Saudi singer Talal Alshehail optimistic about KSA’s growing music industry

Exclusive Talal Alshehail at Trip Loon’s debut show organized by Capital Entertainment at Jax district in Riyadh last week. (Supplied)
Talal Alshehail at Trip Loon’s debut show organized by Capital Entertainment at Jax district in Riyadh last week. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 January 2023

Saudi singer Talal Alshehail optimistic about KSA’s growing music industry

Talal Alshehail at Trip Loon’s debut show organized by Capital Entertainment at Jax district in Riyadh last week. (Supplied)
  • Musician Talal Alshehail grateful for new opportunities
  • Highlights need for business, technical skills development

RIYADH: Talal Alshehail becomes quite emotional when he speaks about his debut show that opened up in Riyadh last week because it has been such a challenge to get his work out for the past 13 years.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the creative director of the Riyadh-based company, Capital Entertainment, said that the Kingdom is now providing opportunities, which was once a distant dream for artists. He admitted, though, that it is a nascent industry and more needs to be done for creatives to develop business and technical skills.

He said he experienced a rush of emotions, including a great deal of gratitude, when his band Trip Loon performed in Jax District last week. “This was 13 years in the making. I started this project 13 years ago. The band changed its name four times with different lineups. It was so hard to get it up and running and to do a show,” he said.

“Now that we know Saudi Arabia has changed we don’t have these problems of music, now it’s allowed. Ever since we started working on getting a band together, we have worked hard. Now there are resources in the country. There is infrastructure for that. So I thought, it’s time to get the debut up and running,” Alshehail said.

HIGHLIGHT

Musician Talal Alshehail is grateful for new opportunities being created by the Saudi government for musicians and artists in the Kingdom. He emphasized the need to develop business and technical skills development within the Saudi music industry.

Alshehail graduated from three programs at the New York Film Academy — two Master of Fine Arts qualifications in filmmaking and producing respectively, and a diploma in cinematography.

His career highlights include directing a critically acclaimed music video in the US that was featured in both Yahoo Music and Rolling Stone’s Top 20 List of Most Awesome Music Videos in 2014 and the Saudi Arabian Pioneers Marketing Award for Best Video Commercial in 2018.

Alshehail said that his music journey started when he was in college in the UAE with his best friend Mohammed Alshaibi, who is currently a member of Trip Loon. Alshaibi had quit their initial band because he thought a music career was not possible, and decided to get married.

Alshehail, in contrast, persisted and wanted to live and work in the US but could not get an artist visa. “I couldn’t get a run over there. Then I came back and everything was allowed, but there was no infrastructure. Now everything is allowed and there is the infrastructure. So now everything seems possible,” he said.

Debut is roaring success

“We came up with a team that performed at the debut show, they were all Saudis. If the band members stay committed to me for at least one album cycle of development, production, promotion and touring, and they seem like they are committed, then we are going to change the band name, from my name to a band name,” said Alshehail, who was joined during the interview by Capital Entertainment’s founder Turki Alshagroud and co-founder AlWaleed AlShehail.




Talal Alshehail, Creative Director of the Capital Entertainment at Jax District, Riyadh. (AN photo)

The debut show was a roaring success. “The reason for such a good response from the people is because so many of the biggest names in Rock ’n Roll in Saudi Arabia participated in this project, and also from (other) music genres … they all encouraged us. “Few musicians in America and Amro Hawari, a legend in the rock scene in Saudi Arabia participated in this and supported us,” said the artist.

He said the plan is to tour the Kingdom with Trip Loon, which includes producing more music and performing at wrestling shows. “Our next plan is (also) to have a single out. We just want to have one single, and then we are gonna focus on finishing the first album.

“We have nine of the 10 songs written for the first album, and then we will finish it. It’s a matter of just getting the budget for tracking it, and then we can have it released,” he said.

Alshehail believes that there is a lot to look forward to. “This should not be an opportunity that we should take lightly, we should focus on making really good material with a lot of merit, and not just prematurely develop things just because there are opportunities just to have a release out.

“I think all the artists have to really take this opportunity seriously and make songs that are really thought out and that have a really powerful effect on its listeners,” he said.

Capital Entertainment’s slogan is “Merit before Hype,” which encapsulates the aim to “train and to co-create content with upcoming Saudi artists in order to attract popular and critical acclaim, both locally and globally.

“We want to professionalize the industry. The resources are there, but we have to professionalize the music business, sound engineering, and live sound skills. All of that needs some training and workshops, and conferences, like there was the XP Music Conference held recently in Riyadh,” he said.

 


Arab counter-terrorism strategy draft discussed in Riyadh

Arab counter-terrorism strategy draft discussed in Riyadh
Updated 01 February 2023

Arab counter-terrorism strategy draft discussed in Riyadh

Arab counter-terrorism strategy draft discussed in Riyadh
  • The meeting was chaired by Omani representative Lt. Col. Mohammed bin Salem Al-Shanfari
  • Representatives reviewed the components of the executive plan

RIYADH: Representatives from 14 Arab countries submitted a draft executive plan for the Arab counter-terrorism strategy, which was developed by the Council of Arab Interior Ministers.
It came during the seventh two-day meeting of the Arab high committee, hosted by Naif Arab University for Security Sciences at its headquarters in Riyadh.
The meeting, organized by the Arab Office of Counter-Extremism and Terrorism in Riyadh and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, was chaired by Omani representative Lt. Col. Mohammed bin Salem Al-Shanfari, and attended by delegations from Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Yemen, along with a GCC representative.
The meeting reviewed the components of the executive plan, its means of implementation as well as accompanying programs with international partners. Representatives discussed mechanisms for measuring, monitoring and evaluating the plan.
Foreign relations vice president at NAUSS, Khalid Alharfash, said that terrorism tops issues that the university is keen to address, given the impacts of terror on international security and stability.
Alharfash added that the university, in partnership with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, recently inaugurated a specialized center that aims to combat crimes including terrorism.
He expressed hope that the recommendations and resolutions adopted by representatives would achieve the goals and objectives of regional interior ministers, and boost Arab action in the field of counter-terrorism.


Social Responsibility Forum kicks off in Riyadh

Social Responsibility Forum kicks off in Riyadh
Updated 28 min 47 sec ago

Social Responsibility Forum kicks off in Riyadh

Social Responsibility Forum kicks off in Riyadh
  • Event agenda highlights role of private sector in promoting civic duties

RIYADH: The 2023 Social Responsibility Forum launched on Wednesday at Riyadh’s InterContinental Hotel, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Representatives from the public and private sectors, company CEOs as well as heads of local authorities and organizations are taking part in the event.

The support of the Kingdom’s leadership in promoting social responsibility was lauded in a speech by Saudi Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development Majid bin Abdul Rahim bin Salem Al-Ghanmi.

He noted that the Saudi Council of Ministers will mark March 23 as an annual Day of Social Responsibility in the Kingdom for the first time this year.

The association’s CEO, Abdullah Al-Muhanna, said that the forum will also tackle the Kingdom’s experience of social responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ways to incorporate the private and nonprofit sectors in promoting civic duties.

Saud Al-Subaie, chairman of the association’s board of directors, stressed the importance of bridging the gap between the public, private and nonprofit sectors in promoting social responsibility to achieve sustainable development.

“It is very important to achieve sustainable development in social responsibility, rooting social work in a framework, conducting research and scientific studies, in addition to spreading public awareness about social responsibility issues and monitoring social responsibility experiences with the relevant authorities,” Al-Subaie told Arab News.

“Partnerships between active institutions in the three sectors are due to be signed in relation to the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in the social responsibility sector,” he added.

Al-Subaie praised the private sector’s growing interest in its “internal and external environment,” including the long-term strategy of Saudization.

Following the forum’s launch, a documentary film was screened covering the Social Responsibility Association’s history, goals and achievements.


Riyadh meeting for Saudi, Brunei ministers

Riyadh meeting for Saudi, Brunei ministers
Updated 01 February 2023

Riyadh meeting for Saudi, Brunei ministers

Riyadh meeting for Saudi, Brunei ministers
  • The ministers discussed the strong fraternal relations between the two countries

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, second minister of Brunei’s foreign affairs, in Riyadh on Wednesday.
The ministers discussed the strong fraternal relations between the two countries and ways to enhance and develop them in all fields.
They also discussed ways to develop a coordinated approach toward regional and international issues of common concern.
The two sides looked at opportunities to enhance partnership in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
 


Jeddah Central Development Co. to transform desalination plant into cultural museum by 2028

Jeddah Central Development Co. to transform desalination plant into cultural museum by 2028
Updated 01 February 2023

Jeddah Central Development Co. to transform desalination plant into cultural museum by 2028

Jeddah Central Development Co. to transform desalination plant into cultural museum by 2028
  • CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Central Project Ahmed Abdulaziz Al-Saleem said that the museum will provide a “rich experience” that will detail the process of desalination
  • The contract for engineering and architectural designs with the multi-award-winning British architecture company Heatherwick Studio includes establishing a large cultural center

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Central Development Co. announced that it is currently working on transforming the Jeddah desalination plant into a museum that will document the city’s industrial heritage from the time of King Abdulaziz to the present day.

CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Central Project Ahmed Abdulaziz Al-Saleem said that the museum will provide a “rich experience” that will detail the process of desalination “in both its historical and scientific aspects.”

The contract for engineering and architectural designs with the multi-award-winning British architecture company Heatherwick Studio includes establishing a large cultural center on the project’s waterfront.

The museum will open in 2028 and will include, among other features, studios dedicated to creative visual production and exhibitions representing industry and culture.

Al-Saleem is overseeing the SR75 billion ($20 billion) plan to develop 5.7 million square meters of the port city, which will include major international landmarks, such as an opera house, a museum, a sports stadium and coral farms.

It will also feature a marina, restaurants, beach resorts, over 2,700 hotel rooms, and 17,000 homes in the Kingdom’s second-largest city, which has a population of around 4 million.

The Jeddah Central Project is expected to create 25,000 jobs in the city, according to the firm behind the development.

In 2020, the last two chimneys of the desalination plant were shut down for environmental reasons following the directive of the minister of environment, water and agriculture as the plant had a high operating cost and was a major reason behind the spread of polluted fumes in the air since 1990.

The Saline Water Conversion Corp. now depends on more sustainable and innovative desalination technologies for a better environment.


KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger
Updated 01 February 2023

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Tuesday distributed 1,040 food aid packages to Syrian refugees in several Lebanese regions, benefiting 5,200 people.

The Saudi charity has a project aiming to distribute food aid to the most neediest groups in various countries.

On Sunday, KSRelief distributed  731 food parcels in Marib Governorate, Yemen, benefiting 5,117 people.

And in Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.

In Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.​​​​​ (SPA)

In Pakistan, they distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

 In Pakistan, KSRelief distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province. (SPA)