The 16th edition of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival kicks off on Wednesday night at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, bringing three eclectic musical acts to town. The line-up begins with Duran Duran on opening night, followed by John Legend on Thursday and Ricky Martin on Friday. Ahead of the show, get to know the artists with tabloid!’s handy refresher.
Opening act: Renegade Brass Band
English new wave and synth-pop band Duran Duran will perform on opening night of Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival. The Birmingham outfit consists of Simon Le Bon (vocals), John Taylor (bass), Nick Rhodes (keyboard) and Roger Taylor (drums).
Since their 1978 debut, Duran Duran have released 14 studio albums over the span of four decades. Their highest charting hits include The Reflex, A View to A Kill, and The Wild Boys. Their most recent album, Paper Gods, released in 2015.
The band began on the fringes of the New Romantic scene. It was an eccentric and glitzy movement that emerged in nightclubs of the UK, characterised by its outlandish, glam rock fashion. However, Duran Duran began to curate a more polished image, capturing a more mainstream audience.
The band has since been awarded several accolades, including two Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement award from the MTV VMA’s, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, keyboardist Rhodes commented on the upbeat nature of their live performances. “I feel grateful that we’re not one of those bands that just wrote a lot of really miserable, depressing songs. ’Cause that would make looking at the audience not nearly as much fun,” he said.
=Duran Duran’s name is inspired by the French sci-fi film Barbarella, which included a character named Dr. Durand Durand.
*Tickets to see Duran Duran begin from Dh342.
Opening act: China Moses
Pop crooner John Legend is back in Dubai three years after his 2015 performance at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival. This time around, Legend will headline the second of three days.
The singer-songwriter, 39, began his career in 2000, but only scored his first No. 1 single 13 years later. The romantic ballad All of Me, which Legend had written about his now-wife Chrissy Teigen, shot to the top of the charts in America. The track was from Legend’s fourth studio album, Love in the Future.
Legend won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2015. This, for his track Glory with rapper Common, from the soundtrack to the civil rights film Selma.
“[Common] gave me some ideas of what the song should be about, and title ideas, and one of them was Glory. I just ran with that idea — wrote the chorus, bridge and piano part — and then I sent it back to him … We weren’t thinking of awards or anything like that,” Legend told tabloid! in 2015.
Legend’s most recent album, Darkness and Light, released in 2016.
The singer is also known for his comedic posts on social media alongside wife Teigen, whom he met on the set of his 2007 music video Stereo. The pair have a daughter together — Luna Simone Stephens — and are currently expecting their second child.
*Tickets to see John Legend begin from Dh394.
Opening act: Vera Ciocca
Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin will close the festival on Friday, headlining the third and final night.
Martin, born Enrique Martin Morales, began his career at age 12 as part of the ever-evolving boy band Menudo.
He launched his solo career in the 80s, and became pivotal to the popularisation of Latin music in America. Martin performed Cup of Life at the Grammy Awards in 1999. Subsequently, he released Livin’ La Vida Loca, one of the best-selling singles of all time. The track helped launch Latin pop worldwide.
Some of Martin’s most globally recognisable songs include She Bangs, Maria and Shake Your Bon-Bon. His self-titled English debut became one of the best-selling albums of all time.
Martin has released ten studio albums as a solo artist, both in English and Spanish. Like Duran Duran, he too received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Aside from his music, he’s become known for his philanthropic efforts.
Ten years ago, Puerto Rico declared that August 31 would be International Ricky Martin Day. The singer was also awarded Spanish citizenship in 2011, due to his outstanding contribution to the arts.
*Tickets to see Ricky Martin begin from Dh394.
— No outside food will be allowed, but there will be food trucks aplenty for your F&B needs
— There is no dedicated parking at the venue; parking can be found in surrounding areas, but public transport may be more favourable
— Doors open at 6pm, with the first show beginning at 8.30pm
— Tickets will be available at the gate, though availability is not always guaranteed, and buying in advance is recommended
— Children under the age of five can enter the standing area for free, but children above five must avail their own tickets
— Though amateur photography is permitted during the show, the festival’s website advises fans that no audio or video recording is allowed