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I'm a bit of a rebel: DD Foxx

Im a bit of a rebel: DD Foxx

UAE-based singer-songwriter talks love, life and her new single hitting the us billboard dance chart


Janice Rodrigues

Published: Fri 27 Sep 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 30 Sep 2019, 9:24 AM

"I don't like following trends. I prefer to make my own," DD Foxx says, good-naturedly as I compliment her earrings which are - fittingly - music symbols. "Every time there's a new trend, everyone's wearing the same look. I don't like that. I check what's trending but I always want to have my own style."

One look at DD Foxx, and you'll know she means what she says. Her style is a mix of bright colours, clashing prints and quirky accessories. It's a bit of a tomboy look that, you can be assured, is unique. "I'm a bit of a rebel, I guess," she laughs, but she means it in more ways than one. "I'm that person who wants to do what's on their mind. Even if someone tells me that it doesn't make any sense, if I want to do it, I'll fight for it."

And it's this attitude that has her going places. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, to a dad in the engineering sector and a mum in the educational field, DD Foxx (real name Layal Halabi) admits that her exposure to music came late. Her parents would bring her tape recordings and it was through these jingles and commercials that she got her first taste for music. It was when she moved to the UAE at the age of 13 that things started to change. "I always loved music I used to write poetry when I lived in Saudi," the 32-year-old says. "But I remember when I moved to Dubai, I had music as a class in school and my music teacher asked me to join the choir - that's when I really started paying attention to (my talent)."

DD went on to study hospitality in a university in Lebanon before returning to the UAE. She landed a job here in the same field. but after a while, decided to embrace that rebel within, and take the plunge into the world of singing and songwriting. It wasn't easy, but she got an audition with Flicker Show production house, and then there was no turning back then. "That's where I met my producer Kevin Basset. The studio just took me in and we became a family."

To date, DD has a number of big- ticket notches in her belt. Her debut album Had To Be Me released in 2012 to much accolades and was ranked #3 in the Urban & Pop genre of 'Top 20 Best Selling Albums' by UAE artists (Virgin Megastores). In 2013, she was chosen as one of four Dubai artists to showcase for Quincy Jones, Will.i.am and Timbaland as part of Dubai Music Week. And, recently, she added another feather to her cap as her single Need Your Love Tonight (DJ Kue Mix) landed a spot on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart - a first for a female Middle Eastern artist based out of the UAE. A sweet-sounding success story!

DD credits quite a bit of that success to her Middle Eastern background. "This big cocktail made me who I am today. It made me that eager person who wants to discover more, learn more."
It's the reason why her songs - which delve in between Pop, Dance, R&B, Rap and Funk - also have a Middle Eastern twist to them. "I look for phrases, or sometimes even musical instruments that can give my music that Middle Eastern vibe. And the truth is that it's very well-received in the international market - the feedback we get is that they're looking for more of that Middle Eastern feel as it's different and fresh."

That's not to say that her journey has been without challenges. One of the biggest issues with being a singer-songwriter in the region is that the music industry is still in its infancy, says DD. "There's a lot of focus on bringing international talent over here," says DD, "but there's also a lot of homegrown talent and not many outlets to showcase that. We need more support, more outlets, more opportunities."

As the region develops its music scene, DD has already perfected her stage presence which she describes in one word - crazy. "When people who know me see me perform, they say that I'm a completely different person," she laughs, and we can see why that thought may cross minds. On stage and screen, she is bold and confident, and in person, quiet, humble. "I guess that's because I'm in in my element, my own little world when I'm on stage. But when I'm off stage, I listen and observe people." Like many of the greats, it looks like DD has her own musical alter ego.
So, what can we expect from this musical marvel in the future? A new single Touch of Love is to be released later this year. "It's all about love," laughs the singer, who admits to being quite the romantic. "That being said, my greatest dream is to be performing on stage and hearing the audience sing along to my lyrics!"
Sounds like music to our ears.

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