He’s one of the country’s top DJs and former Radio personalities, recently adding presenter and event host to his list of talents. FACT caught up with the one and only Saif and Sound to talk music, the entertainment industry and what he’s up to next…
Let’s take it back… do you remember your first experience of listening to music and how it made you feel?
Well I can’t remember the EXACT moment, but music made its way to me at a young age and it really changed my life. The feeling I get when I listen to music is indescribable, it sends me places one can only dream of!
What inspired you to take to the decks and become a DJ?
Aside from my unconditional love for music, it’s my desire to spread love, good vibes and to make people happy. Music is very powerful, it brings people together regardless of their color, nationality, race, income etc. It units everyone under one roof to celebrate life.
DJ’ing is all about skill and practice, how many years have you dedicated to perfecting this talent – and what have been some of the most challenging aspects?
Well I’ve been DJ’ing for around 10 years. I started playing music in my bedroom when I was 15 and funnily enough, I would take 30-minute breaks in between my homework to practice just for the fun of it. I had no idea this would become my actual job!
Practice is key! Music is constantly evolving and therefore you should always keep up with the newest trends. Regarding challenges, it’s definitely the fact that I grew up in a traditional household, none of my family members are into the kind of music I listen to, so there was none to refer back to when I heard an old school song and ask them if it was a hit or not.What kind of music are you personally into – what’s on your playlist at the moment?
I listen to GOOD music! I go through certain moods where I’d be listening to some Jill Scott and next think you know, my playlist switches to a new reggaetón song. However, at the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of Afrobeats, especially what’s coming out of Nigeria. But my favorite artist right now is Koffee, she’s coming out of Jamaica and she’s dope.
Being a DJ can often mean late nights and irregular hours – how do you cope with the lifestyle?
To be honest my lifestyle is all over the place. I promised myself to slow things down a little but I’m not good at that. However, I just quit my daytime job at the radio to focus more on other things and get my life back together in a way haha.
As well as DJ’ing, you’ve also become well-known for hosting on the radio and emceeing at events. Was the entertainment industry always something you wanted to get into – and why?
I started off as a DJ but I’m constantly on the lookout for new challenges and side hustles as I like to call them. They mainly have to do with music and entertainment. These type of things remind me of my high school teachers, they used to tell me I should pursue a career in TV/Radio because of my loud voice haha! But in the end of the day there’s nothing more I enjoy than entertaining and putting a smile on people’s faces.
Working in this industry, in one of the world’s most buzzing and competitive markets can be quite demanding. How do you keep a good work/life balance?
Well my job is quite fun, I get to meet new people every day, play music and giveaway prizes on the radio! It’s become a part of both my professional and personal life, but I like to dedicate at least 1 day a week to spend time with family and have a normal life away from music and social media.What’s your DJ’ing style – do you interact with the crowd and take a lot of requests or do you like to play it by ear and already know what you’ll spin before you start?
I’m quite familiar with the crowd in the UAE and I’ve built a fan base that attend my events specifically and that like the type of music I play. But I don’t mind taking requests and mingling with the crowd while I’m DJ’ing as long as long as they are just giving me a request and not narrating out their life to me! And oh, don’t come up to the DJ booth if your breath stinks!
Going back to radio, what kept you excited about being on air in the UAE – what sort of impact do you feel radio can make in a listener’s daily life?
Being on the radio is a totally different experience to DJ’ing, people get to see or rather hear a different side to me. I can be playful of course but I also get serious when I speak on certain controversial topics.
What has been your most memorable moment as a DJ or radio host to date?
Being able to express my love and passion for music on some of the biggest stages in the UAE and playing alongside artists I look up to are the most memorable moments when I look back. I’m just a kid, born in the UAE trying my best to raise the flag high and represent the scene to the fullest!Do you have any advice or tips for young, budding entertainers?
Like the song goes “Nothing can stop me I’m all the way UP!” Work hard, set yourself goals, stay focused, listen to your heart and most importantly, ENJOY your job!
Share with us some of your goals for the near future…
I don’t like sharing my goals with anyone but here is what I can tell you. Now that I’m no longer at the radio I’m going to focus more on my solo brand and work towards my long-term plans! I have a few things in the pipeline, keep an eye out on my socials and you will definitely be hearing some good news soon!
GO: Follow @saifandsound on Instagram for all the latest.