Beachroad grab a coffee at Bikers Cafe and chat with Danny Aridi. The Canadian / Lebanese singer, songwriter is signed by Universal Music. Danny has been performing for more than 10 years and recently won “Best Artist” with Virgin after placing first in their talent competition out of 167 artists across the Middle East and North Africa.
NAME? // Danny Aridi.
PLACE OF BIRTH? // Beirut, Lebanon.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // The first time I got paid for something was when I was busking on the street. It was back in Canada and remember making more than the minimum wage per hour. Perhaps that was the first sign for me when I realized I could actually do this for a living.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Singer-songwriter.
WHERE DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU WANTED TO BE A MUSICIAN? // I realized in High school when I was about 15 years old. I always imagined myself as a musician. Even though I was a quiet and shy child it was always my dream to perform and to share my music with the world.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY? // I love this city. There’s a lot more to it than what fist meets the eye and its amazing to see a city develop so quickly in a matter of years, even months.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO HANG OUT IN DUBAI? // I’m always at Kite beach!
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN DUBAI? // It’s amazing. Growing up here, there were always talented musicians around, but we didn’t have the opportunity/platform to showcase our talent. Nowadays, there are so many venues and initiatives that support local artists.
WHAT COULD IMPROVE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN OUR REGION? // Since I moved back to Dubai I noticed just how much more encouraging and supporting the people here are towards local talent. It’s amazing to see and I hope it continues!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A MUSICIAN AND WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? // Music helped me express myself in ways I could never imagine. One of the main challenges in this industry is you’ll hear 9 “no’s” before you get that one “yes” that could change everything. It taught me a lot. I learned to deal with rejection and focus on improving yourself and never stop learning.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICAL ERA? // 90s-2000s.
WHO WOULD APPEAR IN YOUR DREAM ARTIST FESTIVAL LINE UP, DEAD OR ALIVE? // Amy Winehouse, Ray Charles, Angus and Julia Stone, Drake, Metallica, The Cat Empire, The Beatles.
YOUR PROUDEST MUSICAL MOMENT? // Winning The Emerging Talent Competition and Virgin Megastore’s Outloud Competition. Winning these competitions, amongst all the talented artists in the region really reassured me that I’m on the right path and I’m so grateful for that. It was a long and tough road but winning these competitions helped me earn the opportunity to have my first CD in stores and sign with Universal Music.
CHOOSE 3 MUSICIANS YOU WOULD LOVE TO DO A TOUR WITH? // John Mayer, John Legend, Jack Johnson.
YOUR 5 DESERT ISLAND RECORDS? // So tough to choose! I think.
WHERE WOULD YOU BUILD YOUR DREAM RECORDING STUDIO? // It would have to be in my dream house, nothing fancy, more of a cozy space where I can be creative and comfortable.
PICK YOUR 5 FAVOURITE ALBUM COVERS // Pink Floyd.
ANY GIGGING OR ONSTAGE MISHAPS? // As musicians, we tend to remember the gigs that went wrong more than our successful ones! I’ve had two occasions where my guitar stopped working because it ran out of batteries midway through my performance. I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t break a string! (yet).
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // Since primary school!
ANY FUTURE PROJECTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? // My album comes out this year, and I’ll be releasing some music videos every few months. I just cant wait to share them!
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // All things art and expression.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Anything that limits my freedom.
IF YOU COULD HAVE A MEAL WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? //
WHO IS YOUR MUSICAL HERO? // John Mayer.
WHAT DOES DUBAI MEAN TO YOU? // I’m so grateful for this city, its people, and everything it’s given me. It holds a special place in my heart.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Drawing on a colouring book with my brother, I must have been about 4.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // There are too many to choose from, I admire people from all fields who follow their passion, stick to their character, and are true to their morals along the way.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // I wrote them a song.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR GRAND CHILDREN? // Express yourself, be considerate of others, ambitious, and be grateful for what you have.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I cant sit still for too long. I have to move, it can get annoying.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // A sense of entitlement.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOUR PART IN A MOVIE? // Steve Buscemi.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // Oh Wonder.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // The Secret.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? The Power of Now.
FAVOURITE FILM? // The Lion King.
FAVOURITE CLOTHING / FASHION BRAND RIGHT NOW? All Saints.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Listening to passionate people and learning from their experiences and personal stories.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I couldn’t hold my excitement and I almost got run. over by car while running to Toy’s r Us when I was about 10. Luckily my brother was there to pull me at the last second as my arm smacked the windshield of a car.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Italy.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // I’m not a fan clubs or loud lounges.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Ordering food and watching a tv series/documentary at home!
WHY DUBAI? // This City made me who I am, I love it.
WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS OUTSIDE OF MUSIC? // I love sports and all things art!
FAVOURITE FOOD? // Thai cuisine.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Rural.
FISH OR CHIPS? // Chips.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Being tickled.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // Onions.
FINALLY, YOUR MESSAGE? // I would love it if people checked out my new single coming out on February 9th. I also want to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey so far and to encourage readers to check out local events and support local musicians and artists in their area!