Sean Barcoe at the BarCoe studio.
Muhammad Yusuf, Feature Writer
Abu Dhabi-based audio, video and music events production company The BarCoe Studio supports local musicians by providing music services to support them and minimize the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods.
“Our goal is to provide support and a platform for talented artists based in the UAE to compete in a global market and showcase the talent of local artists to the world,” said Sean Barcoe, Founder of The BarCoe Studio. BarCoe has collaborated with many international companies including Sennheiser / Neumann, BlackBird Studios and has produced over a hundred musicians, including several winners of the Yasalam Emerging Talent Competition.
They notably include Emirati singer FaFa, who opened in 2019 for Bruno Mars at the New Years 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 the music produced. What attracted me to Abu Dhabi is that it continues to show the world that it is innovative and daring and that part of that has been the music scene. In recent years, the music industry has grown considerably. Our goal as a studio is to be a part of the growth of Abu Dhabi’s music / entertainment industry and to promote the UAE’s position as a premier destination for the arts and entertainment.
Can Western and Middle Eastern music ever meet?
They have already done it! What’s unique, moreover, is that Western and Middle Eastern music are combined in so many different ways and there is no standard to create this fusion. Most recently, Emirati singer FaFa, produced by BarCoe, collaborated with Issam and Marwan Moussa on the single “Anta AlBatal” for the game Valorant. The single combines melodies with lyrics in Arabic and English. Since its launch on May 12, it has over half a million views on YouTube, showing that creating a Western and Middle Eastern music fusion is all the rage.
What are the characteristics of Western music and Middle Eastern music?
The distinction between the characteristics of Western and Middle Eastern music is continually blurring. Besides the obvious differences in language and melodic arrangement, many characteristics 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 music services of The BarCoe Studio?
The studio is a full-service music, video and event production facility. It houses a fully equipped recording studio, video editing room and a 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, voiceovers, video production, live streaming and music event production. In addition, it offers a host of additional services to help artists reach their potential.
What makes you think Emirati musicians can have a successful career in the global music market?
Emirati musicians are breaking down barriers not only in the local but also global music industry. There are many Emirati artists who 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 this is the basis 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 that there is no magic formula to developing a musical career; but having a plan is the first step. There will be obstacles along the way and being part of a creative community is crucial for support. Finally, always find the 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 the adoption of music of various genres. There may still be cases where there is resistance; however, we are seeing this gradually changing. For the most part, it is enjoyed and celebrated like music and has the ability to connect people and communicate experiences. It has become a means of creating unity and reducing stigma or cultural barriers.
A musician (singer) wants to become a professional. How will BarCoe guide him?
When new musicians come to us for the first time, we sit down with them to understand their needs and goals. We have an expert team of producers, composers, songwriters, vocal coaches and performance coaches. They guide our musicians through the different stages and take their art 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 his full potential. From then on, we market their songs from our platforms and also offer support for land concerts.
Why did you develop a positive attitude (oops) towards music?
Life is full of surprises and music has always been a positive part of my life. It gives me and other artists a way to share our talent and our message in a way that is welcomed and praised. I’ve always wanted to share the positivity that music brings with others and this was one of the main reasons for the studio’s development. I am proud to say that BarCoe Studio is founded on the principle of being a positive and supportive environment.