Did you hear that Drake and One Direction were about to get a new stamp in their passports — for the Middle East? Soon, Drake, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and One Direction will all have performing in Dubai in common. While most Americans associate the Middle East with wars and Israel, the Persian Gulf city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is a top A-list celebrity destination — and therefore it is no surprise that Drake and One Direction will be performing in Dubai.
With everything in the oil-rich city of Dubai geared toward the pinnacle of luxury, having top stars like Drake and One Direction perform is what Dubai is all about. However, Drake and One Direction, despite being renowned singers, have not performed in Dubai or the Middle East before. Thankfully, this is about to change.
How much fun is a concert date in Dubai going to be for Drake and One Direction? When Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber were there, they had a full mini-vacation planned that One Direction and Drake could take note of. In particular, if you read this Forbes article, it appears that Drake and One Direction are headed to a city that is trying to rewrite the definition of heavenly.
For the ArtPop event in Dubai in early September, Lady Gaga went wild onstage at the Meydan Arena — but she did do a few things differently to adapt to the cultural differences of the Middle East. These unique things about performing there could be helpful to Drake and One Direction.
For example, an article in Al Arabiya says, “Despite some concerns that the pop star’s notorious dress-sense could offend some fans, Gaga said she would do her best to respect the local culture. [Lady Gaga stated] ‘We will do our best to respect your culture. We are here to honor you tonight.'”
Of course, Justin Bieber’s word of caution to Drake and One Direction could be to watch out for the audience. According to Yahoo!, when Bieber was performing for one of the shows he had in Dubai, a young man jumped on the stage and tried to hit Bieber. In the scuffle, security ruined the piano that was supposed to be used in Justin Bieber’s show.
Despite this, Justin Bieber had a lot of fun — just as One Direction and Drake will most likely have. In particular, Justin Bieber took advantage of the fact that there are luxury race cars all over Dubai — and racked up six speeding tickets while he was there in May of 2013, according to Gulf News.
Long story short, as long as Drake and One Direction pay attention to the cultural differences, they should be able to get a second chance to play in Dubai. The National UAE says that Drake will be performing at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday, March 14.
The same publication says that One Direction will also perform for the first time in Dubai a few weeks after Drake on April 4 at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium. The arrival of One Direction is highly anticipated since the media has been taunting the fans in Dubai about the show for over a year, according to 7 Days in Dubai.
Is all this excitement over English-speaking musicians like Drake and One Direction the norm in Dubai? After all, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga have performed there — but were the ticket sales poor? As it appears, while there is a large expatriate community of non-English-speaking, non-Arabs in Dubai — there are clues on the website where Drake’s concert tickets are being sold.
For instance, out of about twenty musicians on the Virgin MegaStore Middle East website, only a few are English speakers — including Drake. The rest speak languages like Farsi, Arabic, Spanish or other non-European languages.
One Direction has been building an audience for awhile in Dubai, but Drake is still popular — but less well-known in that particular country. For this reason, as a newcomer to the Dubai music scene, The National UAE did a writeup on his background.
When describing Drake as an outsider to an audience of readers that speak English — but are not necessarily American or Canadian — the laser-sharp perspective of an outsider can sound like a back-handed compliment. For example, The National UAE states the following.
“He hardly has a credible hip-hop background: considering his middle-class Canadian upbringing and a stint starring on a rather lame teenage television show, also produced in Canada. Yet Drake has managed to give the increasingly tired genre a welcome shot in the arm by combining raw talent, a distinctive sound and an unerring ability to keep his finger on the pulse.”
Regardless of the fact that most large concerts in Dubai are not in English, multiple news agencies like Ahlan Live in The United Arab Emirates are reporting that both Drake and One Direction are or will be sold out concerts.
[All images from the referenced links.]