He’s desperate, desperate for the innocence of the 1980s.
Saleh Hamed is an Emirati on a mission. He wants to rip through the excesses of the millennial sound, tear up the music sheets and replace it with a blend - the sound of Abu Dhabi.
He has a project called Dozenz to help drive this movement. It brings together a group of local artists, filmmakers and dancers to create music and other art projects.
“Our music should be fun because [Abu Dhabi] is one of the greatest places to live in right now….There is nothing that matches the UAE.” The idea behind the project is that there are “dozens of people who have some skill or talent”, and Hamed is trying to bring them together.
After being part of the local band Juliana Down, the Emirati producer and songwriter took a 10-year break from music to focus on his personal life. Dozenz is his comeback project, which mixes different tunes to create a unique pop music sound that is with the trends but has a slight retro feel to it.
“The 1980’s were really chilled out. We would go hang out by the Abu Dhabi corniche and the volcano fountain… it was the best place to grow up. Now, as a father, I look at what my children are doing, and I really want to bring more of that innocence back.”
Hamed’s new music video showcasing Dozenz has girls and boys competing in a friendly dance battle. The girls dance ballet and the boys are breakdancing.
Seventeen-year-old Omar Omran, who has been dancing for seven years, took part in the Dozenz video project with his dance group. He said: “It was a lot of fun. It was one of my best works and I hope to work with Hamed in the future.”
Despite being only a couple of months old, the Dozenz initiative is popular among the youth. Hamed said that it seems to resonate quite a bit with young people already.
He wanted to create a place where boys and girls could hang out, enjoy music and pop culture, without them “having to be naked”.
“The girls take the lead in the video and I think it is empowering for other women watching,” he added.
BOX:You can follow “Dozenz”, get in touch with the dancers and keep up with Hamed’s new music on Facebook.