INTERVIEW: Jonas Blue on influences, collaborations and Dubai
The man who took the Tracy Chapman classic “Fast Car” and drenched it in summery trap-flavoured beats for a 21st century audience is the main event at the latest DXBeach this weekend. The Londonder, whose mother had played the song on long car journeys, admits to an eclectic musical palate, with funk, soul and pop all emerging in his very current tropical-house output – which is much in evidence in his live sets.
He arrives in Dubai in a rich vein of form. While “Fast Car” is racking up the streams – nearly 400 million now – his follow-up “Perfect Strangers” proved it was no fluke. He has also been much in demand as a remixer, working with the likes of Coldplay and Birdy, while also taking his DJ-ing talents to mega parties like Tomorrowland. Just before he jumped on a plane, ShortList grabbed the 27-year-old for a chat.
How did all this begin for you?
I’d work on demos and then stay up late at night e-mailing them to my favourite record labels to get them signed! This was when I was 11 or 12 years old, and although nothing was ever signed I built up really good relationships with people who I’m still friendly with to this day. I was 15 when I had my first real song finished and it was signed to an independent UK label at the time. It was one of the most special moments in my life.
Did you always envision your tracks, like “Perfect Strangers” and “Fast Car”, becoming staples in clubs and bars across the globe?
Well, it was always a dream of mine and I was never going to give up until I had shaken the world with my music.
How close are you to shaking the world?
Well, I now have an amazing platform to express myself as an artist and my music. But the success has not jaded me in the slightest. I am still that 11/12 year old in his bedroom who is hungrier than ever.
How would you describe your sound?
Melodic, soulful dance music.
What or who are you listening to right now?
Bruno Mars, Don Diablo and Submotion Orchestra
If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) who would it be? And, why?
Michael Jackson. He was my inspiration growing up. Musically and artistically he was on another level and that’s what I am trying to achieve every day!
You’ve filmed your music videos everywhere from South Africa to Iceland. When are you making one in Dubai?
I visited Dubai for the first time last year after years of wanting to visit. As soon as I arrived, I caught such an amazing vibe and had so many ideas for how one of my music videos could be recorded here. The country has so much to offer and is very creative. So, yeah, why not?
How is it performing here? How does it compare to other places?
There’s something very special about performing in the UAE. The culture and the people really do live for the music and when you play records that really connect, you feel the energy from the people. UAE has its own vibe, it’s like nowhere else, and I can’t wait to get back especially to perform at DXBeach. I’m very excited.
Other acts set to perform at DXBEACH include:
An electronic duo from South Africa are known for blending in a mix of saxophones, flutes and double bass over house beats.
Australian Sonny Fodera has developed his own emotive brand of house music, which he releases on the Deep Down and Defected labels.
Saxophone sensation Lovely Laura is currently creating a storm, with Facebook videos of her playing in Ibiza reaching well over 20 million views.
He’s one of the White Isle’s most prolific DJs, having moved to Ibiza 12 years ago, enjoying residencies Amnesia, Café del Mar, Space and Ushuaia.
The talented Yorkshireman has become one of House music’s rising talents with releases on Noir, Cajual and MadTech.
When: Friday, April 14, 12pm-3am
Where: Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai
Price: AED100 for early bird tickets, AED200 on the door and AED350 pool side