155 million views, viral videos: Kalin Brothers on 'moving' to Dubai, social media stardom

The Internet's favourite dancing duo reveals what makes their content get millions of views online and how Dubai can help them achieve their dream of 'conquering the world'

by

Somya Mehta

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Kalin Brothers, Berdan (left) and Kadir. KT Photos: Neeraj Murali
Kalin Brothers, Berdan (left) and Kadir. KT Photos: Neeraj Murali

Published: Tue 21 May 2024, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 May 2024, 8:59 AM

In the tumultuous world of social media, where trends flicker like wildfire and fame is just a dance step away, the Kalin Brothers, Berdan and Kadir, have found their way into millions of hearts all around the globe. Their viral videos showcase not just their talent, but their ability to connect with viewers across age-groups and nationalities, spreading happiness and positivity. With their highest-performing video reaching an astounding 155 million views on Instagram, featuring the viral ‘Ashley, look at me’ trend, the Kalin Brothers are best-known for their short, snappy dance moves, making waves in the digital world.

How it started...

As we sit down with them on their recent trip to Dubai, we’re transported back to the roots of their story, to where it all began — their childhood in Belgium. Steeped in a rich blend of Turkish heritage and Belgian upbringing, the brothers grew up in a household where extra-curricular activities were always encouraged by their parents. “We were those kids who used to dance everywhere,” Berdan, 25, reminisces with a grin.


“At school competitions, in shows, at home — you name it. Our parents, each with their own dreams for us, supported our passions. Mum envisioned us as dancers, while dad saw us as fighters. So, they combined the two, and that's how it all started,” adds younger brother Kadir, 20. “They wanted us to keep trying different things and always said, ‘Our sons are going to conquer the world.’” A phrase that has been stuck in their minds ever since.

Their upbringing was a fusion of cultures, with Turkish roots grounding them firmly in their identity. “Growing up, we felt more Turkish than Belgian, Berdan adds, reflecting on their cultural heritage.


“Our mum was born in Belgium like us, and our dad came from Turkey. We have another brother; he's 22.” This may come as a surprise to many, the dancing duo also have a third brother, who’s the middle child. But when it comes to creating content, it’s Berdan and Kadir, who’re more inclined to showing off their dance moves on the Internet. “He's also working on his dreams. He wants to become a famous rapper, he has his own tastes and passion.”

How it’s going...

Several viral dance reels later, when they look back at their journey, the brothers admit that it wasn't just about dancing. It was about carving their own path, defying what was expected of them, and chasing their dreams relentlessly. “We didn't want to work for a boss; we wanted to be our own bosses," they add, explaining their decision to veer off the traditional academic route and pursue their passions.

“Studying and higher education is important but we always knew that it wasn’t the path for us. We wanted to follow our dreams because we believed in ourselves. We always knew we could take over the world and become what we want to be in life,” says Berdan. “In fact, growing up, I’d always tell my teachers that ‘One day, I’m going to be famous,’” adds Kadir.

However, finding happiness and fulfilment in what they do is an ongoing journey, the brothers admit. With social media as their stage, they’ve managed to create a spectacle out of their boundless energy, captivating audiences worldwide with their spontaneous dance reels.

Keeping it spontaneous

In a day and age when everyone is striving to make it big in the world of social media, with dreams of becoming famous content creators and going viral, what is it that has worked for the brothers? After a few quiet moments of reflection, they respond, “I think it's because we are ourselves and our videos are spontaneous. We don't think too much about what we're going to do, we just go with the flow. That’s what makes it relatable.”

“We spread positive vibes, and you can feel it from our videos,” says Kadir. “There are so many people going through difficult moments or stressful lives. When I receive DMs, I see messages like, ‘When I see you both dancing, it makes me smile’ and ‘I was in depression, but when I see you both, I become happy’. So, this is also a part of our journey. This is what we want to do. We want to spread joy.”

Life post-fame

Their success on social media, the most recent one being the viral dance on the Romanian song ‘Yali Yali’, has catapulted them into a whirlwind of fame, transforming their lives in ways they never imagined. “The first time people came to us for pictures, it was awkward,” Kadir recalls, reflecting on their newfound celebrity status. Yet, with time, they’ve embraced it, and have become mindful of the responsibilities that came with it.

“Life has changed completely. We have to be cautious about everything because in the age of social media, people are recording and watching even the smallest things. People will only see the small video clip and pass judgements based on that, so we have to be careful. But this is part of the game,” says Berdan.

Power of self-belief

In the world of social media, people usually tend to focus on all that's going well. But behind the scenes, there are challenges aplenty. "People only see the 15-second videos, not the hard work and sweat that goes behind them,” the brothers mention. “When you’re starting out and you don't have the results to show for your hard work, you still need to keep at it. We believed in ourselves even when people around us didn’t,” says Berdan.

“Some people can't see our vision, but we see it. We know it's going to happen. So, we need to mute the noise from outside and listen to our inner voice,” adds Kadir. “We need to stop listening to people who aren’t in the place where we want to be.”

Yet, amidst the unpredictability of the numbers game on social media, their authenticity shines through, resonating with millions worldwide. “Always do what you like to do and follow your dreams. Work hard and never give up. The key is to stay consistent, not only on social media but also in life.”

The Dubai dream

With their viral Burj Khalifa video on 60 million views and counting, Dubai, with its sunny skies and infectious energy, has now become their playground for creativity and exploration. “The people here, the kindness, the food, the weather, it’s all amazing. Dubai is the perfect place for what we do,” the brothers add, speaking of their love for the city. “Right now, we’re here to create a lot of viral content, meet other content creators and have fun in the city. But going forward, we’d love to move to Dubai.”

And as their horizons expand, so do their ambitions — from dance shows to DJ gigs to venturing into the world of acting. “We want to create huge shows and go on tours,” says the elder brother. “When we do the dance shows, they're only five to six minutes, which is very short. So, we want to add DJ-ing, emceeing and lots more, to give the audience an unforgettable time.”

As we bid farewell to the Kalin Brothers, we remain awestruck by the power of dreams — the dreams that ignited their journey and continue to propel them forward. Their message to aspiring creators is simple: "Just do what you love to do”. "We know it sounds very straightforward but that’s all it takes. Manifest your dreams, stay positive, and never give up.”

somya@khaleejtimes.com

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