Emirati singer Alira takes flight with debut single: 'I want to show people what I have'

The artist will perform at Expo 2020 Dubai in January

Before taking to the stage, it is advisable to study and work with the greats. This is what Emirati singer Alira did before releasing his debut single Take Flight on October 14.

Led by a dynamic counter-tenor vocal, the club track is an amalgam of '90s-era pop and RnB, with cutting-edge dance production fit for clubs and festivals.

The ingredients in the mix, as the Emirati singer tells The National, partly lies in Alira, real name Ali Rashed, soaking up as much music as he could since childhood.

“Music really is my life and ever since I was really young, I would try to understand how some of these great songs and performances were put together,” he says.

“I am a big fan of the big divas like Mariah Carey and Celine Dion and I just love their songwriting, charisma on stage and their ability to grab an audience.

“Of course, at the time music was a hobby, but all that experience came through when I decided to really go for it and step out with my own work.”

Aiding him in that transition is a bona fide hit-maker.

Take Flight’s producer is none other than Wayne Wilkins, the British songwriter who has produced hits for Beyonce (Sweet Dreams), Jordin Sparks (Battlefield) and Natasha Bedingfield (These Words).

Alira recalls his song was largely formed by the time it reached Wilkins, as he'd already written the lyrics and melodies on piano.

"We are currently working on a music video for this and that’s exciting because the song talks about love and space," he says.

"The song revolves around the story of two lovers who go through a particular experience which changes everything. At the end of the day, it is also a good vibes song that you can hear loud in the clubs and dance to."

Alira will put the track to the test with his first major performance at Expo 2020 Dubai, in January, details of which will be announced soon.

With 20 songs already recorded and to be released regularly, he is confident he can pull off a show fit for the occasion.

One of the unreleased tracks set to feature is dedicated to Expo.

“I have this thing where I can envision things before it happens,” Alira says. “This song for the Expo came to me in August 2020 and I immediately realised this is something I can work with.

“And when I was writing the song, I was already visualising performing it on a large stage with all these flags waving. It helped me in that it made me excited and to also write a song that will work on that large stage.”

The Expo performance will also boast slick choreography and visual elements, says Alira, to ensure his appearance is memorable.

“It also makes me proud because this is really what the Expo is about,” he says.

“It is not only a place to celebrate advancements but to provide opportunities.

“This is what I am doing. I always had this dream of doing something meaningful with music and I can’t wait to show people what I have.”

Updated: October 30th 2021, 12:52 PM