Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022

Special Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
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Afrojack and Steve Aoki on stage during MDLBEAST XP, December 15, 2021, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)
Special Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
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Steve Aoki on stage during MDLBEAST XP, December 15, 2021, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)
Special Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
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Biirdperson on stage during MDLBEAST XP, December 15, 2021, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)
Special Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
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Nite Xperience on stage during MDLBEAST XP, December 15, 2021, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)
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Updated 15 August 2022

Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022

Industry experts help shape XP Music Futures program for 2022
  • DJs, rappers, producers sign up to new advisory board
  • Innovation and diversity are key pillars of this year’s event, organizers say

RIYADH: XP Music Futures has created an advisory board of industry insiders to ensure maximum diversity and innovation when it stages its second festival in November.

Among those appointed to the so-called board of advocates and advisors are American rapper Kim Renard Nazel — better known as Arabian Prince — music producer and record label founder Saud Alturki, immersive audio specialist Marcela Rada, digital media expert Natasha Stambuli, and the regional head of A&R and marketing at Sony Music Middle East Karima Damir.

Mohammed Bajbaa, who founded Saudi clothing brand Proud Angeles and fashion consultancy Proud X, Saudi rapper Jara and DJ Space Boi, will also be on the board.

XP director Nada Alhelabi said: “83 percent of last year’s attendees loved XP because of its programming. Partnering with a diverse set of professionals means guests see representation they can identify with and relate to.

“Our trusted board of advocates and advisors serve as one way for us to stay connected to communities … and deliver another great edition of valuable cultural and music exchange, tangible progress and inspire unlimited innovation.”

With its Day and Nite program and focus on innovation through disruptive, forward-thinking methods, XP is the forerunner within the MENA region for the music and creative industries.

It will not only discover and discuss how new technology is the driver of change in the music ecosystem – exploring the fast-moving Web3, the new iteration on blockchain technology and Metaverse – but also bring technology for guests to experience in immersive installations.

Its other core pillars of talent, scene and impact will work to implement ways to flourish careers in the music industry, nurture the scene through workshops and panels, and initiate dialogue around music, mental health and well-being, and their role in creating a socially conscious industry.

“The ultimate objective of XP is to accelerate the development and transformation of the music landscape across the Middle East,” Alhelabi said. “We are grateful to be driving, crafting and optimizing wonders into our world.”

The festival runs from Nov. 28-30. Music professionals and enthusiasts can register at https://mdlbeast.com/events/xp-2022.


Mayyas choreographer Nadim Cherfan addresses historic ‘America’s Got Talent’ win at Lebanon event

Mayyas choreographer Nadim Cherfan addresses historic ‘America’s Got Talent’ win at Lebanon event
Updated 02 October 2022

Mayyas choreographer Nadim Cherfan addresses historic ‘America’s Got Talent’ win at Lebanon event

Mayyas choreographer Nadim Cherfan addresses historic ‘America’s Got Talent’ win at Lebanon event

DUBAI: Celebrating the historic win of Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas on the “America’s Got Talent” stage, founder and choreographer Nadim Cherfan appeared at a special question-and-answer session at the US embassy in Beirut.

“I never thought. I never planned. I never dreamed. I just went for it,” said Cherfan about the group’s meteoric rise over the past year.

The 45-minute Q&A session was broadcast on YouTube as part of the US Embassy’s Meet the Artist series. The broadcast also featured a special performance by the Mayyas — their first since winning the US talent show.

“I promise the girls I will be with them forever, that’s how I say it,” Cherfan said. “The girls will be changing over the years, some of them will be following their own dreams, but the Mayyas should live on, it’s not anymore about any of us — it’s a national pride. So we have to keep on sending this message.”

About being a group from Lebanon and his early inspiration to become a dancer, Cherfan said: “When you live in a country that has some struggles, you have to go deep to the heart to escape reality. I used to travel all around the world and experience a beautiful sensation that I can speak an international language and I can express myself whether I am angry or sad in this way, so I think dancing saved my life in a way.”

“As soon as I opened my eyes to this world and I started realizing that there’s something called theater and dance and music, I was completely taken away from the first second,” he said.

The Lebanese dance company Mayyas won “America’s Got Talent” season 17, taking home the $1 million prize and the chance to headline a Las Vegas show.

In June, the group made their “America’s Got Talent” debut and impressed judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara so much that they received a golden buzzer and fast track to the live shows.
 


Rapper Post Malone to perform in the UAE in December

Rapper Post Malone to perform in the UAE in December
Updated 30 September 2022

Rapper Post Malone to perform in the UAE in December

Rapper Post Malone to perform in the UAE in December

DUBAI: Nine-time Grammy Award nominee Post Malone is set to perform on Dec. 3 at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Park in celebration of the UAE’s National Day.

The rapper, who sold 95 million singles and 13 million albums in the US alone, is expected to sing a selection of hits from his catalogue, including “Rockstar,” “Psycho,” “Sunflower” and “Better Now,” as well as new tracks from his latest album “Twelve Carat Toothache.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @postmalone

“I’m excited to be returning to Abu Dhabi and performing for the incredible audience there again,” said Malone, whose real name is Austin Richard Post, in a released statement. “The crowd for my last show there were electric and I can’t wait to take to the stage and perform for my fans in the Middle East. Together, we’re going to enjoy a fantastic weekend.”

The 27-year-old singing sensation performed in Abu Dhabi in 2018 for the Formula 1 Yasalam After-Race concerts.

Malone, who is the eighth best-selling digital artist of all time, rose to fame for his unique blend of hip hop, pop, R&B and trap genres and subgenres.


REVIEW: ‘Andor’ might test ‘Star Wars’ fans patience, but it could just be worth it

REVIEW: ‘Andor’ might test ‘Star Wars’ fans patience, but it could just be worth it
Updated 30 September 2022

REVIEW: ‘Andor’ might test ‘Star Wars’ fans patience, but it could just be worth it

REVIEW: ‘Andor’ might test ‘Star Wars’ fans patience, but it could just be worth it
  • New show is short on lightsabers and spaceships, but big on color and atmosphere

LONDON: For all the “Star Wars” universe’s recent movie missteps, its TV storytelling has never been in a better place — recent shows such as “The Mandalorian,” “Visions” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” have been some of the most enjoyable material to slot into the galaxy far, far away since George Lucas originally put pen to paper in the 1970s.

But that comes with an added layer of pressure too, like that hanging over “Andor” — the latest show to be added to the growing pantheon of “Star Wars” small-screen entries. The series is a prequel to a prequel, in fact: “Andor” charts the origins of Cassian Andor, the (then) haunted Rebel soldier who sacrificed his life to help steal the plans to the Empire’s first Death Star in “Rogue One.”

In “Andor”, Cassian — played again by Diego Luna — is a wayward soul, angry at the universe for reasons (presumably) yet to be revealed, and desperate to find a way to fight back against the growing tyranny sweeping across the galaxy. That is, until he meets Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), a member of the Rebel Alliance who believes that Cassian may be a key addition to the burgeoning resistance.

Of the first three episodes, there’s little more to say than that, largely because “Andor” is redefining the notion of a slowbuild show. We’re treated to flashes of Cassian’s youth, and reasons why he hates the Empire so much, and we learn about his life on the planet Ferrix, which finds itself under the heel of an authoritarian regime in a drawn-out introduction that has little action. 

But what we do get is the “Star Wars” universe painted in detail more intricate than we’ve seen before. There are no Jedi, no sprawling space battles or (cough) trade disputes to drive the story forward, so “Andor” treats us to a gritty, realistic look at what it might actually be like to live in this fantastical universe. 

For “Star Wars” fans, it’s a wonderful tour through a level of minutiae never glimpsed before in live action. And while the lack of fireworks early on might deter casual viewers, or those not familiar with the franchise, that level of expectation that surrounds new “Star Wars” outlets will probably be enough to buy the show the time to realize its true potential. 


Yemeni oud player and social media star Ahmed Alshaiba dies in New York

Yemeni oud player and social media star Ahmed Alshaiba dies in New York
Updated 29 September 2022

Yemeni oud player and social media star Ahmed Alshaiba dies in New York

Yemeni oud player and social media star Ahmed Alshaiba dies in New York
  • Ahmed Alshaiba previously performed for US politician Hillary Clinton
  • The YouTube star was most famous for his covers of international hits, including tracks by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber

DUBAI: Yemeni oud player and social media star Ahmed Alshaiba, who performed for the likes of US politician Hillary Clinton, has died following a traffic accident in New York.

The musician shot to fame for his oud renditions of hit international songs such as Ed Sheeran's “Shape of You,” Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” and the theme songs of popular franchises such as “Game of Thrones” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Aside from covers, however, Alshaiba also worked on creating original music, releasing his latest album “Malahide” in August.

With nearly 800,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, Alshaiba’s videos amassed millions of views due to his mash-up of Arab and Western styles. 

At the time of posting, the late musician's family had not released an official statement as yet.


REVIEW: ‘Sidney’ on Apple TV+ is a gripping biopic on a black actor’s rise during the civil rights movement

REVIEW: ‘Sidney’ on Apple TV+ is a gripping biopic on a black actor’s rise during the civil rights movement
Updated 29 September 2022

REVIEW: ‘Sidney’ on Apple TV+ is a gripping biopic on a black actor’s rise during the civil rights movement

REVIEW: ‘Sidney’ on Apple TV+ is a gripping biopic on a black actor’s rise during the civil rights movement

CHENNAI: Many years ago, when I interviewed Sidney Poitier at the Montreal International Film Festival, what struck me most was his humility, graciousness and empathy. He addressed those traits in a new documentary “Sidney,” out now on Apple TV+.

Produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Reginald Hudlin, the nearly two-hour film delves deep into the Hollywood icon’s psyche and is an endearing biopic that tells us so much about his struggles to get to where he did.

Poitier died in early 2022, but the film features a telling interview with the star, who speaks about learning humility and empathy from his parents, and also shares the traumatic story of his birth.

He was in his 90s when he died, but he was not supposed to live so long. Born two months premature to tomato farming parents on Cat Island in the Bahamas in the 1920s, his father had brought a shoebox to serve as a makeshift coffin. But his mother would have none of it — she walked around the island weeping when she chanced upon a soothsayer, who predicted that the child would go places and reach the pinnacle of glory.

“I achieved most of it,” Poitier tells us in the documentary, which has been narrated in the form of a lilting story. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Apple TV (@appletv)

Although much of the biography comes from the man himself, there are invaluable inputs from Winfrey, Halle Berry and Morgan Freeman, who says at one point that Sidney never played a subservient part – something so common in Hollywood before race relations became a huge debate in the 1960s. Earlier, Black actors could only be janitors or dishwashers or nannies on the silver screen, but Poitier changed all this. His 1963 film “Lilies of Field” earned him an Oscar and he became the first Black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

What caused even more of a stir was 1967 film “In the Heat of the Night” in which Poitier’s Detective Virgil Tibbs slapped an actor playing a white plantation owner on screen. It was electrifying, especially given the ongoing civil rights movement.

The biopic dives into all this and more, but does not shy away from the actor’s failings in his personal life — his long affair with actress Diahann Carroll triggered a divorce which split his family, for example.

What viewers will undoubtedly take away is a picture of a man who paved the way for actors of color to shine on the big screen and emerge from the shadows of their white contemporaries.