DJ Blissaka Marwan Parham al Awadhi, 30, Emirati, DJ and TV presenter
DJ Bliss might just be Dubai’s hardest-working creative. If he’s not spinning at a club or event as part of his company Bliss Inc Entertainment, he’s presenting TV show That’s Entertainment on Dubai One (he sure likes to entertain!). If he’s not playing or hosting, he’s producing his own pop-R&B tracks, as with last September’s ‘Everything About You’. And if he’s not recording, he’s all over social media, tweeting to his 23,615 followers and posting for the 18,813 people who like his fan page (those were the numbers at time of going to press, anyway – they’re no doubt higher by now). But what drives this unstoppable local muso? Is there another man behind the tweets? Is Marwan the same person as DJ Bliss? Style caught up with him, in his most creative space, to find out.
Where in Dubai do you feel most creative?
It would be my studio. As soon as I close the door the room transforms into my own world: all my equipment, laptops and instruments are in there, and I hang a little sign on the door, saying ‘don’t disturb’. Sometimes I sit in there for hours working on upcoming projects and lose track of time.
What else helps to boost your creativity?
A good morning jog through Jumeirah helps a lot and pumps me up for the day.
Do you think Dubai has become more creative over the years?
Definitely! In recent years people’s talents have been more recognised in the UAE through the media and social media. Social media has been a great platform to create awareness of who’s doing what and to get people talking. I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people in the past two or three years and try to push them to make their voices heard.
Who else do you think is shaping Dubai’s style right now?
The credit has to go to the bloggers who are putting in so much effort to keep their posts relevant and up to date. They’re out at every launch, fashion show, music event or party and create a huge amount of awareness of what’s happening in Dubai internationally.
What’s your next project?
My second international DJ tour is coming up in June, which is starting to look really exciting. I’ll be performing in countries I’ve never been to before so I’m a little nervous. Then we’re expanding my new Dubai One TV show, That’s Entertainment. Our club night, 411 Saturdays, has some plans too, but I’ll keep those to myself…
At what time of the day do you feel most creative?
Unfortunately it’s usually in the middle of the night just before I go to sleep.
What’s you game plan? Where do you want to be in five years?
I never really was one for long-term game plans. I usually like planning for now and the immediate future. Saying that, I set myself a lot of goals and I always have a to-do list. If I really had to say where I want to be in five years, I’d say at the top of my game – I hope to continue travelling the world to show them what kind of talent we have in my home town of Dubai.
What drives you?
My passion for my art. I love what I do and I always strive to not only be at the top of my game but also be better.
How does Marwan differ from DJ Bliss?
They essentially are the same people, but I guess a few people (especially close friends) notice a difference. I’d say I’m Marwan by Day and DJ Bliss by night.
On average, how many tweets do you send a day?
I’d say anywhere between 10 and 30, depending on the day, depending on my mood and depending on how good the news is that day.
Do you ever worry about overexposure?
Yes and no. There are a lot of different projects going on at any one time, such as TV, DJ tours, MC events, awards shows and so on, so the exposure is never focused in one area.
Do you ever worry about burning out?
Yes I do. I try to avoid it by making sure I have a couple of days off every month where I can switch off my phone and get out of the city.
What’s your favourite store in Dubai?
That’s too difficult! I love Virgin Megastore, where I can check out the Beats by Dr Dre products, BlackBerrys and Apple gadgets, and update myself on the latest albums.
How would you describe your style?
I love my basic white T-shirts, white Adidas Originals trainers, New Era cap and True Religion jeans, but I need those Gucci touches once in a while to keep it classic.
Who’s the most stylish person you know?
US rapper Swizz Beats, hands down. He’s always one step ahead. Kanye is great too, but often very difficult to pull off.
Who is your idol?
One person who I do watch a lot to get tips from is US TV presenter Ryan Seacrest. He isn’t so much my idol , but someone who I see and learn from, both as a TV/radio host and businessman.