Regional recording artists go back to basics

International artists performing at The Music Room in Dubai.
The R&B singer Ayzee, from Saudi Arabia, will perform at the Fort'Lom concert in Dubai tonight.
The R&B singer Ayzee, from Saudi Arabia, will perform at the Fort'Lom concert in Dubai tonight.

Music lovers, bloggers and industry professionals are invited to the next Fort'Lom concert organised by the Dubai-based record label and the talent management company Co-Sign Kilma.

Prepare to be blown away by the talent of seven regional recording artists who are a mix of singers and rappers, each with their own unique style, at The Music Room, Majestic Hotel in Dubai tonight.

Under the slogan "Back to Basics", the line-up includes the Emirati singer Hamdan Al Abri; the Indian singer Sach Holden; May Al Qassim, who will be flying in from Bahrain; the R&B Saudi singer Ayzee; the singer Tiny from Bahrain; the Emirati DJ Mister Outlaw, who opened for Coldplay and headlined at Creamfields and Melissa Le Rue from the Philippines. The first event, an all-female line-up under the banner Femme Fatale in October, drew a crowd of more than 600 people. The next event in April saw at least 700 people supporting regional artists.

For tonight's event, Ayzee (Hamza Hawsawi) will be performing new songs from his soon-to-be-released EP titled First Words produced by Ayham Homsi. Speaking from Saudi, Ayzee, of the band J-Fam, said Fort'Lom is a very important platform.

"An event like this has never happened before in the region because no one approached artists in such a way to expose their music. I'd heard a lot about the concert and I'm very excited to be part of it," said the 21-year-old. "I'm a shy person, so my music is my voice, it speaks for me."

Most of the sets, up to 30 minutes each, will have a touch of jazz, new soul, R&B and acoustics, hence the banner Back to Basics, said Adeniyi Adetokunboh, the manager of Co-Sign Kilma, adding that most of the hip-hop and R&B tracks incorporate the "essence of jazz".

"We introduced Fort'Lom because we never had a chance before for artists to have their own concerts, usually they are opening for another act but at The Music Room, it is their concert they are headlining, it's their faces on the posters and people are coming to see them specifically," said Adetokunboh. "It is a great way to form a community and to encourage collaboration between artists."

Being an R&B singer in Saudi, said Ayzee, comes with its challenges, but there is hope that events such as Fort'Lom will open people's minds.

"I hope to hear all the artists are doing something each week, followed by a Middle East tour then an international tour," he said.


Doors open at 8pm tonight. Tickets cost Dh75. For more information, visit

Published: April 18, 2012 04:00 AM


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