Sean Barcoe at The BarCoe Studio.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Abu Dhabi-based audio, video and music-event production company The BarCoe Studio, has been supporting locally-based musicians by providing music services to support them and minimise the impact the pandemic has had on their livelihoods.
“Our aim is to give support and a platform to talented UAE-based artists to compete in a global market as well as showcase the talent of homegrown artists to the world,” says Sean Barcoe, Founder, The BarCoe Studio. BarCoe has collaborated with numerous international companies, including Sennheiser/Neumann, BlackBird Studios and has produced over hundred musicians, including several Yasalam’s Emerging Talent Competition winners.
They include most notably, Emirati Singer FaFa, who in 2019 opened for Bruno Mars at the New Year’s Eve Concert and has also collaborated with Valorant, Tommy Jeans and Namshi. Sean Barcoe speaks to Gulf Today.
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Why do you think Abu Dhabi is a perfect location for The BarCoe Studio?
Abu Dhabi has so much musical talent and despite the pandemic, it continues to grow in terms of the quality and variety of music being produced. What drew me to Abu Dhabi is that it keeps showcasing to the world that it is innovative and bold and part of that has been the music scene. Over the past few years, the music industry has grown tremendously. Our aim as a studio is to be part of the growth of Abu Dhabi’s music/entertainment industry and forward the UAE’s standing as a first-class destination for Arts and Entertainment.
Can Western and Middle East music ever meet?
They already have! What is unique about it, furthermore, is that Western and Middle Eastern music are being combined in so many different ways and there is no standard in creating that fusion. Most recently, Emirati singer FaFa who is produced by BarCoe, collaborated with Issam and Marwan Moussa on the single “Anta AlBatal” for the game Valorant. The single combines melodies with Arabic and English lyrics. Since launching on May 12, it has over half a million views on YouTube - which just goes to show that creating a Western and Middle Eastern fusion in music is trending.
What are the features of Western music and music of the Middle East?
The line of being able to distinctly differentiate between the features of Western and Middle Eastern music is continuously being blurred. Other than the obvious differences in language and melodic arrangement, there are many features that are the same. Now we see how genres like rap that were once only Western, are widely adopted in Middle Eastern music.
What are The BarCoe Studio’s music services?
The studio is a full-service music, video and events production facility. It houses a fully equipped recording studio, video editing room and live band area. All facilities include state-of-the-art equipment and the latest software. The studio offers a wide variety of audio and video services including recording, composing, mixing, mastering, voice overs, video production, live broadcasting and music-event production. In addition, it has a host of supplementary services to support artists reach their potential.
What makes you think Emirati musicians can make successful careers in the global music market?
Emirati musicians are breaking barriers not only in the music industry locally but also globally. There are numerous Emirati artists that are redefining the music scene and producing music with Grammy-award winners and being promoted on international platforms. They are determined to grow and are committed to their dreams and that’s the foundation for a successful career in any industry.
What is your advice to emerging Emirati music artists?
From my experience in the industry, I would tell them there is no magic formula to developing a music career; but having a plan is the first step. There will be hurdles along the way and being part of a creative community is crucial for support. Lastly, always find time to practice and never stop improving your talent.
There is cultural resistance to music in the Middle East. Comment.
The Middle East has become more progressive in terms of embracing music of varying genres. There may still be instances where there is resistance; however, we see this gradually changing. For the most part, it is enjoyed and celebrated as music and has an ability to connect people and communicate experiences. It has become a way to create unity and reduce stigma or cultural barriers.
A musician (singer) wants to turn professional. How will BarCoe guide him/her?
When new musicians first come to us, we sit with them to understand their requirements and goals. We have an expert team of producers, composers, song writers, vocal coaches and performance coaches. They guide our musicians through the various stages and take their craft to the next level in our studio, where we can make them feel comfortable and less nervous about being in a studio, which allows the artist to reach their full potential. From that point, we market their songs from our platforms and also offer assistance to land performing gigs.
Why did you develop a positive (oops) attitude to music?
Life is full of surprises and music has constantly been a positive part of my life. It gives me and other artists a way to share our talent and message in a way that is welcomed and commended. I have always wanted to share the positivity that music brings with others and that was one of the main reasons behind developing the studio. I am proud to say The BarCoe Studio is founded on the principle of being a positive and supportive environment.
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