In Dubai I see all my visions coming to life: Moroccan-Dutch singer Hind Laroussi
Artist believes move to UAE will realise her dreams in love, lifestyle and music
After appearing on the Dutch version of Pop Idol, Idols, in her native Holland in 2003, life was never the same for Hind Laroussi. The performer, whose music often draws on the artist’s Arabic heritage resulting from having a Moroccan dad, went all the way to the final round, finishing third, and in the nascent days of reality TV singing competitions this was sufficient to build a long-standing showbiz career. Jobs around the Netherlands and even helping Serbia with a Eurovision entry followed before 2016 saw the artist move to LA. There she worked on hit single Lost, produced by Grammy award-winning producer Philip Lawrence. Laroussi now finds herself a Dubai resident working to launch her new album, Metamorphosis. How did she get here? We caught up to find out.
So, what brought you to Dubai?
This is a funny story. Five years ago I left my family, friends and my career behind in the Netherlands to chase my dream in the United States. I got a call from the right hand man of Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, and he became my mentor for a few years. It was a fantastic experience! He created a team around me to help me grow as an artist. I started dancing five days a week. My vocal coach Raab Stevenson (who is known for working with Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews, and many more) challenged me vocally to grow my range and get better. I started writing an EP called Metamorphosis. Then Corona hit the world and it was very difficult to keep on moving in LA. I decided to stop for a minute.
In January I ended up in Dubai after first visiting the Netherlands for a television show. When I arrived I saw all my visions coming to life. I realised how much I missed being surrounded by Arabic culture, I guess I tucked it away when I was in LA. I ran into a few beautiful people here and instantly it was a bond.
What was daily life like under multi-Grammy winner Philip Lawrence?
He introduced me to some of the best people in the music industry in Los Angeles. But to be honest he was the one that taught me the most. The detailed writing and perfecting the song was something I hadn’t seen before. I needed to sit with the song, sometimes for months. After that we would gather and work on the song again. He embraced my heritage and therefore it was easy to work with each other. Everything is all to do with energy and the people you work with.
Tell us about Metamorphosis. What’s its message? When can we hear it?
The single Cat and Mouse is the chase between men and women. She is driving him nuts and playing with his mind seductively and at the same time she wants to be where he is. I am planning to release it after Ramadan. We will record the video this month.
How do you think living in the UAE or being from here can help people in their musical careers? Do you have any advice for up-and-coming singers?
I believe the UAE is a beautiful place in general to get inspired and meet similar minded people. Because of my background it makes it more natural to be here. But I know so many artists from all over the world with different backgrounds come to perform and share their talent. Once we can get on the stage again after Covid, I believe this will be the number one place to be for entertainment! My only advice is to stay true to yourself, keep working hard and surround yourself with good people.
Where do you see yourself in another five years? What’s the dream?
I have many dreams. I would like to travel the world with my music, most of all now in the Middle East. I would like to build out my brand Laroussi with clothes and merchandising. I want to set up my own foundation. Over the last years I’ve done a lot of charity work. I was the ambassador of a refugee organisation. I used to debate ministers and speak for the rights of those people whose voices weren’t heard.
One day I hope to have a family myself. I’ve been alone for the last five years because of my journey. I am hoping to find love one day and live life together.
I would also love to collaborate with inspiring artists all over the world. For now I am looking for a collaboration with an Arabic artist. I’ve always wanted to record a duet with an Arabic focus and mix our worlds!
What are your hopes for this year?
To stay healthy first of all! Embrace life and find myself a real home here. I hope along this way I will meet inspiring people that can lead to beautiful collaborations.