Music is a powerful force — it has the ability to unite people, celebrate life, tell stories and more. That’s what Dubai-based husband and wife team Kayzar Iam and Verou Poli were doing when they put together their cross-genre pop album ‘The Beast of the Middle East’, which is out now on streaming platforms.
The couple channelled their many years working in the entertainment industry, and their personal frustrations about the COVID-19 pandemic, on the seven-track album that they say is a “token of our love and appreciation” for Dubai.
In an email interview with Gulf News, British-Tunisian producer and rapper Iam and Poli, who is of Czech origin, talk more about their background, the new album and their advice for budding artists.
Both of you have ties to music in some way. How did you get started in your industries — Kayzar Iam as a casting director and Verou Poli as a musician?
Poli: Music was always a big part of my life. At the age of seven, I started competing in music competitions. After a couple of years I attended Prague Conservatory to learn more about music and enhance my skills. I went on to perform with my well-renowned, international country band that performed in over 21 countries. I moved to Dubai almost five years ago. I worked as a professional entertainer with Dubai’s top brands... I also supported my husband in running his entertainment and event agency.
Iam: I developed an interest in dancing at the early age of 14. I discovered that it was something I felt passionately about. I worked on my skill set and went on to become a dancer and musical theatre professional. Then, I went on to win five world championships in dance. After that, I spent most of my professional career in London as an entertainer and business owner... I was also the casting director for Madonna, Katy Perry and Pixie Lott.
What inspired you to start a music career together?
Iam: During the time of the pandemic we started a radio podcast together and sparked the creativity that led to the creation of ‘The Beast Of The Middle East’ album.
Poli: I would be creating beats and Kayzar would have all these ideas as to how we could go about it. Which led us to having discussions about creating original music.
Both of you faced hardships in the pandemic. Did it bring you closer as a couple?
Poli: Yes, the pandemic definitely brought us closer. We were doing our own thing professionally, but the corona times gave us an opportunity to work together and created something of our own.
Iam: With nothing but time on our hands, our creative juices were flowing and we emerged as, what we think, a power couple.
Tell me about the album. What was it like coming up with lyrics and music about Dubai?
Poli: We couldn’t meet up or connect with like-minded individuals. The podcasts helped us to stay in touch via virtual sessions and get to know many more talented artists in the local entertainment industry. And we received a lot of love for the podcasts. Then we started playing around with some tracks and composed some jingles for our clients from our talent agency.
Iam: Some of them were just too catchy that we decided to turn them into tracks and the lyrics were about showing our love and appreciation for Dubai. We have had an amazing journey. It’s been a crazy ride.
What’s your favourite track from the album and why?
Poli: My favourite track is definitely ‘Dubai Hustla’. It paints a small picture of some of the struggles we faced in Dubai and how we overcame them.
Iam: It’s ‘Dubai Hustla’ for me, too! You’ve gotta hustle in order to make it anywhere. No matter where you are. And we have definitely been blessed with all the opportunities in Dubai.
What’s the message you have for aspiring singers/musicians?
Iam: My advice to aspiring singers/musicians and creators is that it doesn’t matter how difficult it seems or the hardships you might face in life. Use you art and talent as a medium to escape the hardships you face and let the creativity take over. And share your talent, love and the passion for it with the world.
Poli: Don’t waste your time trying to develop what others consider to be cool. Make something that you are passionate about. People frequently fail while writing music that they are told to write or that they believe is a “sure thing.” In this business, there is no such thing as a guaranteed thing. However, there will be no regrets if you believe in it.