Dubai State of Mind is an online hit

But song's creator will leave the country this weekend.
DUBAI // The man behind the Dubai tribute song that received more than 7,000 hits after being uploaded on to YouTube three days ago is leaving the Emirates this weekend.

Mohammed 'Mo' Mansour, a 23-year-old Canadian-Egyptian banker, arrived in the UAE for work in 2009, and penned the lyrics to the viral hip-hop track.

The song features lyrics such as "Now you're in Dubai/You've got to love the mentality/Turns dreams to reality" and is based on Jay-Z and Alicia Keys's chart-topping 2009 hit Empire State of Mind.

"I am a Canadian and an Arab and the reason I love Dubai is because it takes the best of both East and West," Mansour said. "If I want to go to Friday prayers I can, and if I want to go out on any given evening I can. When people criticise Dubai, I realise they have not experienced it."

The refrain of the track is performed by Emma Hayes, 27, from Scotland. "When I first heard the song eight months ago, I thought it was amazing," she said.

Hayes, who studied dance in Dundee and Edinburgh, Scotland, moved to Dubai five years ago and works with the Sharmila Dance Company.

"I come from a small fishing town in Scotland. What brought me here was the weather, palm trees and people," she said.

"When I first came, I heard a story about Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid] entertaining e-mails from the public voicing their concerns, and replying. I thought that was amazing because in the UK this would never happen."

Mansour said he first started to write lyrics by chance. "I was in the gym and I had lost my iPod, so when I was on the treadmill I started to make music in my head and then put it on paper," he said.

At his brother's suggestion he decided to write a song praising the emirate. Now, after spending 18 months in the UAE, Mansour has been reassigned by his company. "I will be leaving for Greece now that my period in Dubai has ended," he said.

"I'm going to miss Dubai. I'm definitely going to come back and visit very often."

amustafa@thenational.ae

Published: April 15, 2011 04:00 AM

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