The "next Michael Jackson" could come from the Middle East, will.i.am says

Published September 29th, 2013 - 04:00 GMT
Will.i.am (left), with Quincy Jones (centre) and Timbaland yesterday at a press conference Dubai. (Image: Youtube screenshot)
Will.i.am (left), with Quincy Jones (centre) and Timbaland yesterday at a press conference Dubai. (Image: Youtube screenshot)

Music superstar will.i.am believes “the next Michael Jackson” could come from the Middle East. 

Singers such as Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram and Mohammed Assaf may be household names in the Arab world - but no one from this region has yet managed to crack it on a global scale.

African-American music star will.i.am, who is performing in Dubai tonight, is well aware how hard it is.

“There are wonderful artists that come from all over the world, but very few artists that become global acts - JLo, Puerto Rico; Shakira, Colombia,” he said.

Yet as a self-confessed fan of Middle Eastern rhythms, he believes it can be done.

“We haven’t really seen an Arabic or Asian superstar yet, so the world is waiting for someone from the Middle East to be the big global superstar,” he said.

“A lot of us think the next Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie or Diana Ross or Donna Summer could come from this region.”

However, the Black Eyed Peas star warned: “It’ll take someone with a global eye to translate that.

“We’ve done that with our group, focused on America - but tried to be relevant in every country.”

He even offered to help the ‘next Michael Jackson’: “I’d like to walk hand in hand with someone from this region and try to crack them globally.

“That sounds fun.”

The star was speaking at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel yesterday alongside Quincy Jones and Timbaland for Dubai Music Week, which runs until September 29.

‘Come and Get It’ star Selena Gomez sings tomorrow.


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