"Sheyla," a traditional Khaleeji-Saudi singing style, has gained enormous popularity in the kingdom in the past few years. The music style has always been dominated by male singers, but this seems to be about to change.
Earlier this week, a "sheyla" track released by Saudi female talent Rawan Al Shehri went viral on social media. The track is a tribute to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), with its lyrics hailing the young leader.
Given that it's rare for Saudi women to take up careers in the music industry, Al Shehri's release led to a meltdown of the sorts.
The track took Saudi internet by storm...
Al Shehri's "sheyla" sparked intense backlash on Saudi social media platforms, as many in the kingdom still believe it's unacceptable for women to sing in public.
Some tweeps offensively argued the point, going as far as stating that it's shameful for a woman's voice to be heard in public.
However, several online users also hit back at those arguments, leading to a heated debate that played out on Twitter.
Some offensively argued against women singing in public...
"A woman's voice is like one of her private parts... I am just speechless, this is the end of the world."
"This isn't something to be proud of"
Many attacked Al Shehri for singing...
"It's unacceptable for her to do this in public."
Others criticized the young woman's track...
"I don't even know how to react to any of it, the lyrics, her voice, and the accent."
Not everyone was against Al Shehri's "sheyla" though
"This is the first time I enjoy myself while listening to a 'sheyla.' Thank you Rawan Al Shehri."
And many strongly defended her...
"To the people who condone the male guardianship system and try to control the actions of human beings... and to those saying she doesn't represent them... you're nauseating."
"There's an incredible amount of aggression against Saudi women in this hashtag"
"Particularly coming from those saying that a woman's voice should always be covered up and that it's haram for her to even recite prayers let alone sing in front of men."
Al Shehri spoke out amid the intense backlash...
Speaking to Al Arabiya's TV program Tafa3olkom, Al Shehri responded to those criticizing her online. When asked if she was bothered by the backlash, she said:
"I saw some of the comments and was upset over them. My response to those saying that this field isn't for females is that Saudi women will become part of all professions in the kingdom."
Now considered one of the first-ever Saudi women to sing a "sheyla," Al Shehri said her family encouraged her to enter the field and are supportive of her work.
Already considered a public figure on Saudi Snapchat, the young woman hopes to continue singing but is uncertain whether she'll be releasing more music soon.