A First for UAE artists, DJ Bliss Launches World Tour

Published May 8th, 2017 - 09:00 GMT
Emirati artist DJ Bliss playing a show in Dubai. (Vklybe.com)
Emirati artist DJ Bliss playing a show in Dubai. (Vklybe.com)

He is the first Emirati artist to sign with a major international music label and tour worldwide. DJ Bliss has done everything that needs to be done in the entertainment industry - from theme park DJing in the late '90s, to hosting his own radio show, to opening for the late Prince, being part of Wiz Khalifa's concert, hosting TV shows and producing to founding a talent agency. An ace at mixing hip-hop, R&B, electro, pop and dubstep, among other genres, Bliss (his real name is Marwan Parham Al Awadhi) continues to expand music and entertainment boundaries. Here's what he told City Times.

What made you take up DJing?
I've always been passionate about music and DJing meant I could be at all the cool parties. I started DJing in high school in 2001. Little did I know, when I was still figuring out who I wanted to be, that my passion would bring me here. 

Tell us about the best moments in your career? 
When I bagged my first gig as a DJ. It was the first time, I realised how hard work pays off - it is an unforgettable feeling.  As my career developed and I got my first gig on Radio and TV - the amplification of this feeling is one of the sweetest memories of my career. As an artist, these became my stepping stones to discover my sound. It helped me embark on a career I'm blessed to have. Being part of Wiz Khalifa's concert last year has definitely been one of the major highlights of my career. I will cherish it! 

What challenges do you face as a DJ?
The main challenge is building an authentic fanbase and finding the right people to work with. As an Emirati who grew up in Dubai, it was taboo for me (to get into something like this). It is very important to pay attention to who you spend your time with, surround yourself with strong relationships that you can count on and make things happen together. Waiting for a shaky source is a waste of time, especially in the music industry. 

What's the difference between DJing and producing your own music?
A DJ is someone who plays and mixes music that other artists create. Whether it's putting your own spin on it, mixing and cutting or just dropping a classic old school tune that brings back a sweet spot memory for the crowd - being a DJ is about creating a vibe. Adding your own element to existing music is creating something new, in the same way that artists sample others' music in their own tracks. Building on pre-existing inspiration and paying due respect to those who inspire you is all part of the creative process. A DJ is also capable of producing their own tunes from scratch. Making your own music involves different components that are blended together to make a single final product that audiences will mostly react to. 

Why are DJs as relevant as mainstream musicians today?
DJs play an important role in music production. Artists are beginning to realise how essential DJing is to music because they're the ones who publicise work of artists' at events and they are also capable of defining the success of a song. Being a DJ has always been a critical part of music, especially in the hip-hop world.

How big is dance music in the UAE?
The region has always loved hip-hop - but recently, it's been trending everywhere. With more platforms entering the market like Spotify where people can choose for themselves what they like to listen to. Dubai's new generation has a more refined palette when it comes to musical diversity. With a definite rise in the number of hip-hop music fans, nightlife is being dominated by it and it's great to see how the culture is developing here. Many artists that perform in the UAE are from the hip-hop music scene like Drake, Jason Derulo and Nicki Minaj. Mixing the regions culture, using Arab beats with hip-hop seems to be the trend.

Which is your fave music spot in town?
Boa (on a Friday night) is great - the vibe is always on point. 

One song you would love to mix?
The new Ed Shereen track (picutred right) Shape of You and  also remixing my new track Crazy.

One artist you would love to work with as producer?
Has to be Justin Bieber.

What are your essential DJing tools?
A DJ mixer, two CDJ's, speakers and a mic. 

What's on your playlist right now?
The new Kendrick album and of course, Drake's More Life.

If you had to leave Dubai, what you would miss most?
Dubai is home. I was raised here, I built my career and brand name here. I'd miss everything about it, but even if I leave - I will always find my way back.

The art of DJing
How do you prepare for a show?
I make sure that my research is tight, I have to have the latest songs, exclusive remixes and old school mixes to spice things up. I always, always check to see if my resources are ready for the gig - like a working and charged laptop, cables, etc. I also pay close attention to my attire for the gig. Comfortable shoes are important because I'm always on my feet. 

How do you usually start a show (in terms of your music)?
Again, this depends on the crowd which is why it's necessary to understand your surroundings to know what will work best. It is also subjective and depends on the venue, the time of day, country, etc. Starting a show is your way of enticing the crowd, giving them a little taste of what's to come but making sure they're interested enough to stick around for the entire show.

How do you gauge the mood of the crowd and change tempo?
This is basically done by being present and aware of your surroundings. You can observe the energy from the way the crowd is dancing, singing along or generally having a good time. Based on that, you know what you need to play next to either keep the momentum going or pick up tempo. Staying connected and being able to relate to your audience is just as important for a DJ as it is for other stage performers.

Can you list the top five DJs in the world today and what they are famous for?
There are so many DJs out there, all successful in their own ways. Just a few off the top of my head: DJ Khaled -- producing dope beats and working with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. DJ Snake Calvin Harris Major Lazer Martin Garrix

List five top DJs in the UAE?
Mr. Shef Codes, Keza, LucasDirty, DJ Kaboo, Flipp'side and DJ Foxxy.

Bliss  new single is called Crazy 
DJ Bliss is back with a hot new single Crazy featuring International female rapper, Melymel. This infectious single flavours of reggae-ton, EDM and R&B. Backed with a new music video; this single is only the start of things to follow for DJ Bliss in 2017. Stay tuned as Bliss has planned a string of releases, collabs and surprises with local and International artists.

By Michael Gomes

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