A native of Morocco, Hindi Zahra was born to a military father and stay-at-home mother who also dabbled in acting and singing. The artist grew up listening to all manner of music genres, from rock to reggae to traditional Berber, all the while lending a keen ear to Bollywood songs and the vocal prowess of divas Cheikha Remitti and Oum Kalsoum. After settling in France in the early 1990s, Zahra kick-started her career as backing vocalist for a music collective led by singer Spleen and guitarist Hugh Coltman, before getting to work on writing her own material. In 2007, she made her live debut as a solo performer. Three years later, Blue Note released Handmade, her first album. The singer-songwriter then landed France's coveted 2010 Prix Constantin, awarded each year to emerging new artists.