour and as fate would have it Youssou Ndour. â€œI felt that this was my chance to see if I could attain that unique sound I was looking for; I was really impressed with Hakimâ€™s ability to blend African Instruments with Hip-Hop/R&B beats.â€
Mariam effortlessly blends English and her native language Wolof to create a sweet sound that can be appreciated worldwide. Her first single with Sunland Music, titled "Yow La Buga" is a big hit in Gambia and Senegal. "I am so happy to hear how well the song is doing; it's a great feeling to know your people are behind you!"
Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, Mariam is finishing up her debut album. When asked how to define her style, she adds..."I do not want to be boxed in. I sing in Wolof, English, or both. I love my native instruments such as the "Tama" and "Sabar" I believe that either audience can appreciate itâ€¦the music speaks for itself. No limitations.