Ali Emara is an Egyptian-Dubai based hip-hop artist, who writes and sings both in English (as Andeo) and Arabic (as Zulfaqqar Shams). Having a rough start in the music industry, he makes sure his music is not created for materialist gain in mind. He makes music because what he sings is meant to be heard by the masses regardless of the critique – good or bad. In an interview with Barakabits, he shares his passion about music and the impact of some soulful words.
You started out your music career with rock music originally, what made you change your direction towards hip-hop?
As a kid I used to like R & b and Hip-Hop. But considering the topics they have been discussing over the past 10 years, I got disconnected with it. But then I heard there was this example of the original hip hop, where it is used as an engine for social change, where it is a criticism of change. And I realised this is what hip-hop is. I then started writing lyrics and music for it and it was like I have been writing for years.
What is the music scene like in Dubai? And how does it affect the city?
It is a big relief to see where music is at right now, because for a while there it seemed hopeless. Everyone I spoke to when I was growing up – including myself – was contemplating the idea that nothing would happen here. And I credit this change mostly to the poetry scene in Dubai. It has broken down a lot of barriers, which has led to a butterfly effect. It makes you think again about what is possible and what is not. It gives hope not only to the music industry but also helps the city grow emotionally.
What can we look forward to in 2015 from you?
I have an album that I am releasing this year. I am also working on a few short films with Cannonball right now. So right now I am focusing on work and being out there; performing and making connections as much as I possibly can.
Listen to Ali’s music on Soundcloud, and let us know what you think in the comments below!