French DJ David Guetta was in a great mood as he sat against the backdrop of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai to discuss his latest global project.
It was a clear, sunny day and the ‘Titanium’ hit maker was bursting with positivity — granted, there was a lot to feel positive about. His performance on the helipad of the iconic hotel would be beamed to people across the world on February 6, and it would be helping numerous people.
Guetta’s Dubai gig is the latest edition of his United at Home charity project that has raised over a million dollars for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. He previously performed in Miami, at Top of the Rock Observation Deck, at Rockefeller Center in New York City, and then a New Year’s Eve concert from the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The 53-year-old producer and Dubai resident got candid with Gulf News about spending time with family, getting the COVID-19 vaccine and how badly he wants to go on tour again...
How does it feel to be back in Dubai to perform at the top of the Burj Al Arab?
It’s fantastic. I started this project United at Home in Miami. Then I did Top of the Rock in New York City. I keep growing... the Louvre Museum in Paris, and now this iconic place. The building is famous [worldwide] and very iconic. So, we really made the best out of it. When you see the show, the production is really insane. So yes, I’m very excited.
How was your trip down here and how have you been spending your time in Dubai?
I’m having a great time here. It’s probably the best place to be in the world right now. Because unfortunately everything is closed [around the world], but here there’s a little bit of a social life. Things are under control, which is better for everyone. There is still possibility to go to restaurants and to see friends.
Speaking of the Louvre concert. What was it like performing at such an iconic venue and not having a crowd in front of you?
That’s the problem we’re having at the moment but at the same time I feel like fans have been so incredible with me all these years. I’ve received a lot, so now I feel like I need to give back. And I think it’s important in this moment not only that we are collecting money to help the people in need during COVID, but also simply to entertain people that are home and help them go through a difficult time and show them that life is not over. That’s what I’m thinking of when I’m playing. And I’m really thinking of people that are dancing in their homes safely.
Tell me a bit about your charity project and how it came about.
To be honest, it was completely improvised. It was during the month of March, during the first confinement, I was in Miami and I was like ‘I wanna party, I wanna DJ’. We organised this in five days. It was never meant to be such a huge project. But then we realised we raised $1.5 million [Dh5.5 million] to help people in need. We gave millions of meals in Florida. We had 50 million people watching the show on social media. This is special. There is really a demand. So after the success of this event we decided to make it grow.
Is this concept something you’d continue even after the pandemic ends?
Yes, absolutely. I’m happy that I can do a little bit of charity. Something that is helping people. Usually I am always so busy. I always regretted that I couldn’t spend more time doing something... Normally my life is so hectic, I’m taking a plane every day. So this time, like everybody else, I was home doing nothing and being bored. And I started to think how could I use my energy?
Is this a life lesson for you during the pandemic?
Of course, I think like everybody else I thought about my priorities. It was an opportunity to spend more time with my family, which was nice. And yes, doing something to help people. At the same time, I gotta be honest, I called my agent yesterday and was like ‘listen I’ve been very patient but I really miss being on stage and I need some real people in front of me.’
So I think I’ll keep doing United at Home but it’s not like I’m going to stop doing concerts.
In your professional opinion, what do you think the future of live concerts is?
It’s funny because I get this question a lot. People are wondering if it’s going to go back to normal. What I think is actually quite the opposite. I feel like it’s going to be the craziest party year of all time, the history of the world. Because there’s been so much frustration and need to party, I think the minute we are open, when everyone is vaccinated and we can start a normal life again, it’s going to be one year of non-stop partying.
Are you going to be taking the vaccine? Have you taken it?
I did the first shot already. I’m very happy. I feel very blessed to be here in Dubai and be able to do it.
Talking about everyone going into party mode. What is one of the first things you’re going to do when we get the all-clear after the pandemic?
I told my kids already. I said, ‘listen, enjoy my company. When this is over I’m on the road non-stop’.
So it’s back to touring.
Oh, yeah! Because I’ve missed it so much.
There's a big population of Indians in Dubai. So I’m going to ask for your Indian fans in the UAE, would you do a Bollywood collaboration?
That would be interesting actually. It’s funny because I was talking about India not a long time ago and I was saying to my manager... because you know we’ve been going from West to East, it would be amazing to do the next show in India.
I was taking to my friend about this interview, and she was saying that you should perform at the Taj Mahal.
That’s exactly what I said to my manager! Wow.
What have been some of your favourite music collaborations over the year?
There have been many as an artist but also as a producer. Like, as a producer... ‘I Gotta Feeling’ with Black Eyes Peas and, you might not know this, but I did Ariana Grande’s ‘One Last Time’... I think as a producer those are probably two of my favourite records that I’ve done. As an artist there are so many. [It was] amazing to work to with Akon, working with will.i.am, Sia is probably my favourite artist in the world. Anyone that is a genius songwriter has my admiration.
Don’t miss it!
The pre-recorded DJ set will be streamed at 6pm on February 6 on David Guetta’s social media and YouTube channel. Funds raised will go towards Unicef and Dubai Cares’ Education Uninterrupted campaign that supports students and teachers who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.