Introducing: The next big things…

Events behemoth Flash Entertainment knows a thing or two about talent.

Over the years they’ve helped stage some of the biggest and best concerts, comedy gigs, festivals, and sports tournaments in the capital.

And for the last six years it’s taken the opportunity to seamlessly weave local talent into its roster of world-class events, through the Yasalam Emerging Talent Competition.

But in an effort to transform this local support into a more comprehensive, year-round commitment, Flash Entertainment has developed Regional Artist Spotlight (RAS), a new campaign to help level-up local talent even further.

Speaking about the new platform launch, Flash CEO, John Lickrish said: “The entertainment industry has been one of the hardest-hit during the Covid-19 pandemic with artists having limited opportunities to perform live and share their music with broader audiences.”

“Flash Entertainment takes our role of supporting regional talent very seriously, so we are delighted to assist in diversifying the opportunities they have by launching this new initiative.”

And because we share that same passion for illuminating our best and brightest, What’s On has teamed up with Flash to introduce you to some of these emerging stars. First up, UAE-based Somalian rapper, Freek…

Credit: Omar Tartoob

What’s On: How did you get into music?

Freek: I have always been into music. My passion for it started when I was about 13 years old. At the age of 17, I was around a lot of homegrown artists like Timothy Vaughn AKA ‘Young Vaughn’. I was there when he was working on his albums, shooting music videos, and during recording sessions at the studio, which helped me learn how to sample beats and how to record my own music.


WO: Who are the artists, or people, who inspire you?

F: Young Vaughn is definitely one of the people that inspired me to do what I do and one of the biggest influences in my career so far.


WO: What are your latest musical accomplishments?

F: I was recently part of Fire in the Booth – UAE Edition with the legendary Charlie Sloth. It is yet to be released but I am really excited for the world to see it. I was also invited to perform at the Flash Live, Eid Celebrations in 2020 during lockdown, which allowed me to continue sharing my music with my fans. Before that I had the chance to perform at Sole DXB and at the Yasalam After Race Concerts, opening for Future and Gucci Mane.


WO: What are your latest releases?

F: Khali Wali and Shwaya are my latest two releases. I am really proud of these songs and what they represent for me.



WO: How has your experience with Flash Entertainment (such as being the opening act for Future & Gucci Mane) helped you grow as an artist?

F: I loved the experience of being part of the Emerging Talent Competition. It was a great experience during quite an early stage of my career and I benefited a lot from the workshops the platform provided me. The experience taught me a lot about the inner workings of the music industry and being around a lot of talented artists really inspired me.

Being the opening act for Future & Gucci Mane at du Arena was a milestone for me. I was performing in a venue I used to work in as an usher and in the ticket box office! It made me realise nothing is impossible.


WO: What does being a part of Regional Artist Spotlight mean to you?

F: What the platform is aiming to achieve is fantastic for artists like me. Being able to be featured across so many different channels will open up my music to my fans and potentially a new group of fans who don’t know it yet. I have heard about some of the artists that will be featured as part of Regional Artist Spotlight and the line-up is incredibly talented and diverse and will definitely shine the spotlight on some of the best artists the region has.


WO: We’d like to get more of an idea about your musical inspiration, influences and personal heroes. If we went back to yours for an afterparty, what five-track playlist would you queue up?

F: Drake – God’s Plan; Pop Smoke – Dior; 2 Pac – California Love; Chief Keef – I Don’t Like; and Ludacris – Move.

You can find out more about local musical talent at @RegionalArtistSpotlight; and to keep up to date with the first featured artist in the series, Freek — hit up the rapper’s Instagram @freektv

Main image: SoleDXB x Gucci Photo Credit: Timo Kerber