Emirati DJ Bliss is shining on new track

Emirati DJ Bliss is shining on new track

With over a million YouTube views of his new single Shining, Emirati producer Marwan Parham Al Awadhi -- aka DJ Bliss -- prepares to launch his music career globally.

By Mohamad Kadry

Published: Tue 7 Jul 2015, 8:08 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:46 PM

Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, better known by his stage name DJ Bliss, is one of the most familiar faces on the UAE music scene. Now he has his sights set on making it big internationally.

From TV presenter and radio host to nightclub DJ and producer, he’s managed to keep incredibly busy over the last decade in the build-up to his recent signing with Universal Music, where he’s launching his new music.

We caught up with the rising star to talk about his future plans for Dubai’s growing entertainment industry and beyond.

Your new single, Shining, has racked up more than a million views on YouTube since it was released in May.
I’m super proud and excited about it. It’s my first official single through Universal Music, who we teamed up with on the project. It’s not that I wasn’t hoping to hit the one million mark, but it definitely came a lot sooner than I expected.

How did the record come together?
I’ve been working on my music for a while now with Emirati producer Prince Q, so we’ve been exploring a lot of different ideas. The music for this song was actually chosen by Chrysler for a commercial I did with them last year. Once that happened, we agreed that they would shoot a video for the song. Initially I was on the track alone, but then we tried out some collaborations with other singers and rappers who were coming through the studio. The final product features MIMS and Daffy which turned out to be the perfect combination.

What did it feel to sign your first record deal?
It was a really special day and I remember it very clearly. It wasn’t cold outside but I decided to wear a leather jacket to the Universal Music offices for the signing, since I knew we would be taking a lot of pictures. It probably wasn’t the best idea since I was sweating the whole time! But it was a beautiful and surreal moment.

You’ll be touring the United States this summer as well.
I’ll be DJing at a bunch of clubs across the US, visiting cities including Las Vegas, Detroit, Atlantic City, Jersey, New York and L.A. I’ll also be promoting the single there, as well.

What kind of music will you be working on next?
A few of the singles I’m working on actually have some Arabic sounds to them. With Shining, it was more of an international song, but there are a few tracks I plan on putting out which will basically wave the flag for the Arab world. I also have another album in the works that features a collaboration of local artists. It’s titled QB7, named after the studio we record in. We’re getting together all these artists from across the Middle East, including Hamdan Al Abri, Dia from Juliana Down, Clarita De Quiroz and Ramzi. We’re putting them all on one album and releasing it. It’s sort of like what David Guetta did with his compilation dance album. We put this project together because if each of these artists wanted to release their own solo albums, it would be difficult. But if we all work together and pushed one product, it’s going to sell better. The album is finished so we’re expecting to release it some time in the next few months.

What has it been like embarking on this music project?
I did it once before and I really put myself out there blindfolded, not knowing what the industry was like. We don’t have a lot of artists making it here and the complaint is that there’s no platform for them. So the only way there’s going to be a platform for future generations is if someone creates it - someone with a story to tell that people look up to. I want to show off what I can do but also pave the way for future generations. There is an industry here but it just needs a kick start.

As someone who has grown up in Dubai, what do you think of the state of its music industry?
I really do think that a lot of the artists here don’t help each other out and work together enough. There’s not really room for rivalries right now. Competition is good, I’m a big fan of it, but with rivalry, there’s nothing to fight over. There are fantastic artists with talent, and if we help each other, we can get to where we need to be a lot faster. But every one needs to make better music and push the boundaries further.

As one of the most recognisable faces in the local entertainment industry, were you always so outgoing in your youth?
I wasn’t the cool kid in school, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t part of the nerds either, because my grades weren’t good enough to hang with them. So I was kind of like the in between guy and I was super shy as well. I’d like to think that I’m this completely different person today, that I’ve evolved. I’m still highly driven, though. As an individual you mature, grow and choose what will have an impact on your life in a positive way. I think that’s the best way to describe my story. Every thing that has happened to me in life, I take as a lesson. I wouldn’t change a single part of my past because every little piece of it made me who I am today.

Has your family always been supportive of your musical ambitions?
My parents are really cool. I’ve shown them that I can do it responsibly and make a living out of it. All my brothers used to be business and finance professionals, and I was the black sheep of the family. But now two of them are hosting the television series Peeta Planet, while another one went to study at the New York Film Academy. My sister, who was in marketing, has gone on to pursue her passion as a chef. I feel like the white sheep now (laughs).

Where do you hope to be one year from now?
I hope that I can be sitting in a room with a super producer like Pharrell Williams, Timbaland or Swizz Beatz. I really want to try and get to a level where I can put Dubai on the map for talent, not just world records.


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