Tash is a man of contradictions. A Western-hyped musician playing Arabic-infused music. A pop star who hates nightclubs. The first artist to be signed locally by Sony Middle East, he was born and lives in London. As Tash prepares to play alongside Ne-Yo and Taio Cruz at Atelier Live on April 6, we found out more from the 25-year-old singer.
His real name is Sertac Nidai – with the ‘c’ prounced as a ‘sh’ in Turkish.
‘I’ve been called Tash since my secondary school days. It’s short for my full name, Sertaç which was always mispronounced while I was growing up and it just ended up sticking!’
He’s under quite a lot of pressure as the new unofficial face of Sony Middle East.
‘I’d be lying if I said that I never feel the pressure but it’s important for me to remember to just try to give the best I can possibly give and focus on the love I have for what I’m doing rather than worry about things. I don’t expect everybody to like my music. Any negative feedback or criticism will always be appreciated and used as an opportunity to try to reach out to wider audiences, in the attempt that they’ll be able to appreciate my movement. Even if they don’t I’m still thankful for the time they take to listen. If everyone liked me it could encourage complacency.’
But he lives in London. Go figure.
‘So I grew up in southeast London in a multicultural area and always had a love for learning about new cultures, languages and music. I think the UAE is an ideal place to promote what I’m doing. In Dubai, there’s such a mixture of nationalities from both Eastern and Western places that it’s a great location to launch something that musically fuses the East and West – that’s how I view the music I make. I was lucky enough to have Sony Middle East take a shine to my material and I am truly grateful for being given the opportunity to share what I do on such a large scale.’
But he stills gets to Dubai regularly.
‘It’s amazing being in Dubai, it’s a truly unique place. I love walking along The Walk at JBR, seeing the cool buildings and especially visiting the old town. I’m looking forward to returning and maybe catching up on the things I missed out last time.’
Tash is working on his Arabic.
‘My Arabic is very basic but I am trying to learn. My strongest point right now is the pronunciation and love song vocabulary, but there is still work to be done! The Arabic language has been around me all my life and feels so familiar and comforting in so many ways – I just need to work harder on decoding it now.’
He’s not much of a clubber.
‘Unfortunately I haven’t had enough time to check out Dubai’s nightlife. Generally I’m more of a bar guy rather than a clubber but once in a blue moon I may get the urge to have a mad club night. Maybe some of the Time Out Dubai readers could make a few suggestions?’
His recommendations for a Western audience wanting to explore Arabic music are…
‘My first instinct would be to recommend something that is most similar to the Western feel to ease people in, before the hardcore traditional music of the region such as khaleeji. So I would probably say Amr Diab’s material that has either the more Mediterranean or clubby feel. Also rai’n’b may be a good choice, and Magic System, Cheb Mami… then hopefully this will open the ear to appreciate the beauty of music from legends like Oum Kalthoum and even more.’