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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How Richard Branson Touched My Life.

Yesterday I managed to get myself into the du CEO forum to hear Richard Branson speak! I’m pretty sure people were looking at me funny, wondering what on earth I was doing there because I was obviously NOT a CEO… they probably thought I was a “social media winner” or was on the hunt for a rich CEO husband or something but no – I actually used wasta* for the first time to get in there (wasta meaning begging my friend who was organizing the event).

I have a confession – I have not read any of Sir Richard’s books…but after last night, I definitely want to read them and even make notes about some of the truly inspiring things he has to say. He not only has a great business mind, but from a few comments here and there, I realized that he could also be a great source for life lessons and providing ways to be a better human being.

One of the things I loved most about hearing him speak yesterday was seeing that he’s taken the successful business model that has served him so well in each of his ventures and has been applying the skills and resources from them towards making the world a better place.

If you ever get the chance to hear him speak live, I highly recommended it, but until then, here are some key points that stuck with me after yesterday’s experience:

– Creating a great business is about finding something you LIKE and turning it into capital.
– A company is nothing without the PEOPLE behind it – motivate them and encourage innovation by being a ‘YES’ type of boss, giving people room to make mistakes without reprimanding them and using positive reinforcement. “People do not flourish if they’re not praised.”
– There’s no point starting a business unless you can do what you do BETTER than the others in your sector.
– The secret to success is not to look for the ‘cheapest way’ to do something, but the ‘most AMAZING’ way to do it.

And finally, the point that struck a chord with me and made me look at Sir Richard Branson as not just a great man, but a beautiful soul: his emphasis on the importance of forgiveness. He pushed the idea of forgiving, letting go of conflict and ensuring that you have no bad blood with anyone in your life – whether it be an ex-spouse, business contact, friend, child, parent – whatever – forgive and clear your heart. That advice was not only inspiring, but enlightening.

People like this are the people who inspire change in this world. That’s how we will save it.

richard branson ceo

*for a general idea of what “wasta” is, find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasta