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- Interview with Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons who will perform at Du Arena on Saturday. He doesn’t agree with the suggestion that Mumford and Sons’ unexpected success is down to a reaction to a pop landscape dominated by studio-manicured songs and the juggernaut of dance music. “It's hard for me to accept that, because I guess it would be reducing what we've done,” he says. “In some ways if we were just a part of a reaction, we could've been any band. But I do take your point in that there is the hunger for experiences these days, that people just wanted to actually go and feel and experience things live, and we've built our career on the premise that we are a live band.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Interview with Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons who will perform at Du Arena on Saturday. He doesn’t agree with the suggestion that Mumford and Sons’ unexpected success is down to a reaction to a pop landscape dominated by studio-manicured songs and the juggernaut of dance music. “It& #39;s hard for me to accept that, because I guess it would be reducing what we& #39;ve done,” he says. “In some ways if we were just a part of a reaction, we could& #39;ve been any band. But I do take your point in that there is the hunger for experiences these days, that people just wanted to actually go and feel and experience things live, and we& #39;ve built our career on the premise that we are a live band.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Interview with Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons who will perform at Du Arena on Saturday. He doesn’t agree with the suggestion that Mumford and Sons’ unexpected success is down to a reaction to a pop landscape dominated by studio-manicured songs and the juggernaut of dance music. “It's hard for me to accept that, because I guess it would be reducing what we've done,” he says. “In some ways if we were just a part of a reaction, we could've been any band. But I do take your point in that there is the hunger for experiences these days, that people just wanted to actually go and feel and experience things live, and we've built our career on the premise that we are a live band.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Three years ago today I had the opportunity interview The Who's Roger Daltrey. "When you come from a poor background and you want something so bad, it is very hard to hold people back from their dreams. For me, it goes back to before the band. I was a bright kid but I was never comfortable at school. I went to this academic school and I was eventually kicked out, and as I was leaving, I remember the headmaster looking at me and said: “You will never make anything of your life” – and I turned around and said: “Oh, yeah, I will show you.” Looking back I really have to thank him for that."
- Three years ago today I had the opportunity interview The Who& #39;s Roger Daltrey. "When you come from a poor background and you want something so bad, it is very hard to hold people back from their dreams. For me, it goes back to before the band. I was a bright kid but I was never comfortable at school. I went to this academic school and I was eventually kicked out, and as I was leaving, I remember the headmaster looking at me and said: “You will never make anything of your life” – and I turned around and said: “Oh, yeah, I will show you.” Looking back I really have to thank him for that."
- Three years ago today I had the opportunity interview The Who's Roger Daltrey. "When you come from a poor background and you want something so bad, it is very hard to hold people back from their dreams. For me, it goes back to before the band. I was a bright kid but I was never comfortable at school. I went to this academic school and I was eventually kicked out, and as I was leaving, I remember the headmaster looking at me and said: “You will never make anything of your life” – and I turned around and said: “Oh, yeah, I will show you.” Looking back I really have to thank him for that."
- 5 fav reads for @thenationaluae Hail to the Chief by Ed McBain (1973) If you think you don’t like reading, it means you haven’t found the right book. Such was the case with me, till I discovered this gem in the school library. Released in 1973 as part of his celebrated police procedural series of novels, I remember being hooked by how “adult” the story was with its angry motorcycle gangs and petty criminals. This book set me on the path to becoming a voracious reader. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X (1965) In 2004, I dedicated six months to travel, and despite what I told everyone, I was overwhelmed. There is no greater clarion call than the autobiography of the late African-American activist Malcom X. He spoke of his experiences, joys and regrets and the responsibility of being a father and leader with such fierce eloquence that it deeply moved me. How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly (2011) Paul Kelly’s memoir is a revelation. The Aussie singer-songwriter lays it all down in the book, the title referring to a much-loved song, and shows that the artistic process can be as exciting as it is mundane. Penning good songs is hard work, he explains. They need time, patience and living a life that provides you with something to say. A refreshingly honest change from some other memoirs I have read. Heroes by John Pilger (1986) This is the one that made me want to enter the newsroom. Iconic Australian journo John Pilger’s Heroes is about the little people, those unnamed figures you find in the back of blurry photos or documentaries who made a difference and even saved lives. From dissidents in the former Soviet Union, to the women freedom fighters in Eritrea, Heroes is about people making it in difficult circumstances. The Millennium Discourses by Etsko Schuitema (2011) A life affirming gem; the book is in fact a series of transcribed lectures delivered by a South African Sufi sheikh and business consultant on finding balance in our increasingly fast paced lives. There are no wishy-washy sentiments, the thrust of Schuitema’s message is for one to live in the present and to methodically foster new habits to achieve those goals.
- 5 fav reads for @thenationaluae Hail to the Chief by Ed McBain (1973) If you think you don’t like reading, it means you haven’t found the right book. Such was the case with me, till I discovered this gem in the school library. Released in 1973 as part of his celebrated police procedural series of novels, I remember being hooked by how “adult” the story was with its angry motorcycle gangs and petty criminals. This book set me on the path to becoming a voracious reader. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X (1965) In 2004, I dedicated six months to travel, and despite what I told everyone, I was overwhelmed. There is no greater clarion call than the autobiography of the late African-American activist Malcom X. He spoke of his experiences, joys and regrets and the responsibility of being a father and leader with such fierce eloquence that it deeply moved me. How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly (2011) Paul Kelly’s memoir is a revelation. The Aussie singer-songwriter lays it all down in the book, the title referring to a much-loved song, and shows that the artistic process can be as exciting as it is mundane. Penning good songs is hard work, he explains. They need time, patience and living a life that provides you with something to say. A refreshingly honest change from some other memoirs I have read. Heroes by John Pilger (1986) This is the one that made me want to enter the newsroom. Iconic Australian journo John Pilger’s Heroes is about the little people, those unnamed figures you find in the back of blurry photos or documentaries who made a difference and even saved lives. From dissidents in the former Soviet Union, to the women freedom fighters in Eritrea, Heroes is about people making it in difficult circumstances. The Millennium Discourses by Etsko Schuitema (2011) A life affirming gem; the book is in fact a series of transcribed lectures delivered by a South African Sufi sheikh and business consultant on finding balance in our increasingly fast paced lives. There are no wishy-washy sentiments, the thrust of Schuitema’s message is for one to live in the present and to methodically foster new habits to achieve those goals.
- 5 fav reads for @thenationaluae Hail to the Chief by Ed McBain (1973) If you think you don’t like reading, it means you haven’t found the right book. Such was the case with me, till I discovered this gem in the school library. Released in 1973 as part of his celebrated police procedural series of novels, I remember being hooked by how “adult” the story was with its angry motorcycle gangs and petty criminals. This book set me on the path to becoming a voracious reader. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Malcolm X (1965) In 2004, I dedicated six months to travel, and despite what I told everyone, I was overwhelmed. There is no greater clarion call than the autobiography of the late African-American activist Malcom X. He spoke of his experiences, joys and regrets and the responsibility of being a father and leader with such fierce eloquence that it deeply moved me. How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly (2011) Paul Kelly’s memoir is a revelation. The Aussie singer-songwriter lays it all down in the book, the title referring to a much-loved song, and shows that the artistic process can be as exciting as it is mundane. Penning good songs is hard work, he explains. They need time, patience and living a life that provides you with something to say. A refreshingly honest change from some other memoirs I have read. Heroes by John Pilger (1986) This is the one that made me want to enter the newsroom. Iconic Australian journo John Pilger’s Heroes is about the little people, those unnamed figures you find in the back of blurry photos or documentaries who made a difference and even saved lives. From dissidents in the former Soviet Union, to the women freedom fighters in Eritrea, Heroes is about people making it in difficult circumstances. The Millennium Discourses by Etsko Schuitema (2011) A life affirming gem; the book is in fact a series of transcribed lectures delivered by a South African Sufi sheikh and business consultant on finding balance in our increasingly fast paced lives. There are no wishy-washy sentiments, the thrust of Schuitema’s message is for one to live in the present and to methodically foster new habits to achieve those goals.
- Jennifer Lopez performs tonight at Dubai's Autism Rocks Arena. I had a chance to throw her a few questions before a 2015 show in Morocco. She was fun and down to earth. That diva ish is for the concert promoters. With the press she is Jenny from the block. Born in a gritty neighbourhood in the New York borough of The Bronx, Lopez credits her mother for instilling the tough work ethic that saw Lopez rise from a backing dancer for New Kids on The Block and Janet Jackson in the early 1990s to her present standing as a pop star and fashion icon. “The Bronx is a place where you wouldn’t necessarily think you would have the brightest future. Especially for a Puerto Rican woman in the United States. But what was great for my upbringing was that I had a mum who told me that I could accomplish anything and to find my own passion,” she said. “And that’s what my advice has been to others: to find what your passion is and work very hard at it. That is really the secret to success. There is no magic wand or a secret passageway, that doesn’t exist. I work harder than the next person in my business and I won’t let up.”
- Jennifer Lopez performs tonight at Dubai& #39;s Autism Rocks Arena. I had a chance to throw her a few questions before a 2015 show in Morocco. She was fun and down to earth. That diva ish is for the concert promoters. With the press she is Jenny from the block. Born in a gritty neighbourhood in the New York borough of The Bronx, Lopez credits her mother for instilling the tough work ethic that saw Lopez rise from a backing dancer for New Kids on The Block and Janet Jackson in the early 1990s to her present standing as a pop star and fashion icon. “The Bronx is a place where you wouldn’t necessarily think you would have the brightest future. Especially for a Puerto Rican woman in the United States. But what was great for my upbringing was that I had a mum who told me that I could accomplish anything and to find my own passion,” she said. “And that’s what my advice has been to others: to find what your passion is and work very hard at it. That is really the secret to success. There is no magic wand or a secret passageway, that doesn’t exist. I work harder than the next person in my business and I won’t let up.”
- Jennifer Lopez performs tonight at Dubai's Autism Rocks Arena. I had a chance to throw her a few questions before a 2015 show in Morocco. She was fun and down to earth. That diva ish is for the concert promoters. With the press she is Jenny from the block. Born in a gritty neighbourhood in the New York borough of The Bronx, Lopez credits her mother for instilling the tough work ethic that saw Lopez rise from a backing dancer for New Kids on The Block and Janet Jackson in the early 1990s to her present standing as a pop star and fashion icon. “The Bronx is a place where you wouldn’t necessarily think you would have the brightest future. Especially for a Puerto Rican woman in the United States. But what was great for my upbringing was that I had a mum who told me that I could accomplish anything and to find my own passion,” she said. “And that’s what my advice has been to others: to find what your passion is and work very hard at it. That is really the secret to success. There is no magic wand or a secret passageway, that doesn’t exist. I work harder than the next person in my business and I won’t let up.”
- Over the course of six albums, Taylor Swift has transitioned from burgeoning country music talent to stadium-slaying pop queen. Such trajectories come at a price, however. In her dazzling new album Reputation, Swift examines the various aspects of growing up in public, from the albatross of being viewed as a wholesome role model to seeking mental and emotional balance among the whirlwind of paparazzi and social media attention. To accommodate some of Swift’s most introspective sets of lyrics yet, her team of producers - including Swedish pop-meisters Max Martin and Shellback - provide her with a sonic landscape that is often dark, broody and claustrophobic. Like its three-year-old predecessor 1989, Swift’s new release falls short of classic status however, due to its bloated tracklist. With 15 songs on offer, the album sags with a few numbers finding Swift on automatic pilot. Fortunately, it doesn’t detract from what is overall another bar-raising release by Swift. With Reputation, she cements her standing as one of her generation’s best pop-smiths. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Over the course of six albums, Taylor Swift has transitioned from burgeoning country music talent to stadium-slaying pop queen. Such trajectories come at a price, however. In her dazzling new album Reputation, Swift examines the various aspects of growing up in public, from the albatross of being viewed as a wholesome role model to seeking mental and emotional balance among the whirlwind of paparazzi and social media attention. To accommodate some of Swift’s most introspective sets of lyrics yet, her team of producers - including Swedish pop-meisters Max Martin and Shellback - provide her with a sonic landscape that is often dark, broody and claustrophobic. Like its three-year-old predecessor 1989, Swift’s new release falls short of classic status however, due to its bloated tracklist. With 15 songs on offer, the album sags with a few numbers finding Swift on automatic pilot. Fortunately, it doesn’t detract from what is overall another bar-raising release by Swift. With Reputation, she cements her standing as one of her generation’s best pop-smiths. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Over the course of six albums, Taylor Swift has transitioned from burgeoning country music talent to stadium-slaying pop queen. Such trajectories come at a price, however. In her dazzling new album Reputation, Swift examines the various aspects of growing up in public, from the albatross of being viewed as a wholesome role model to seeking mental and emotional balance among the whirlwind of paparazzi and social media attention. To accommodate some of Swift’s most introspective sets of lyrics yet, her team of producers - including Swedish pop-meisters Max Martin and Shellback - provide her with a sonic landscape that is often dark, broody and claustrophobic. Like its three-year-old predecessor 1989, Swift’s new release falls short of classic status however, due to its bloated tracklist. With 15 songs on offer, the album sags with a few numbers finding Swift on automatic pilot. Fortunately, it doesn’t detract from what is overall another bar-raising release by Swift. With Reputation, she cements her standing as one of her generation’s best pop-smiths. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- A chat with Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills. His career is inextricably linked to the Roland TR-909. A vintage electronic drum machine produced from 1983 to 1985, the instrument was considered groundbreaking on its release, with its mix of analogue and digital samples and its ability to manipulate the sounds produced. Mills’s prowess on the machine allowed him to coax a range of sounds both futuristic yet natural that went on to influence a generation of dance and hip-hop producers. Indeed, superstar rapper and fellow Detroit native Eminem labelled one of Mills’s solo side projects, The Wizard, as a key influence in his growth as an artist. “My approach comes in that I came from a hip-hop background where I was not just spinning records but also playing the turntables. I wanted to try to play the machine like it was a real drum set and that guided my movement, to make it sound like real drums,” Mills says. “Once I got into it that’s when I really began to master it.” Mills performs as part of the Micro Mutek Arab Emirates 2017 festival at the W Dubai Hotel this weekend. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationalae
- A chat with Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills. His career is inextricably linked to the Roland TR-909. A vintage electronic drum machine produced from 1983 to 1985, the instrument was considered groundbreaking on its release, with its mix of analogue and digital samples and its ability to manipulate the sounds produced. Mills’s prowess on the machine allowed him to coax a range of sounds both futuristic yet natural that went on to influence a generation of dance and hip-hop producers. Indeed, superstar rapper and fellow Detroit native Eminem labelled one of Mills’s solo side projects, The Wizard, as a key influence in his growth as an artist. “My approach comes in that I came from a hip-hop background where I was not just spinning records but also playing the turntables. I wanted to try to play the machine like it was a real drum set and that guided my movement, to make it sound like real drums,” Mills says. “Once I got into it that’s when I really began to master it.” Mills performs as part of the Micro Mutek Arab Emirates 2017 festival at the W Dubai Hotel this weekend. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationalae
- A chat with Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills. His career is inextricably linked to the Roland TR-909. A vintage electronic drum machine produced from 1983 to 1985, the instrument was considered groundbreaking on its release, with its mix of analogue and digital samples and its ability to manipulate the sounds produced. Mills’s prowess on the machine allowed him to coax a range of sounds both futuristic yet natural that went on to influence a generation of dance and hip-hop producers. Indeed, superstar rapper and fellow Detroit native Eminem labelled one of Mills’s solo side projects, The Wizard, as a key influence in his growth as an artist. “My approach comes in that I came from a hip-hop background where I was not just spinning records but also playing the turntables. I wanted to try to play the machine like it was a real drum set and that guided my movement, to make it sound like real drums,” Mills says. “Once I got into it that’s when I really began to master it.” Mills performs as part of the Micro Mutek Arab Emirates 2017 festival at the W Dubai Hotel this weekend. For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationalae
- Alf Leila wa Leila by Um Kulthoum remains a pinnacle of the classical Arabic music form called Tarab. Egyptian master composer Baligh Hamdi’s orchestral arrangements undulate from meditative moments to propulsive flourishes. Kulthum’s crystalline vocals are dynamic; in one moment she battles with the yearning strings, while in other parts she is resigned to a hushed intimacy as she details the vagaries of love. Indeed, Alf Leila wa Leila’s lyrics are full of quotable lines pertaining to matters of the heart; the most popular being the starry-eyed declaration: “What is life, but a night like tonight.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Alf Leila wa Leila by Um Kulthoum remains a pinnacle of the classical Arabic music form called Tarab. Egyptian master composer Baligh Hamdi’s orchestral arrangements undulate from meditative moments to propulsive flourishes. Kulthum’s crystalline vocals are dynamic; in one moment she battles with the yearning strings, while in other parts she is resigned to a hushed intimacy as she details the vagaries of love. Indeed, Alf Leila wa Leila’s lyrics are full of quotable lines pertaining to matters of the heart; the most popular being the starry-eyed declaration: “What is life, but a night like tonight.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Alf Leila wa Leila by Um Kulthoum remains a pinnacle of the classical Arabic music form called Tarab. Egyptian master composer Baligh Hamdi’s orchestral arrangements undulate from meditative moments to propulsive flourishes. Kulthum’s crystalline vocals are dynamic; in one moment she battles with the yearning strings, while in other parts she is resigned to a hushed intimacy as she details the vagaries of love. Indeed, Alf Leila wa Leila’s lyrics are full of quotable lines pertaining to matters of the heart; the most popular being the starry-eyed declaration: “What is life, but a night like tonight.” For details go to www.thenational.ae and @thenationaluae
- Six year ago today: a chat with The Cult's chilled frontman Ian Astbury. We met backstage and from what I recall the room was a cross between a meditation space and a romantic restaurant. Over candles and fruit we discussed The Cult's enduring career: “As you evolve through the years the audience changes. It is just endearing to walk into a room and the crowd is full and engaged and they are there for you. That still strikes me. It has a very profound effect on me. It makes me want to do my best when performing.”
- Six year ago today: a chat with The Cult& #39;s chilled frontman Ian Astbury. We met backstage and from what I recall the room was a cross between a meditation space and a romantic restaurant. Over candles and fruit we discussed The Cult& #39;s enduring career: “As you evolve through the years the audience changes. It is just endearing to walk into a room and the crowd is full and engaged and they are there for you. That still strikes me. It has a very profound effect on me. It makes me want to do my best when performing.”
- Six year ago today: a chat with The Cult's chilled frontman Ian Astbury. We met backstage and from what I recall the room was a cross between a meditation space and a romantic restaurant. Over candles and fruit we discussed The Cult's enduring career: “As you evolve through the years the audience changes. It is just endearing to walk into a room and the crowd is full and engaged and they are there for you. That still strikes me. It has a very profound effect on me. It makes me want to do my best when performing.”

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