Atelier Live Dance Festival

Packed line-up featuring Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis and Taio Cruz Discuss this article

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More than a few heads were turned when the jam-packed line-up of Atelier Live’s Dance Arena festival was announced. Hang on, we said: you’ve got (deep breath) Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis, Jay Sean, Natasha Bedingfield, Taio Cruz, Skylar Grey, Edward Maya and the Sugababes’ Amelle playing on the same night? We’d like to be backstage for this one, please.

Billed as the ‘Middle East’s biggest musical festival’, the event’s name won’t be winning any points for originality. But the greatest surprise is the speed it all happened – the line-up was announced less than a month ago, with the 12-hour all-dayer taking place at Dubai Sports City on Friday April 6. So in preparation for the big day we thumbed up on the line-up (so you don’t have to), and chatted to one of the headliners,
Mr ‘Stereo Love’ Edward Maya.

Ne-Yo
The American R&B star nominally heads this talent-packed bill. He’s been a household name since Billboard-topping 2006 hit ‘So Sick’. So many more hits followed that he was named as the 57th best-selling artist in America in the 2000s – despite only being in the charts for less than half of the decade. He lives a dual personality as songwriter-for-hire Shaffer Smith, and has penned scores of hit records for the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Mary J Blige.

Leona Lewis
Performing in the Middle East for the first time, Simon Cowell’s most successful protégé is the safest thing on the bill. With 20 million album sales under her belt, there can’t be a soul in the audience unfamiliar with mega-hit ‘Bleeding Love’. She told Time Out last year that she’s visited Dubai before, adding, ‘It’s so modern and it’s being built up. It’s amazing to see it happening. I think it would be cool to come back next year and see how far it has come.’ A wish that came true, clearly.

Jay Sean
Urban star Sean became the first Brit to top the US Billboard charts in decades with debut single ‘Down’. Also known for international smash ‘Ride It’, Sean is a repeat visitor to Dubai, whose last gig was at a sweaty Chi in February 2011. At the time he told Time Out: ‘I love Wild Wadi – love it. I also enjoy the Madinat, that’s quite a cool place to have dinner. And that big mall with the ski slope in it.’

Taio Cruz
Cruz is another Brit who’s managed to crack the US, selling 16 million records in just two years off the back of house super-hits ‘Break Your Heart’ and ‘Dynamite’. He’s visited Dubai before – playing N’Dulge last November – but when Time Out asked if it was his first time in the emirate, Cruz said he ‘couldn’t remember’.
Tickets Dhs250-650. 2pm-3am, Friday April 6. Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai Sports City, www.timeouttickets.com

By Rob Garratt
Time Out Dubai,

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Close X The Holy Month of Ramadan started on Sunday, June 29 and will last for one month. During this time live music and DJ sets will stop and opening hours may change at all venues. Please call ahead to confirm details with the outlet.