'Is It On': Kuwait and Korea stars collaborate on new K-pop tune for Spotify

Bader AlShuaibi and AleXa have created a new track that will be released on Friday

Kuwaiti-Saudi pop artist Bader Al Shuaibi and Korean-American singer AleXa release 'Is It On' on Spotify. Courtesy Spotify
Kuwaiti-Saudi pop artist Bader Al Shuaibi and Korean-American singer AleXa release 'Is It On' on Spotify. Courtesy Spotify

Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian pop artist Bader AlShuaibi and Korean-American singer AleXa have come together to release a K-pop style track.

Is It On will be unveiled on Friday as part of Spotify’s Radar programme, which is designed to help emerging artists across the world boost their global listenership.

K-pop tunes have been performing well across the Middle East on the digital music platform, with a 140 per cent year-on-year increase between January 2020 and 2021. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Qatar are the biggest consumers of K-pop music at the moment.

Bader AlShuaibi is based in Kuwait. Courtesy Spotify
Bader AlShuaibi is a Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian artist. Courtesy Spotify

The Radar Middle East and North Africa programme aims to showcase rising artists from the region, such as AlShuaibi, whose tunes have been gaining in popularity across the Middle East, with his songs streamed most in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, US and Kuwait, according to Spotify.

AleXa, whose real name is Alexandra Christine Schneiderman, is the first Radar Korea artist to join the programme since its official launch in August.

“It’s 2021, we barely see any borders between cultures and people,” said AlShuaibi. "This project is the child of globalisation and my personal love for Korean pop culture. AleXa is an extremely talented artist and together I believe we created the coolest cross-cultural collaboration, ever.”

AleXa is a Korean-American singer based in South Korea. Courtesy Spotify
Korean-American singer AleXa is part of Spotify's Radar programme in South Korea. Courtesy Spotify

AleXa said: “I’m so grateful for this collaboration. It’s a fresh, never-heard-before mix of cultures and sound. I really can’t wait for our fans to hear this track all over the world.”

This song has been more than one year in the making. The track will be fully owned by both artists’ labels but Spotify has overseen the project, connecting the musicians to financial and marketing support, covering the cost of production and on-platform promotion, as well as facilitating billboard placements in New York's Times Square.

“In our continued efforts to blur the boundaries of the global music landscape, we cooked up this next Radar collaboration with a focus on K-pop and Khaleeji pop from the Gulf region,” said Wissam Khodur, artist and label partnerships at Spotify Mena.

“K-pop is performing amazingly well across the world, but especially so in the Gulf, where we see K-pop releases shoot to the peak position on charts.”

In April, Jordanian teen Issam Alnajjar benefitted from the Radar initiative, as he released Turning Me Up (Hadal Ahbek), a club-ready remix of 2020’s viral hit Hadal Ahbek, featuring Canadian artists Ali Gatie and DJ duo Loud Luxury.

Alnajjar, too, appeared on a digital billboard in the heart of New York City and at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Canada.

Shining bright: Jordanian teenager Issam Alnajjar appears in Spotify's billboard in New York. Courtesy Spotify
Shining bright: Jordanian teenager Issam Alnajjar appears in Spotify's billboard in New York. Courtesy Spotify

Updated: May 18, 2021 02:30 PM

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