Emirati pop stars Hussain Al Jassmi and Shamma Hamdan lead a host of Arab artists nominated for this year’s Bama Music Awards.
Held at the prestigious Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 23, the annual glitzy awards ceremony returns with 89 artists nominated for categories spanning the international music scene.
Representing the region is a strong batch of talent, including Iraqi crooner Kathem Al-Saher, Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel, Moroccan pop-producer RedOne and Lebanon’s Nawal Al Zoghbi.
With the exception of RedOne, who is nominated for Producer of the Year, the rest of the Arab artists up for awards will be vying for a string of regional gongs.
Al Jassmi is competing for Best Middle Eastern Artist with Lebanese stars Assi El Helani, Ragheb Alama and the aforementioned Zoghbi in addition to Egyptian singers Amal Maher and Angham.
A new generation of Arab talents are also set to be recognised through the Best Upcoming Middle Eastern Artist category. The UAE’s Hamdan, Palestine’s Mohammed Assaf, Syria’s Nassif Zeytoun, Kuwait’s Hamad Al Qattan, Morocco’s Dounia Batma, Egypt’s Eyad Jian and Iraq’s Mahmoud Al Turki and Nour El Zein are all contenders.
UAE K-pop fans may have their loyalties tested when it comes to the Best Korean Pop Group category, with superstar group Exo nominated alongside Big Bang, GO17 and the girl groups Black Pink and Red Velvet.
Most of the big pop names are in the international categories with Best International Artist featuring American rapper Childish Gambino and British pop star Dua Lipa, while nominees for International Collaboration of the Year include Daft Punk and The Weeknd for Star Boy and Maroon 5 and Kendrick Lamar's Don't Wanna Know.
The Bama ceremony is named after its organisers, the Big Apple Music Awards Foundation, which describes itself as an organisation made up of industry professionals “dedicated to improving the quality of life and the cultural condition for Central Asian, Caucasian and Middle Eastern music and its makers both inside and outside the United States”.
With nominees chosen by the public through its website, a special awards committee is now set up to select the winners. For details, visit www.bamala2018.com.