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Going global

Three powerhouses of American music are here and ready to bring regional talent onto the world stage. Here’s what Will.i.am, Quincy Jones and Timbaland had to say at Dubai Music Week

By Adam Zacharias (adam@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Fri 27 Sep 2013, 4:57 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 7:55 AM

“WE HAVEN’T REALLY seen a global superstar from Arabia or Asia yet, so the world is waiting,” said Will.i.am on Wednesday afternoon as he greeted local media alongside legendary producers Quincy Jones and Timbaland.

The American trio are in town as part of the first ever Dubai Music Week, a six-day initiative at the Dubai World Trade Centre that ends tomorrow.

Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am added that while there are many wonderful artists from across the world, very few break out internationally in the manner of Jennifer Lopez or Shakira.

“It would take someone with a global eye to translate that. I’d like to walk hand in hand with someone from this region and try to crack them globally, that sounds like fun,” said the star, who also has a successful solo pop career and coaches on TV talent show The Voice UK.

Though bleary-eyed from a long flight, Timbaland insisted he was happy to be in Dubai and looked forward to performing with Will.i.am later that evening. The producer, famed for shaping the sounds of Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott, fielded questions at the press conference in the Zabeel Saray hotel, Palm Jumeirah.

“I’ve always been a man of culture, and I’ve tried to bring a lot of Arabic sounds to America with songs like Get Your Freak On,” said the 41-year-old, who is currently prepping his next studio album Shock Value III with guest spots from Demi Lovato, Chris Brown and Pitbull.

He also declared that if he gets the chance to work alongside the best musical talents from the region, “I think we can do something phenomenal. I can probably pull something out of him and he can pull something out of me”.

As for Quincy Jones, the producer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller has launched a contest to unearth regional talent at Dubai Music Week.

Will.i.am, Quincy Jones and Timbaland at Dubai Music WeekFive finalists – Hamdan Al Abri, Xriss Jor, Jaywud, DD Foxx and Nile – are competing to release an international song and music video through the 80-year-old’s company Global Gumbo Group.

“I look forward to all the great things we can do launching artists from the Emirates worldwide,” said Jones, who holds a record 27 Grammys.

“We’ve got a lot on our agenda, and people are going to see some unbelievable artists here.”

See www.dubaimusicweek.com for more on the initiative.

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