Bilal spent much of his youth in Oran, Algeria where he studied at the conservatory of music. He was raised by his grandfather.
Initially, Cheb Bilal performed at weddings and festivals around Oran. In 1980, he created the group El Ahouar. In 1989 he went to Marseilles, France, which he described as a turning point in his career.
- Cheb Bilal Biography, http://www.jeux36.com/bilal/cheb-bilal-biographie.htm