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Dubai-based musician, Hamdan Al Abri performs during the opening of 1915 at Deira City Centre Mall. PHOTO: GULF NEWS ARCHIVE Image Credit:

An artist from the UAE could be flying the Emirati flag at the MTV European Music Awards in Amsterdam next month.

Emirati Soul singer Hamdan Al Abri and Dubai-based rock band Juliana Down have been nominated for the Best Middle East and North Africa Act at the annual awards, along with Moroccan singer Ahmad Soultan, American-Egyptian songstress Lara Scandar and Saudi Arabia’s Rakan.

One artist from the five will be selected via votes online, which opened last night, with the winner announced on November 1. That regional act will then travel to Amsterdam to battle for the Worldwide Act Award on the main awards night. “It’s amazing to be nominated, especially along with the guys from Juliana Down who are all good friends,” said Al Abri, who, along with his now-disbanded band, Abri, were nominated for the same category in 2008. “It’s always nice to know your hard work has been recognised and appreciated.”

Al Abri, who recently released his solo EP, will also perform on November 1 with another band Bull Funk Zoo at the Yasalam Beats on the Beach on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Juliana Down, made up of two main members of Lebanese origin: Dia Hassan (lead singer) and Sari Ramadan (guitarist), is one of the UAE’s most recognisable bands. Following the release of their debut album in 2006, the band has opened for a number of international artists including Muse, Guns N’ Roses, and Maroon 5.

Moroccan heartthrob Soultan was the regional representative at the EMAs last year which were held in Frankfurt, and which tabloid! attended. But it was Chinese singer Han Geng who won in the tough category which included the likes of Rihanna representing North America.

The nominees list for the annual awards ceremony, which celebrates the best artists from around the world, is dominated by Justin Timberlake this year, who, along with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are in the lead with five nominations each. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke are each up for four awards.

Ron Burgundy, the character made famous by Will Ferrell in the 2004 comedy Anchorman, will host the show, to be held at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on November 10, and will be broadcast live on MTV.

MTV said performers will be announced at a later date. Last year’s performers list included Taylor Swift, fun., No Doubt and Muse among other.

Voting is now open on me.mtvema.com. The MTV EMAs will air live in the UAE on November 11 at 2am on MTV.