‘Believe in yourself’: DJ Khaled, Hardwell, and more tell new artists in Saudi Arabia

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Upcoming artists in Saudi Arabia can achieve global success and recognition if they believe in themselves and develop their own unique sound, A-list musicians including DJ Khaled, Hardwell, Elyanna told fans in Riyadh.

Making a surprise appearance at the XP Music Futures conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, Palestinian-American Grammy-winning artist and producer DJ Khaled told a group of young people: “I knew that with hard work I could do anything. I don’t compete with nobody. I compete with myself. I ask myself how can I be better every single day? It is as simple as you have to believe in yourself. And if you are saying that, eventually other people will start to believe in you too.”

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XP Music Futures – which took place in Riyadh’s JAX District from November 28 to 30 – saw 194 speakers come together in the Kingdom to discuss the key factors that can propel the region’s music industry forward and help aspiring artists achieve their goals. Among the stellar list of global artists to make an appearance at the event were David Guetta, Elyanna, Hardwell, and Afrojack.

As part of efforts to develop Saudi Arabia’s creative economy – in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to become less oil-reliant – XP Music Futures also aims to build an ecosystem that can help foster regional talent and provide them with the opportunities to develop their musical careers and extend their reach globally.

Also read: Saudi Arabia’s booming music industry offers new possibilities for regional artists

In addition to believing in themselves, young artists need to develop their own sound that will distinguish them from everyone in the industry, Dutch DJ and music producer Hardwell told Al Arabiya English.

Hardwell speaks at XP Music Futures in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Hardwell speaks at XP Music Futures in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

“The biggest advice I can give upcoming artists is to truly believe in yourself. If someone is going to reject you, like a record label, don’t be scared to send out another record. Keep going. Try to develop your own sound, which is really important. Do not try to sound like anybody else. You can use inspiration from other records, but don’t copy anyone. Try to be original and stay true to yourself,” he said.

Palestinian-Chilean singer Elyanna – who sat down with Al Arabiya English ahead of her first performance in Saudi Arabia on December 3 to discuss her biggest show yet – shared a tip that she heard from Canadian-Lebanese artist Massari when she first began her musical career.

“Massari actually gave me the best advice. He always encourages me and gives me the best advice. He said, ‘take your time and don’t rush into anything.’ Timing is everything. I would tell upcoming artists the same. Just push and work hard and let our Arabic language to be out there and go international. Do not be scared,” she told Al Arabiya English.

American music executive Mathew Knowles – most known for being the father of international superstar Beyonce and the manager of Destiny’s Child – was also among the speakers at the Middle East’s biggest music conference, where he gave a keynote speech to young Saudi Arabian artists.

Speaking to Al Arabiya English ahead of his speech, Knowles said: “It is important for artists to know that this is a journey. There will be failure because that’s how you become better. It is important to know that success is not microwavable and to understand that you have to practice, practice, practice to become better at this.”

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