Award-winning Dubai DJ and Canadian rapper collaborate
DJ Bliss spent the closing days of 2012 tweeting his highlights of the year – among them, we’re proud to say, his club night 411 Saturdays winning ‘Best Urban Night’ at our Music & Bightlife Awards in March. But so far it looks as though 2013 could be an even better year for the Emirati DJ, starting with the release of his first major single and video, ‘Let it Go’. Featuring vocals from rapper Kardinal Offishall (‘Canada’s hip-hop ambassador’), the video is being touted as the first major tie-up between a UAE artist and an international act. When the tune was launched in January at a special edition of 411, British rapper Jay Sean stopped by at People by Crystal to show his support. The single was set for general release as we went to press, so to celebrate we sat down with both Bliss, aka 31-year-old Marwan Parham, and Kardi, aka 36-year-old Jason D Harrow.
How did you guys first meet? What were your first impressions of each other? Bliss: We met in 2009 when Kardi came out to Dubai with Akon for a concert. We’d arranged for him to see the city, and we’ve been friends since. Kardi: Bliss was the first person to bring me to the UAE. He showed me the best time and made sure my first experience of the Middle East was amazing. My first impression of Bliss was he was super-cool – it was clear he was one of the big dogs in Dubai. I was impressed with the way he dealt with me outside of the shows – he was a very personable guy.
Bliss, tell us about how you put the tune together. Bliss: Myself and producer Prince Q had come up with the track about a year ago while experimenting in our studio. A lot of people had been telling me to take my DJ career to the next level, so I decided to put some vocals on the track. After playing it several times we decided we had to have a great international feature, and Kardi was the first person I turned to.
Kardinal, what made you want to work on this tune? Kardi: It’s very simple: when Bliss told me he was working on a project, I was super-excited for him and honoured that he asked me to do it. I was in Atlanta when he sent me the beat and I immediately recorded it and sent it right back to him. For someone like Bliss to go to the next level and start a recording project, I know how significant that can be, so I wanted it to be something that represented us and our relationship in terms of music, and also something that represented where he’s from.
What was it like to shoot the video in Dubai? Bliss: One of my very good friends, David Zennie, has become a legendary music director in this region. I played ‘Let It Go’ to him a couple of times and he immediately agreed to direct the video. We started the shoot at Rixos The Palm, followed by a beautiful drive through Dubai, and ended up at People by Crystal. Kardi: It was the best of everything, from the best suites to the best cars to the best cameras and crew. The one thing about Dubai is that everyone really prides themselves on having top-of-the-line everything, which makes the experience even more amazing. The shoot was really fun and everybody was on top of his or her game. Sometimes shoots can be long, boring and stressful, but this shoot had a lot of laughs, jokes and an overall good time.
Would you work together again? Kardi: Of course! If there’s anything Bliss needs me for, I will always be there. There are a lot of people I meet all over the world, but Bliss is an A+ guy. His vibe is one that you want to be around: I believe this is only the beginning of great things to come for both Bliss and me. Bliss: Of course – this is only the beginning!
Bliss, who’s next on the collaborations list? Bliss: I’m not sure if I should spill all just yet, but there are some great collaborations coming up. If you’ve paid attention to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts, you probably already have an idea… ‘Let it Go’ is out now. www.djbliss.com.