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Grammy-award winning record producer, singer and songwriter RedOne, born Nadir Khayat, is bringing his love of music as well as some of his famous friends to The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain’s newly launched The Arena pavilion, writes Naman Arora
RedOne inaugurated the Arena pavilion last weekend in the presence of Bernard de Villèle, general manager and Jeremy Canivet, director of sales and marketing at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain as well as other key executives and members of the media.
RedOne noted: “I am going to be coming to Bahrain four times and each time, I’ll be bringing another act with me. We are still trying to align schedules and work out details with the Ritz-Carlton’s The Arena venue.”
Just like the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, the 47-year-old Moroccan-born Swedish producer has had an illustrious career over the past quarter of a century.
RedOne originally pursued his musical ambitions in Sweden by singing and playing guitar before changing direction in 1995 by opting to produce and write songs for other artists.
Since then, he has worked with a veritable Who’s Who list of musical legends, including Akon, Marc Anthony, Justin Bieber, Cheb Khaled, Cher, Enrique Iglesias, Nicki Minaj, Lionel Richie, Usher, and Lil Wayne.
He added: “Over the span of my career, I have worked with a variety of singers and musicians. And what I have learned is that work ethic is what matters and it’s what separates the one-hit wonders from the legends. There are still a lot of variables that come into play from talent to luck to the right connections.
“But I have found that talent plus the right work ethic is what sets people apart and what brings in that longevity - People love working with you, you don’t get distracted by the success, fame or money. Those are the people who generally become legends, of course with a bit of luck.
“Here’s where my own luck comes in. For the most part, I have been lucky to work with extremely talented artists with a phenomenal work ethic.”
Amongst his greatest successes over the years, RedOne counts Khaled, who started out as Cheb Khaled in his teens and became the most internationally famous Algerian singer in the Arab world and across many continents, creating songs like Didi and Aïcha. Khaled is a winner of numerous awards, and has sold over 80.5 million albums worldwide including 10 diamond, platinum, and gold albums.
RedOne recounted: “I did his new album, C’est la vie and brought him back. The chairman of Universal asked me to work with Khaled to bring him back, after a 13-year gap. I am a big fan of his. And so to help bring his work back into the limelight was amazing. It was also a challenge, because it’s almost impossible to top his previous hit, Aïcha.
“At the end of the day, I like to create people’s music – songs that people sing and remember. When you do a song that everybody can sing, you make an impression on their soul and it is then the people’s song, and that’s what I like to create.
“Another example is Real Madrid football club’s theme song, that is sung at every game. To hear that and to hear 50,000 people chanting it is always one of the best feelings.”
After the inauguration of The Arena, Jeremy recounted a story he had heard about RedOne, where the producer was sent to meet with Lady Gaga and within five minutes of meeting her, he decided to bring her into the studio.
RedOne commented: “I had just had my first big hit and my manager told me to go meet this artist who had been on the scene but was still fairly unknown. I wanted to work with famous artists but I still went, thinking that if nothing else, she might be a good songwriter.
“But within five minutes, I knew she was different. Her voice, her vibe, it was all so different from what others were doing at the time. She reminded me of the 80s and I knew I wanted to work with her.”
Together, they wrote a song titled Boys, Boys, Boys, which was intended as a spin-off of Mötley Crüe’s Girls, Girls, Girls and produced hits that became hugely popular including Just Dance, Bad Romance and Poker Face.
In coming to Bahrain and the Middle East, RedOne hopes to find and work with the next big star here and bring more Middle Eastern artists to a global audience.
Despite his international fame, the Moroccan Royal Award for “Intellectual Excellence” received from King Mohamed VI of Morocco in 2011 is one of his greatest moments, because “where you come from is just as important as what you achieve.”