Another year, another Emerging Talent Competition (ETC) is well on its way to crowning a winner. A panel of judges — Olly Wood of home-grown electronic duo Hollaphonic, Universal Music Mena’s Rania Hamadeh, and founder of talent management agency The Fridge, Shelley Frost — have taken on the task of mentoring 10 promising musicians who are based in the UAE, and grooming them for superstardom.
Workshops included how to break into the industry and how to better understand the media. Four finalists will be chosen this week.
Only the winner takes all, walking away with a year-long residency at The Village in du Arena, as well as the opportunity to perform on the final night of the Yasalam After-Race Concerts (November 26) in Abu Dhabi, where pop star P!nk is also set to perform.
Here’s a glimpse at the contenders who have made it this far, in their own words.
1. Menon Official, Dubai-based hip-hop artist: “Real-talk lyrics with raw and energetic delivery.”
2. Sarah Al Ghanem, Polish-Palestinian singer: “Controlled, pleasant to listen to, loud and clear. I’ve been told that my voice sounds angelic and full of emotions.”
3. Danny Aridi, Lebanese-Canadian singer-songwriter: “Passionate, powerful and raspy voice that is able to connect with people on an emotional level. I add a unique touch to every song I perform.”
4. Aman Sheriff, pop, alternative and electronic singer-songwriter: “A unique blend of smooth, melodic and lyrical.”
5. Dina Rabadi, Dubai-based singer-songwriter: “Soothing, warm and vivacious yet powerful in different genres.”
6. Millie Page, indie-alternative singer-guitarist: “Unique, powerful and distinctive, and I present this in all of my performances.”
7. Mahwry, Somali singer-songwriter: “Rock-orientated voice, mixed with pop and punk.”
8. MVRS, Egyptian rapper and singer-songwriter: “Versatile. It can go from aggressive and confident, to vulnerable, laid-back and uncertain. It reflects my upbringing as a third culture kid. Living in such a globalised society has definitely allowed me to be more adaptable and have more control over my emotions, and accordingly, my voice.”
9. Vera Ciocca, Colombian pop and R’n’B singer: “Sweet, smooth, soulful, deep and fresh.”
10. Vocalist Omar Afuni of Qattana, hard rock band: “Earthy and rich, with a theatrical quality that hits the high notes and the low with equal ease.”