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Riyadh hosts ‘music camp’ by international DJ to nurture next wave of Saudi talent

RIYADH: An electronic music “boot camp” is organized in Riyadh by an international DJ to nurture local talent and inspire a new generation of Saudi artists.

Afrojack, a Dutch DJ and founder of the WALL Recordings label, joined MDBEAST and Merwas Studio to host WALL Music Camp in the capital from March 14-18.

Organizers say it will take an educational approach to navigate the Saudi music scene, equipping 12 regional artists with the right tools and knowledge to thrive within the industry.

Afrojack, whose real name is Nick van de Wall, told Arab News: “There is a very, very big chance that Saudi Arabia will become the next global music hub.

“Right now, we are in this moment of change. So to be able to empower so many young artists, to give so many people the opportunity to finally take that leap of faith and follow their dreams, become a singer, become a vocalist, become a music producer, become a DJ – now it’s all possible.”

With initiatives led by the Ministry of Culture and its Music Commission, the potential of the Kingdom is what attracts global artists to the region, including the Dutch producer.

Afrojack, whose most recent songs include ‘Shockwave’ and ‘Back To Where We Started’, said: ‘Right now what motivates me the most is the cultural revolution going on and the amount of effort deployed by the country itself to maximize happiness.

“The goal I saw with Merwas and MDLBEAST is that we have to (create) fun for people. This is a unique opportunity where a country, people, culture and music are so aligned. doesn’t happen every day, so being able to help make it happen is an honor for me.

WALL supports local Dutch talent including Chico Rose, Rancido and Chasner on stage. They have now come to Saudi Arabia to do the same.

“The entirety of WALL is solely about creating lasting success for everyone,” Afrojack said.

In collaboration with MDLBEAST Records and arts and entertainment company MERWAS, the WALL Music Camp will offer masterclasses, workshops and studio production sessions led by some of the region’s top producers, including Zaid Nadeem.

Afrojack said, “The key tools that I focus on in this program are the mindset and also the understanding of, if you want to be a producer or a DJ or a singer, it’s an industry. It’s not just about going to the studio or making music for fun.

“That’s a big part of it. There’s also a part of making music that’s focused on your purpose, to define you as a person.

“I always say I’m not the guy to teach you how to be number one – I’m the guy who teaches you how to make a career in the music industry.”

With an abundance of learning resources, both online and through various Saudi initiatives, the music camp focuses on setting the right mindset to harness the greatest creative potential.

Afrojack said the most important thing he teaches is “not necessarily the technical aspects of music, but the technical aspects of creating successful music”.

“To start a career in the music industry, to be able to create something that can reach people, to be able to create a relationship with people, to create fans, to find a position in the international music industry – I trying to teach that and we’ve done very well so far.

Saudi artists Dish Dash, Cosmicat, Malkin and EMAD attended one-on-one masterclasses and studio sessions in Antwerp with Afrojack during previous WALL camps held last July and October.

Afrojack said, “I try… to explain that it’s possible for anyone. Anyone can have the success I had, but there are certain steps to take, and those are the steps we cover.

“I’m not the guy who teaches you how to be number one, I’m the guy who teaches you how to make a career in the music industry.

“You have to stay true to who you are, but at the same time you have to respond to whatever is happening in the world or whatever the consumer would want. What does the listener want to hear?

“If everyone speaks a different language, learn the language and speak the language. Say what you mean.”