A packed schedule of live entertainment and top international DJs from across the globe will have music lovers in the UAE gripped this weekend at the inaugural My Music X festival.
But while the three-day event features a diverse range of acts - international heavyweight DJs such as Chicago legend Kevin Saunderson shares the same bill as pop act Akon and ‘Harlem Shake’ sensation Baauer - it’s not the action on the stage that helps this festival stand out.
It will be first music fiesta in the region that also acts as a conference and learning platform.
Fans and aspiring musicians alike can not only enjoy performances from their heroes, they can also get some practical career advice and insight from them in a series of open forums and events at a special My Music X Academy.
Asaad Shadhir, a founding partner of My Music X, explains: “It’s not only about getting these guys out here to perform, it’s also giving people the possibility to learn from them. We started off with a shortlist of about 250 acts, but we looked for trendsetters and acts who set the stage for future artists to come on board.
“Akon is a shrewd businessman as well as artist, and Baauer has managed to capitalise on technology to push his music forward.
“Normally, with a question and answer session, it takes place before a concert and is only open to the press.
“But we decided to leave it open to the general public. If you are a fan, and want to hear, and learn, from a star then why should you be restricted?
“One thing that is important to add is that it is first come first served. That’s important to know if you want to ask Akon a question, for example, or find out how he reached that level. Hopefully these stars can give aspiring musicians some hints and tips, some creative input, motivation and inspiration.
“We have Teddy Riley too, he’s a revolutionary producer. He worked with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and he’s going to be hosting a workshop and presenting a Q&A session.”
There can’t be many music festivals where fans can get to test out their own skills on professional DJ and recording equipment. But the My Music X Academy offers that platform.
Local acts inspired by some of the talent on show also have the perfect chance to take their first steps into the world of showbiz - thanks to a unique event which puts a ‘speed dating’ concept into practice.
If you’re quick enough, and determined, you could get some vital face time and swap business cards with a whole range of key players in the music scene.
Event co-founder Asaad adds: “Put simply, they can network. It’s like speed dating, but you are coming face to face with labels, producers and songwriters.
You sit at the table and have time until the bell goes. If you have, say, 40 minutes then you can make a lot of contacts. It’s these kind of elements that are important, but also very different. It’s a festival but at the same time it says to local hopefuls: ‘You can be in the spotlight’.”
Meet the stars:
- Akon plays My Music X Live at Atlantis on Thursday night, and is available for a Q&A at 4pm, at the My Music X Village
- You can catch Baauer on Thursday and he will Harlem Shake with one lucky group! Check themymusicx facebook page for details
My Music X takes place from March 27-30 at a number of different venues across town. Checkmymusicx.com for a full schedule and ticket info
By Chris Fraser