When it comes to the entertainment industry in Dubai, DJ Bliss, aka Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, is at the forefront. Not only does he present his own Channel 4 FM radio show, ‘Mornings with Marwan and Eve’, he’s the founder of Bliss Inc Entertainment, has his own barbershop, runs The Real Flava booking agency and has acting credits to his name. Having signed to Universal Music MENA earlier this year, he has since released his single, ‘Shining’, which features collaborations with American rapper Mims, known for his 2007 hit ‘This Is Why I’m Hot’ and Kuwaiti artist Daffy. Backed up with a video, the track has exceeded 1.2million views on YouTube. But the 33-year-old Emirati isn’t resting on his laurels just yet and is keen to take his music to the next level.
‘I’m a perfectionist. I think it’s the Gemini in me, I’m always wanting to do so many things,’ he confesses. ‘Being with Universal has definitely opened up new doors for me. I tried to put some stuff out before and sometimes it went unnoticed or it wasn’t as big so I’ve definitely seen the positive impact the label has on the song.’
Growing up in Dubai, talent seems to run in the family for DJ Bliss. His brothers Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi front their own travel show, Peeta Planet while his younger brother is a movie director. ‘I think all of my family are creative people. I was sort of the first one to check out of the conventional companies by DJing.’
Despite only signing to Universal in January, the artist has been DJing since 2005, when he honed his craft at Ministry of Sound in London. While he is well known on Dubai’s urban music scene, playing regularly at 411 Nights at People by Crystal and Hip Hop Chic at Cirque Le Soir, he says he wasn’t always into the genre. ‘I used to play in two different rock bands, as a guitarist and a drummer. I actually listened to a lot of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Greenday, I wasn’t a hip-hop head at all.’
Starting out, he recalls playing UK garage music, looking to DJs like Artful Dodger and MC Neat for inspiration. ‘They played garage and hip-hop and I remember thinking that was pretty cool back then. I try to change my music around all the time,’ he explains.
Since then the talented DJ has carved a successful career in both music and presenting. As the former Dubai One show host of That’s Entertainment, he has interviewed celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Selena Gomez and Nicki Minaj.
Having picked up a few A-list friends over the years, the Dubai-based artist’s upcoming singles will feature collaborations with Grammy Award winning musician Wyclef Jean and the Fugees and Jamaican artist Shaggy. ‘I’ve done a song for Wyclef before and a new song is on the cards. Shaggy I’ve known for years, I went on tour to Australia with him and the song is good. We just need to get the paperwork out of the way and hopefully this will be the next single,’ says DJ Bliss.
And, not content with his Dubai success, the young entrepreneur is setting his sights on the international market. As the first DJ in the MENA region to be signed to booking agency SKAM Artist in the US, this summer will see him complete a tour of the States. ‘I’d like to go as far as I can geographically with my music. I love what I do, it’s not like a job were I have to wake up and then leave when I’m done,’ he says with a smile.
Citing American entertainment mogul Ryan Seacrest as an influencer, he admires his work ethic and ability to juggle roles. ‘I look at Ryan Seacrest and he does so many things. He has his morning radio show, he is presenting American Idol for one more season and he produces the Kardashians’ show. I often think, “How does he do it?” I was trying to do like a David Guetta and a Ryan Seacrest thing in one at the beginning of my career, but it was becoming too difficult,’ he recalls.
The Emirati performer credits his father, who worked in the toy industry, for his business acumen and ability to juggle each of his roles from entrepreneur to recording artist and presenter. ‘I used to work with my dad during summers when I was in high school so I think subconsciously I learnt a lot of business ethics from him. It’s hard for me to let go of things and I’ll always be involved wherever I can. If you’re doing something really well and people appreciate what you do, the results will come to you.’
Having already made his mark in the UAE and with his single on the rise, DJ Bliss is already seeing successful results. Who knows, maybe we have another Ryan Seacrest on our hands.
‘Shining’ is available now on iTunes. www.djbliss.com, Twitter @DJBLISS Instagram @djblissdubai