Petra Jarrar is a Rebel with a cause in her inspirational new single and stylish split-screen video — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Leaning further into the ’90s diva vibe she explored with previous single Past Life — and meshing soaring vocal production with throwback electronics and a sense of modernity in the songwriting — Rebel delivers a hit of pop infused with a positive message of advocacy and awareness.
“The idea for Rebel came to me at the end of May, shortly after the murder of George Floyd and the start of the protests that broke out through New York,” Jarrar recalls. “I have been working as an activist since my sophomore year of college, and have been extremely vocal about our social, political, economic and environmental climate. I had built up anger and resentment, especially in light of the murders of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbrey and countless others. One key factor I noticed in my activist work is that 2020 set a completely new standard I never saw before; silence is violence, and it’s time to stand up for what we believe in and no longer watch quietly.
“During the time I began writing my ideas for Rebel, I was feeling lost and hopeless with the state of the world. We were weeks away from the New York presidential primaries, the worst recorded pandemic in history has kept us locked inside for months, racial justices became a second pandemic taking over our country, and we have a president who cares more about his popularity ratings amongst his supporters instead of facing the issues plaguing our country. I felt like I was living in some alternate universe where all of a sudden, my voice didn’t matter anymore. As a daughter of political refugees, I knew how much my voice mattered to represent those who didn’t have the chance to, but for the first time in my life, I felt trapped.
“I wrote Rebel with Alex Arias; while this was our second collaboration, this was the first time we got to write a song together. Before our session, I had written out all of my thoughts into a stream of consciousness. We ended up writing Rebel in one session, because Alex and I felt so similarly about our current state of the world. We had these built up feelings that were bottled for so long, that writing Rebel became a catharsis for us.
“Lyrically, the song tackles head first on reclaiming my voice and fighting for what I believe in, and while the odds could be against me, I know I have the power and determination to make it through. I was influenced heavily by some of my favorite rebellious artists such as Billy Idol, Bikini Kill, David Bowie, Lady Gaga and P!nk. For the production, I wanted to channel this new sound and style that I have been experimenting with since Past Life. I was heavily influenced by lots of dance/synth pop and wanted to challenge Alex and myself to a style of production that isn’t always used in political anthems.”