From someone outside looking in, the Dubai music scene can be seen (or heard) from a different perspective. It's often asked, "What makes it different from other cities?" Martyn Crocker, a UK native, offers his insight. Generally playing and performing around and between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, Martyn has had the experience of performing at The Fridge, in front of the Burj for Market on the Box, Aloft and an event for Last Seen Live's third season to name a few. "I love coming to Dubai and am aiming to get back to performing there as soon as possible." According to the singer-songwriter, what makes the Dubai music scene special is the variety of music the bustling city offers.
"So many different genres and styles and it genuinely feel welcoming. Also, there are opportunities for musicians to play incredible shows and performance spaces at an independent level – this doesn't always happen in other cities." What's missing? Martyn admits the need to see more opportunities for original music performances tops the list. "I love playing covers and mixing in my own songs, but there's something really special about perfecting your own 30–45-minute set of your own tracks and getting it into the audience's ears." One thing he's not missing? The rain.
For those who do not know please introduce yourself.
Hey, I'm Martyn Crocker, I'm a singer and songwriter from the U.K. and I currently live in Al Ain in Abu Dhabi. I'm doing great thanks, I'm in a good place right now and am excited about the next year. I have an album ready to be released over the next few months, which is a group of songs I'm proud of and I can't wait to get them out. Obviously, we live in strange times, so life is a little unpredictable, but I'm hoping for the best and taking each day as it comes.
we live in strange times
I've pretty much been playing, writing and performing music all my life. It just draws you in and is something that I have always been really passionate about. I've was playing in bands since I was about 10 Years old and it just becomes part of who you are. I'm currently a Secondary Music Teacher at a school in Al Ain, which is the reason I moved to the UAE and I love sharing music with young people. This will be the third album I've put out under my own name – I put out an Acoustic record called 'Honesty and Ambition' and a more fully-realized, band-orientated album called 'Favouritism' in 2017.
Just getting into music was always incredibly exciting to me from a young age. It was something that I loved investigating and learning about – so many different bands, genres and sub-genres to learn about and get into, so many instruments to learn. I think music just really resonated me and was something that came naturally. Some people love to paint, or they're really into sport – I was always really into music, and it's really shaped who I have become as a person.
Was there ever a moment when you felt like calling it quits?
Yeah for sure, as an independent artist there are lots of times that you feel as though you're banging your head against a wall or hitting a ceiling, but that's always short term and it always leads to new and exciting things happening. Sometimes you just need to work at it more.
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Absolutely, sometimes that's a blessing, as I feel I drive myself to a certain standard that I try to hold myself to. It can be damaging though as with anything I do, it's either good and right or it's not good enough and I find it difficult to take when things don't go completely according to plan. I'm hard on myself, and that can be positive and negative.
I'm hard on myself
Tell us about 'I Don't Miss The Rain.'
Yeah, I'm from the Uk. We get rain usually 10 months of the year (laughs). The collection of songs I've been working on are all about emigrating abroad, travel and experience. I released a single last year called '...And I Got On', which was about leaving the UK and the feelings that came with saying goodbye to somewhere and this new single 'I Don't Miss The Rain' is the next part of the story – it's about waking up in Al Ain and experiencing life in another country that comes with that and all of the nuances that you come across. I've played it a lot at gigs and it always goes down really well with audiences. I've tried to make these recordings a lot more pop-orientated and I think we achieved that with some programmed drums and synthesizers augmenting the sound. I'm really looking forward to people hearing this one as the production and sound are fantastic.
I love that moment when you're writing a song and knowing that you've got something great – a keeper! I love those tracks that just flow out quickly, that you don't have to think about for ages – they just happen and it's absolute magic. I love developing songs, performing and fine-tuning them, demoing them, writing lyrics and harmonies, recording them and the entire creative process that comes with writing and putting music out.Follow Martyn Crocker: