Mack-le-e-e-mo-mo-ore

Loads of people are pumped for this coming Friday (April 25th) because Grammy Award Winners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are coming to perform for us at du Arena, Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Although they are relatively new to the industry, since their debut with chart-topping hit “Thrift Shop”, they have taken the world by storm.

Being the music-obsessed chica that I am, any time an artist makes such an impact on the industry, I always like to understand what elements of their music make them so successful. While the performers usually take all the spotlight, it’s often the producers who work behind the scenes that actually create the magic. Ryan Lewis (aside from being pretty hot!) definitely has a magical touch and even Billboard has recognized this, naming him #1 Producer of the Year.

Flash Entertainment interviewed two of the UAE’s most influential producers, Dany Neville (from Radio 1 and Underground Procedures) and Olly Wood (of Hollaphonic) to find out what it is about Ryan Lewis and his music that they find inspiring. I loved their answers so thought I’d share them with you here:

How would you describe the sound Ryan Lewis is creating?

DN: His is sound is uplifting; it’s the ever popular formula of aggressive flow matched with beautiful sounding melodies on the hook. That coupled with a great message, means you can’t go wrong.

OW: It’s Hip Hop in its purest form. The genre’s always been known for sampling tracks and drawing inspiration from a wide variety of music and channeling it into new beats. Ryan Lewis samples everyone from The Killers to Arcade Fire, Shirley Brown to Christina Aguilera.

What is different about his music?

DN: His music is not necessarily different; he delivers it in a way that is unique to him, it is always refreshing to hear artists execute music in a way that reflects their personality, especially in an industry with way to many “try-hards.”

OW: I think its crossing over boundaries between genre specific listeners; because of this, even house heads, Rn’B lovers and classical musicians can find a part of their sound that they like.

Is he using any specific techniques, formulas or technology to create his sound?

DN: His technique is just being true to his surroundings. When it comes to subject matter, production wise, he has formed a great synergy between him and Macklemore, it is always good when an artists has a producer that understands his sound inside out.

OW: I definitely think time and pressure were a major factor in what they have produced, I have immense respect for them being an independent outfit and enjoying as much success as they have.

What can aspiring producers learn from him?

DN: Up and coming producers need to pay attention to how open minded he is with his sounds; there is no formula to any genre of music, if it feels and sounds good, it works.

OW: Don’t imitate, don’t copy and recreate other people’s vibe, channel it into your own and do what come naturally to you. Aspire to move people and get your message across: whether it is love, joy, sadness or suffering, pipe every emotion into what you do and wait… ‘they’ will be moved. I’m sure Ryan Lewis & Macklemore’s sentiment would apply to that.

After reading this, I knew that the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert this weekend is one not to be missed! And if all this wasn’t enough, Wiley AND Rick Ross have been confirmed to be performing too! If you want details on tickets, check out http://www.thinkflash.ae.  See you there! 🙂

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#AUSGotTalent

I had the privilege of being a judge for this years #AUSGotTalent show at the American University of Sharjah this week and oh what a night!

Not only was I blown away by the many talented students at AUS (singers, breakdancers, musicians and even magicians!) but there were a few events that made it an evening I will never forget.

Firstly, I met a girl (who has asked to remain nameless) who DOESN’T OWN A MOBILE PHONE AND DOESN’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA! She lost her phone about a year ago and just realized the freedom she felt by not being ‘connected’ and ‘reachable’ all the time, and now she’s lived a wonderful happy and liberated life for a year! I was so inspired by her because I really feel like we have become so enslaved by our phones, chats, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – whatever it is – that we often miss out on the ‘here and now’. I have noticed that I sleep much later than I plan to simply because I get into bed and get on my phone. I think I will try and take at least a weekend of being ‘phone-free’ and see how that goes.

Speaking of that new Social Media Culture, the second thing I noticed last night was the change in the way we capture the moment. Last year I was also a judge at AUS Got Talent and after the event, several of the students came up to take photos. You know that feeling of asking someone to take a photo for you and worrying that they won’t have the proper photography skills and not get your good angle? Well there seems to be no need to worry about that anymore because last night, no one asked me to take a photo with them. Instead, they came up to me and said “Sheena!!! Selfieeee!!!” and would throw one arm around me and stick the other arm out with their smartphone at the end of it and *click* – moment captured and ready to be shared and tagged on the world wide web! After experiencing this I just had that dreadful “#Selfie” song playing over and over and over in my head… if you haven’t heard it, here you go:  (listen at your own risk :P).

And finally, the moment that will forever make me crack up whenever I think of 50 Cent!

My friend was walking next to me and she could feel this guy staring at her. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye and said to me: “I think that guy is checking me out! Or maybe I know him…” She then turned to get a better look at the perpetrator and burst out laughing. I looked over to see why she was laughing at the guy and realized that it was because it wasn’t a guy at all – it was a CARDBOARD CUT OUT of 50 Cent! Maybe you just had to be there, but I thought it was hilarious! My abs still hurt from laughing about it and I giggle every time I look at the picture of Hemani with Fiddy:

aka the weirdo who was checking her out...

Hemani and Fiddy…aka the weirdo who was checking her out…

Overall, a great event and I can’t wait to be a part of it again next year! Well done, AUS! You really do “got talent”! 🙂

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem

As the Holy Month begins in the UAE, it’s like a spiritual pixie dust is floating around and settling as a blanket over the country.

I love this time of year. There’s something magical in the air when people turn towards God and spirituality, cleanse their bodies, thoughts and intentions, and focus on love and charity.

Ramadan is a month of reflection. People are encouraged to look within and evaluate their current lifestyles and mentalities and commit to a better path. It is a time of forgiveness, peace, piety and purity.

You may know Ramadan as the month of “fasting” – which means Muslims don’t eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset for 30 days. But it’s more than that. In Arabic, the word for fasting is “sawm” which means “to refrain”.  This doesn’t just mean refraining from food and water. It also means that during this Holy Month, Muslims refrain from evil or impure actions, thoughts and words.

So even if you aren’t fasting, why not make a special effort this month to be kinder, more patient and to help those who are fasting to conquer this inner struggle. I plan to do my best to be nice and understanding to those around me, to make sure I don’t use any profanity or inappropriate language, to dress respectfully and to not eat or drink in front of those who are fasting when I’m not. It may not be the same as properly fasting, but hey – it’s a start!

Ramadan Kareem.

Yallaaaaaaaaa!!!

Yesterday on my show, (The Sheena Show on Radio 1 – 104.1/100.5FM across the UAE from 10am-1pm…pardon the plug :p ), we were discussing the word “yalla”.

If you’ve ever even BEEN to the UAE let alone lived here, I’m sure you’ve heard this word many times.

Now I always thought that “yalla” meant “let’s go”. According to my listeners, it can also mean “hurry up” or “come on” or other things depending on the situation. No wonder it’s used so often!

But the interesting thing is that the ORIGIN of this word comes from something very slightly related.

Here is an SMS message I got from one of the listeners, Salam:

It’s actually not one word, it’s “Ya Allah” which is a call out to God to make the path ahead “obstacle free”. Some of the older men in my family still use it when they want to leave somewhere or enter a place.
It was also used in the old days as an announcement from men as they enter a house, to notify/warn the women to cover their hair.
I guess it’s one of those words that we grew up using but never really gave much thought to =)

I was so impressed with this little tidbit of history that I felt the need to share it with you.

It’s always interesting to find out the origin of words and phrases that we use on a daily basis without really understanding their original meanings. I definitely feel a little bit smarter after learning this 🙂

SMOKE ALERT!

You’ll NEVER BELIEVE what I witnessed this morning!!

I got into the elevator, and there was a man – in the elevator – smoking a cigarette!!!

Can you believe that!?

As it is, I hate it when people smoke cigarettes indoors cuz the stench and smoke just lingers in the air… in your hair on your clothes… but in the ELEVATOR!!??! The tiniest confined space, EVER!? Where there’s no escaping and certainly very little ventilation if any!?!!???

That’s gotta be illegal…

Who smokes in an elevator!?

Mr. Elevator man, if you’re reading this, I’m sure my dirty look said it all this morning but please – don’t do it again!!!

It’s HOT out there!!!

I really don’t know how the bedouins and nomads used to survive in the heat of this desert!

I mean, we have AC everywhere we go but even the walk from the air conditioned car to the air conditioned indoors is unbearable!

It’s hot, sticky and people around me are starting to smell!

The worst part about this heat is that it wears you down. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling exhausted, I’ve had constant dull headaches, and overall just been feeling ick!

The doctor says it’s dehydration – and apparently this can lead to several other issues.

So my advice to those of you who are struggling in this heat: WATER! WATER! WATER!!!

I can’t tell you how important it is to continuously hydrate yourself. Make a conscious effort to drink more water or other beverages that have electrolytes.

Some of the side effects of dehydration are:

– dry mouth

– low energy /  fatigue

– loss of muscle strength / sore body / muscle cramps

– dark circles under your eyes

– the feeling of hunger

– lack of urine

– rapid heart rate / palpitations

– confusion / inability to concentrate

– headaches / dizziness

– nausea / vomiting

..and in extreme cases, coma, organ failure and possibly death.

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, it’s important to rest, re-hydrade and stay out of the sun/heat. Drink water, Gatorade or other electrolyte beverages, or you can mix the following and drink it:

  • 1 quart (950 mL) water
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) salt substitute (potassium-based), such as Lite Salt or Morton Salt Substitute
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar

NOTE: Do not give this homemade drink to children younger than 12. Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tc/dehydration-home-treatment

I hope this helps to keep you healthy, safe and happy through the summer months.

One last piece of advice… or maybe more of a request… please… don’t forget to wear deodorant 😉

Some advice for the “men” out there…

Ladies, I am SURE this has happened to you at LEAST once if you’ve been living in the UAE for at least a month… and I just can’t understand WHY guys do this!!

Boys… (and I say boys because I feel that “men” wouldn’t do it) – I have some very important advice for you.

Whatever you do in life, please remember this one thing:

STOP TRYING TO PICK UP GIRLS WHILE YOURE DRIVING ON THE ROADS!!

I don’t know why guys do this!? Last night some guy followed me all the way home!! I mean seriously, WHAT MAKES YOU GUYS THINK that this will work for you!?

I don’t know a single girl who would ever go out with a guy who followed her in his car and tried to get her number while driving.

It’s sleezy, creepy and if we call the cops, could get you into a lot of trouble.

It ain’t gonna work for you anyway…so just leave the girls alone!

Ugh!

What Women REALLY Think of Guys Who Chase Them In Cars..