Continuing our connection with the musicians that contribute so heavily to Dubai’s growing live scene we have caught up with Universal Music artist Hadi…
Tell us about your musical background?
Hi! I’ve had an interest in music from a very young age. My earliest encounter with the creation process started back around 2001 when I stumbled upon a Playstation video game that functioned like a Digital Audio Workstation, so I used the samples that were built-in to the game and made “songs”. I picked up the guitar in 2003 and haven’t looked back since. I remember daydreaming about it. There was a shift in my life when the guitar back a part of it, I’d lock myself in for hours to practice. I was never really interested in anything prior to that, so it was a strangely cool to have this dedication come out of nowhere. I started singing around 2009, and mustered up the courage to upload videos to YouTube in 2012. I’ve been writing, recording, producing, and mixing my music since then.

Who would you say has been your biggest influence musically?
I think Coldplay is right up there. I’ve been listening to them for the longest time. And I’m a big fan of how they’ve evolved and how they’ve made bold choices with their music. I identify with that because I feel like when it comes to writing and producing my songs there’s always going to be a new uncharted territory that I’m inspired by and drawn to. 

How did you find your way to the Dubai live music scene?
I moved to Dubai in 2012 to pursue music full-time. It was around the time that I started uploading regularly to YouTube. The videos did well and I started performing around town from there on.


Tell us more about how you became signed to Universal Music?
A friend of mine sent my music across to Universal Music and that led to a meeting. I remember going to the meeting thinking “just be cool. What’s meant to be will be.” and we instantly connected. It’s awesome to be supported by a major label and to work closely with a team of very cool people.

Can you explain the process you went through in order to get signed to such a label? 
I think the process starts when you start making music. Every single thing you do adds to the story. I believe that we can grow to be as big and successful as we desire. There’s a whole lot of hard work that goes into it. Making the music is only part of it. It’s very important to understand the industry and to surround yourself by people who believe in you and your music, and people who want to catapult you to a bigger and more successful stage.

What advice would give to aspiring artists looking to get signed
to a major label?
I’d say the most important thing is to not focus on getting signed per se, but to rather stay centered and connected to who you are. Get to know yourself as an artist. Really sink your feet into your message. Go deep and ask yourself why you’re doing it, what drives you, what your goals and targets are, etc. The right people will come, the right shows will come, and all the opportunities that are meant for you will find their way to you. Just do the work, put yourself out there, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other artists, and learn to take healthy breaks to reflect and recollect.

What has been your gig highlights to date?
My favorite shows have got to be performing at the Red Bull Music Academy at Meet d3 in 2016, and performing at Sikka Art Fair earlier this year. Playing live is hands down my favorite part of this whole thing. There’s a special connection that you feel with the people who are fully immersed in your performance, your words, and what you’re doing. 
Your track “Carry You” has just dropped on Universal Music, what was the catalyst behind this track?
“Carry You” describes the feeling of being inspired and the state of creation. It tells the story of a girl who’s up all night feeling that deep connection with a work of art that’s about to transpire through her. My favorite line from the song is “these sounds must come home tonight”, which basically means that the songs that we’re meant to create can only be created by us. That only we can access that specific place. Whether it’s a song that connects with people or not, these pockets of inspiration are reserved specifically for an individual and only that individual can reach through.

Are all your tracks inspired by real life events? 
Definitely. If it’s not a story of mine per se then it’s one that has had an impact on me, and has moved me in a specific way. That’s the only way that I find myself able to write. It’s got to be something that has left me with things to feel and think about. 
Where can we see you perform this season?
Check out my Instagram at @hadiplaysmusic to get all the updates on when you can catch me live. 
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