Kris Balerite – SoleDXB (@dozign)
I’m just a creative. I help brands develop. Today I’m supporting Hass with his talks about on how DXB music industry is getting bigger. We do our part at SoleDXB by introducing a pool of artists, via our platform, where they open up for international talent. This year I see local acts creating albums, breaking charts, and getting massive downloads on iTunes. All the while collaborating with international artists.
Hassane Dennaoui (@big_hass)
I’m a Human being. Radio host. Blogger. Anghami. Project managing function. Mainly to activate d3 (footfall).
Function is done by musicians for musicians. It’s important for the artists to know that if no one is supporting you, then you gotta make your own path. I hope we inspire other artists to take matters into their own hands and also collaborate.
On another note, we have five female musicians headline functions. Females don’t get that much love and so I’m a big supporter of the functions we have.
Martin Avari (@avarimartin) – Head of Music at Virgin Radio
I’m here to check out the local music scene because as a music manager for a massive radio station, we need to be in touch with the locals. We try to approach as many talented artists as we can. We play all the international hits, but we love meeting local artists doing great things that we can support.
Adam Grundey – Journalist
I’m here doing a story for Red Bull about Shebani, about her single coming out next week. Red Bull are about the only people that still write about music. I guess the publishers just couldn’t afford to keep doing it. I think better marketing behind these articles might make things better. Artists need to be more aware of how much expense is involved in the media. When things do get written about them they should push it more! It’s a big deal to get written about in magazines or newspapers, however, its a lot easier the UAE because there’s a lot less talent than than, say, Europe or the UK or the US so the opportunities you get here are immense. If you get published in a national newspaper or magazine or radio it’s a big deal.
I’m a corporate drop out who grew up in Dubai and studied in the UK. I felt a certain degree of emptiness in the corporate world, but I always did it as a means to an end. I always felt I would do something in the food industry. I’m a fan of casual places, reasonably priced but high quality. No dress code or formalities between waiters and guests, a place where people feel at home.
We did a few poetry nights at One Life, I was surprised how packed it got even though it was the first event for Dubai Poetics. I realized there was an appetite for cultural events in the city, people were talking more about the events than the food.
We actually weren’t up for hosting Function right now, because we wanted the upstairs area to be finished, but the HRMNY guys are awesome and we lent them the restaurant. When you’re not in a high traffic area, these events work to get some foot traffic in the area.
I’m a person that vibes off inspiration and visual art. I wanna close the gap in the music and the film community. I believe a lot of artists need worldwide recognition and this is why Phenomena Films was born. I’m filming at Function. I’ve got my team doing photo and video and I’m super happy to be working with the HRMNY brothers. We have quite similar goals.
Hussain Moloobhoy – Co-Founder SoleDXB
I’m a creative through and through. I have opinions and subject matters that I’m adverse to and use my creativity to channel those opinions. Today I’m being part of the community and supporting HRMNY. Sharing a bit of Sole’s story and hoping we can engage and inspire.
Mike Fairburn – General manager Sony Music Entertainment Middle East.
I’m here today because I think it’s important for me, and my company, to support the music scene in the Middle East. At the panel discussions we talked about artist development and made points about hard work, incredible talent, understanding strengths and weaknesses and communicating your musicianship and personality in meetings with event companies. Crafting yourself.
The general opinions from people who are well connected say that we’re in a country of entitlement. Everything gets taken care of. Why do you expect that anyone would invest time and money into you? Once you expect nothing then you have a better chance. Everyone wants a story. An artist is a storyteller. You have to have local success first. If you’ve got that and great records then you’re good to go. The region is developing with platforms and brands. I don’t think there are missing links anymore.
I’m an artist and performer from the US, recently relocated to Dubai. I want to contribute to the art movement that’s cultivating here. I’ve spent the last few years figuring out my sound and now I’ve finally found it in traditional Rnb.
I was introduced to HRMNY when I moved here. They’re the front of the music here. They reached out to me to perform tonight. I learned a lot from the discussions today, the key point is that it’s not about being in one place anymore. The new New York is the Internet. You can make anything go as far as you want to so long as you have WiFi.
I’m a storyteller, singer, and songwriter. I love to create. I’m supporting the scene here today, I want to be a part of something big in the near future.
I was a part of the songwriting panel today, I discussed the songwriting process, the difference between approaching it with fear and uncertainty, and gaining the confidence to accept yourself as an artist. A lot of who you are affects what you do in life, sometimes your insecurities clash with that. I learned that dealing with insecurities and focusing on self-love helped me out a lot.
This event is not only cool but overdue, there’s so much talent here, it’s young and eager. Most of us are expats here well but it’s still our city. So well done to the HRMNY Brothers for doing this. It’s our responsibility to help our youth in following the right path.
I’m a 22-year-old up and coming Afro-pop artist. I used to live in London and moved here two years ago. My first project came out last summer, my core fan base grew, and I realized what people wanted to hear from me so I’ve been feeding off that energy and putting out music ever since.
I got a deal with Sony for the next project. They heard one of my singles “Spiritual” and called me. My new stuff is African flavor with afro trap, using international sounds mixed with my African culture.
I came to Function today to support the scene in Dubai in order for the culture to elevate and diversify.
I came to Dubai from Austria to do the clothing thing. I think fashion and music and art, in general, are all interconnected and feed into and off each other. Especially with street and hip-hop culture. The biggest example is our latest collaboration with Rockafella Records. We collaborate with local artists and musicians every time we can through our brand.
Mohammad RAYAN Bailouni (@m_bailouni)
I’m a Dubai based producer and songwriter with a Passion for music culture. I was critiquing local music today with the guys from HRMNY, giving local artists some feedback about how they can take their art and songs to the next level.
In general, life is never about being right or wrong, but more about being right or left. I always give artists constructive criticism, because if people just keep telling you you’re amazing, then it doesn’t work. I would rather give advice that someone can use rather than them not understanding why nothing happened with their music 10 years later.
The Dubai music scene has been disconnected for a long time. When there’s a sense of community that has a shared collective to more honesty and transparency people start making songs that MEAN more to the community rather than just competing with each other. Always remember that art is about perspective, not precision.
Rami Zeidan – Anghami (@zeidanjr)
I head partnerships for Anghami, working to build synergies between artists, fans, and brands. We talked about the relationship or formula with brands and bands. Artists are actually brands and they need to treat themselves like that. SoleDXB is focused on the urban scene, Anghami has a wider scope, so whatever we do we need to fuel each other so we don’t end up with one hit wonders. Brands will come when the artist becomes a brand themselves.
Anghami does a few things to help with that. We want to find bigger ways to support people like HRMNY and develop something that feeds into what they’re doing. They work hard in going to the source of the problem which is building a music culture.
I’m a 17-year-old singer-songwriter. I make my own music in my bedroom. Big Hass took interest in me a while ago, he’s been consistently supportive throughout my journey and called me to play tonight. I actually just met the HRMNY guys when I did the promo video and they were super nice. Its cool how this function thing came together.
I’d love to see local talent played on local radio stations here. I’m excited about my next single “Green” to come out, and thankful for Red Bull for putting it out on their platform. I love how the scene is growing here.
Hi, I’m Leone, I’m a 22-year-old singer-songwriter in Dubai. I just started singing professionally in the last two years. My music is has a chilled out folky vibe.
I was at the critique part of the event. I don’t think I’m brave enough to submit music myself, but it was good to get input from accomplished people in Dubai. Big Hass hooked me up with this gig, he’s really pushing to get the local guys recognized, he’s a good example of what support looks like.
I feel like Function was a good change because so many people in the audience are musicians, they’re not here to just observe but to learn. You’re singing to your peers, there’s a good feeling of solidarity.
Music has been a part of my life since I was two years old. I quit my job last year and decided to pursue music, it wasn’t an easy decision because everyone expects you to be a doctor or engineer in my family. Every day I’m more sure that this is the path I wanna pursue.
The first time I was part of the Emerging Talent Competition, I made it to top four, I had never pushed myself that much before. I learned so much from the workshops and experts, and just to be on such a big stage. I got a call four days later to open up for “Take That”. It was a crowd of 5,000 people. That was awesome!
As an artist listening to all the talks at Function, I learned that I need to collaborate with people and explore other genres, styles, and producers. That’s something new for me, I usually stick to what I know and don’t really asks for opinions. I met a lot of artists and producers here so I’ll definitely start collaborating.
Another thing I realized is that when I perform I put my effort into playing my guitar and looping and forget about my voice. Maybe I’ll have someone play with me because my energy comes out when that happens
Who I am is constantly changing. I’m a photographer, videographer, stylist, DJ, and a party host. I’m a part of WVY and I guess a part of HRMNY by association. I’m the harmony SISTA! Today I’m djing at LARTE and showing support at WVY.
I learned all the technicalities of production through function today, including the legal side of things.
It was very important for the guys to use their reach and knowledge to help others who are beginning to get into the industry. I think a lot of people learned something today. It was a very interactive mentorship and they’re very accessible and so is their knowledge. This is just the beginning and it’s gonna take off from here. Our goal is to go global.
Shout out to the HRMNY brothers for putting on this great FUNCTION