Meet the three Yasalam Emerging Talent Competition finalists

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After a gruelling UAE-wide talent search, three finalists in the inaugural Yasalam Emerging Talent Competition will this weekend compete live onstage for the chance to perform at Beats on the Beach. The National introduces the contestants:

S. O. S (Secret Over Supremacy)

• What: A four-piece band of twenty-something students, with members from South African, Zambia, Nigeria and Pakistan/Barbados/UK

• Influences: Tupac, Drake, Burna Boy, Skepta, Bob Marley

• Listen online to: New Chick

Describe your sound in five words?

Unique, urban, Afro-fusion — U-Fro.

What inspires your music?

As creative individuals we feed off one another’s energy when we’re in the studio. It sometimes proves a blessing having four members from all over the globe. It’s good ideas with a mixture of good vibes that inspire us to create good music.

What’s your greatest musical achievement?

To date we have sold out two shows at A Club Dubai, gained a Top 40 spot on Zone Radio in South Africa, and have released one music video. But in all, our biggest highlight was when we were played on Radio 1’s Homegrown segment hosted by Sadiece Holland from The Flex.

How would you describe the UAE music scene?

Vulnerable, to our entry [laughs]. It’s a very diverse music scene, but I think if I were to use a few words I would say: commercial, safe and exciting. It would be great to be able to add a new dynamic.

What are your hopes for the band?

Inshallah, we hope to bridge a gap between the UAE, the western countries and Afro-Caribbean countries, and allow music to grow freely here.

Jay Abo

• What: A 24-year-old Lebanese singer-songwriter/student, known as Jean-Pierre Abou Jaoude to his mum

• Influences: Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, John Mayer

• Listen online to: He does a mean cover of Jason Derulo’s talk dirty

Describe your sound in five words?

Honest, eclectic, acoustic, soul/pop.

How would you celebrate if you win?

I’ll be cooking my special mushroom risotto for my friends and family regardless of the outcome. The amount of support they have shown me has been incredible.

Where do you find the inspiration behind your songs?

Everyday life, and the stories all around me. As a Lebanese kid growing up in Dubai, I have watched the everyday unfold in an adventurous way. Much of my inspiration comes from the people I have met and the experiences that I’ve had in this one-of-a-kind city.

What’s on the horizon for you?

I'm currently reaching the climax of finishing my debut album, Frames. The process has been a long one, being recorded over the course of two years in studios between London, Dubai and LA.

What words would you use to describe the UAE music scene?

Exciting, diverse with the potential to explode.

Scott Attew

• What: An 18-year-old British acoustic guitar-strumming troubadour

• Influences: Bloc Party, Pete Doherty, Frank Turner

• Listen online to: Carry Me Home, by Scott's band Vandalye

Describe your music in five words.

Alternative, acoustic, blues, rockabilly, punchy.

Excited about the competition?

Yes I am, I don’t mind who wins as long as we are together in it for the love of music. I wouldn’t know how to rate my chances.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

I find my inspiration in my life experiences, life stories and other people’s lives around me — political issues or non-issues.

Greatest achievement?

I played on a second stage at Paolo Nutini’s gig in Dubai this April.

Most intimating musician you’ve met?

I have never really met an intimidating musician, because we are all a community, but I met Frank Turner at Latitude festival in Suffolk, England and he was the nicest person to just chat to.

How would you describe the UAE music scene?

Growing rapidly, specifically in Dubai, there is so much talent to harvest and to behold.

The three finalists will perform live on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche on Saturday from 7.30pm. The winning act will then be invited back to play at the opening night of Beats on the Beach on November 26. For details, go to