Turning Fear to Power: Exiled Iranian Singer Gola - Sarah Chen
Impact Investing, Impact Washing, Investment, Philanthropy
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I first heard Gola’s beautiful voice, and her soul being truly demonstrated through her song when she sang at the Vital Voices Gala in Washington DC to bring light to the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran. 


The feminist you know is deep within me, was completely moved, and I was further moved when I learned more about her story:


Born in Isfahan, Iran, Gola knew early on that her voice was her gift, and music came naturally to her. While she performed music for her family and loved how she could lift others around her, very quickly she learned the harsh reality that in Iran, it was **the law** that female solo singers are not allowed to release songs or perform publicly in the country.


After a series of attempts for her voice to be heard led her to being told that ‘We do not need Celine Dion in this country, GET OUT of my office’; Gola decided enough was enough, and that she needed to live in her truth. This of course, came at a hefty cost: being exiled from the only place she knew to be home, and risk being arrested, or at worst, being killed.


What does it take to make that choice? To believe so deeply in something beyond yourself that you’re willing to make that choice?

I needed to know.


In this episode, Gola shares her story on how her first hand experiences of life under the oppressive Iranian Regime shaped her as a fearless, international women’s rights advocate. Fighting everyday to have her voice heard, Gola shows us what pushing boundaries and true bravery means; and how at the edge of your deepest fear could lay your greatest potential.




– What it really takes to make bold choices
– What it takes to find your own voice despite societal pressures and expectations
– How rejection could only be redirection; and how rage and fear could be turned to power

– Feeling like a failure, and how to still move forward despite it
– The hope and potential of the future generations of Iran 




Golazin, known internationally as Gola, is an exiled Iranian singer and women’s rights activist. Her first hand experiences of life under the oppressive Iranian Regime have effectively shaped her as a fearless, international women’s rights advocate while living in exile from her home country; female solo singers are not allowed to record and release songs or perform publicly in Iran. Known by Iranian citizens as the Lioness of Iran, she irrefutably lives up to her reputation as she delivers a divine manifestation of bravery, advocacy, and justice with her historic album ‘CHANGE.’ Gola pushes to usher in an era of peace, gender equality, and reparations for those that have suffered at the hands of the Iranian Regime. Gola and her work have caught the attention of major media outlets such as The Times and The Sunday Times UK, i-D Magazine, C-Heads, and Hunger Magazine, while she continues releasing projects that amplify her mission to spread empowerment, peace, and love. She is among the first Iranian women to professionally sing in Farsi and English, as well as one of the most influential Iranian women to have been born and raised in Iran, and have a pop English track in the UK Club chart. Beyond this, Gola’s record label, ZAN Recordings, is dedicated to serving as a vessel of empowerment for other young female creatives. Zan Recordings is currently in search of the perfect collaborator to partner with and sponsor the label’s growth and impact. Through Gola’s personal artist project and her work with Zan Recordings, the songstress is determined to create an accessible safe space encouraging more women and girls to feel empowered to express themselves through music.

Find Gola on: @gola_official

https://zanrecordings.com/ : To support her label, please reach out to Gola/Sarah.

“And he said, 

You don’t understand, female singers cannot sing in Iran.

I said, 

What if I don’t sing in Farsi?
What if I sing in English?
I was hoping for a route.

He said, 

We don’t need Celine Dion in this country. Get out of my office.



He was very rude. 


And I said,
I will get out of your office, but remember, you will hear my voice one day.


And he said, GET OUT.


I said, 

I’m GOLAZIN. Remember my name.”


― Gola

gola's music:

Gola as a child in a headscarf

“How does someone come to that decision? That enough is enough. I want to live my truth?”


“It is the rumination that kills you. Shall I not, shall I, shall I not? And then you’re like, yeah. If I go back, I’ll be miserable. What difference has it made for me and many others.


There will be a day I will not be able to be by the deathbed of my own mother; and I don’t know if I will be able to forgive myself.”