DJ Bliss: Producer, Presenter and DJ

Marwan Parham, popularly known as DJ Bliss, has taken the music scene in Dubai by storm. After winning numerous awards here in the Middle East, including Viva’s Bachelor Of The Year, being part of Ahlan’s Hot 100 and finally winning 2012’s Best Urban Night, DJ Bliss has become the UAE’s leading personality. In a world where dreams can be hard to attain, Parham teaches aspiring DJs and artists alike that all you need is passion and perseverance to get the ball rolling. We got the chance to catch up with the DJ himself to talk about early beginnings, aspirations and major highlights.

 

Obviously things didn’t just happen for you. How did you manage your way into the music industry (initially) and later into the entertainment and TV industry?
It started off when I was in high school; I used to run my high school radio station- so that got me into the radio business. Music wise, my brother taught me how to play the guitar and we used to just jam. As far as DJing is concerned, I loved music and being part of the radio station at school, which, I guess, led me to pursue music.

 

You’re on a radio show,TV show, managing BLISS inc, MCing and producing your own music. How have you managed to juggle all of these things as well as have a social life of your own?
I don’t have much of a social life, to be honest with you, but I’m lucky that my social life revolves around all the jobs that I do. The reason why it all runs very smoothly is because I have such a great team. They are all so involved in what I do; they manage my schedule, support me when I need help and run a lot of things for me in the office which allows me to work on my passion, which is production and DJing.

 

Why did you choose to become a DJ? How does the whole DJ experience make you feel?
I don’t think I chose to become a DJ. I never really thought that DJing was what I wanted to do, nor did I think that’s what I would end up doing. It just happened, really. My interest in radio just turned into DJing at high school parties, doing events, then club gigs and finally concerts. Even today, when I think back, I never remember thinking ‘I want to become a DJ’.
 

Do you feel like you look to any other DJs or artists when creating new music? Where do you take your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from everything and everyone. Everyone I see who is doing something successful and bringing joy to their lives gives me a form of inspiration. Whether it’s a musician, cleaner, teacher etc. I just look at what they are doing and take bits and pieces from their tasks. I figure a way to interpret them into my own music. Of course, I look at the greats like Bob Marley and Tupac, and I learn from everything they did, to get to their point of success.
 

 

Since your first single ‘Let It Go’ was released and you got your big break on TV as a host of ‘That’s Entertainment’, do you feel like anything has changed for you? Are people treating you differently? Are things getting easier for you? 
It does get a little bit easier, but it only gets easier for your next project. It’s just like getting a job. Once you’ve gotten experience from your first job, it’s easier to get your second job.I constantly try and work hard on what I’m doing. In order for me to progress from DJing, to radio, to MCing and finally to TV, it was always a constant struggle which requires a lot of perseverance and dedication.
 

What was it like to be on the set of your own music video ‘Let It Go’?
It was really cool, I really enjoyed it. I had Kardinal Offishall with me on set (since he was featured on the song) and because he’s such a great friend of mine, he made the whole experience so much more fun. I was also pretty ‘hands on’ with the whole process. The director let me get involved with the editing and creative development, and because it was such a great experience, I think I want to get involved with production and the creation of music videos in the future.
 

“I constantly try and work hard on what I’m doing.”

 

Is there alot of competition for you within UAE’s DJ and music scene? If so, how do you deal with it?
Competition is very healthy, it’s very good. The more competition there is, the better the quality of the music and DJs.
 

The more competitive it gets, the more effort people put into their work so that they can stand out more than the others. I personally love competition, I love seeing other DJs produce their own version of the same piece of music. Dubai is slowly progressing into a great place for DJs to be.
 

What has been the highlight of the past 5 years for you? (within your career) 
One of my major highlights occurred quite recently; I was co-producing a song for Wyclef and the Fugees. This was so surreal to me, because back in high school I was listening and dancing to their musuc. Skip forward a couple of years and I’m producing a song for them. That’s crazy!
 

 

If you weren’t a DJ and a TV host, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
I think I’d probably become a pilot; just because I like travelling and touring the world. Learning about new cultures and ethics has always interested me.
 

What’s the hardest thing about DJing at a professional level?
As a DJ, it’s your duty to keep the crowd entertained, so you can’t let your mood affect the way you perform, interact with the crowd or what you say. You’re just one guy at a concert or club that thousands of people are watching and are depending on to have fun. You are controlling everything they do, so you cannot let anything get in the way of that.
 

You were a winner of the Timeout nightlife awards back in 2011 for best local DJ, you’ve also won ‘Best Urban Night’ in 2012 and you’ve been in Ahlan’s hot 100 for four years running, do you have any other dreams you wish to accomplish within the near future? 
Although these awards and titles mean so much to me, and I appreciate them immensely, getting a major international award would be a dream come true. If I got an MTV award, I don’t even know what I would do.
 

“..The more competitive it gets, the more effort people put into their work so that they can stand out more than the others.”

 

What’s a typical music session like for you? Do you have any specific routines or rituals you do when coming up with the next single? 
There is definitely a right time for making music, so as much as I try to plan and organize studio sessions; if the energy and mood isn’t right, then the whole situation and work environment is affected by it. Whenever the ambiance in the studio is right, my creative side comes out.
 

There’s alot of talk about your upcoming album “QB7 Made in Dubai” What can we expect from this album? Will the songs be similar to ‘Let It Go’? 
It actually won’t. ‘Let It Go’ will be on the album, but the album itself is completely different from anything that you would have expected from me. It has a lot of radio songs, there are ballads on there, African songs, R&B songs and hip-hop songs. So there’s practically everything on there. I believe a mix of all these things contributes to the production of a fantastic album. It’s also a combination of features from local and international artists.
 

Do you have any countries or locations you’d love to DJ or MC at?
One country I’d love to go to is Japan. I’ve heard that the culture scene there is just phenomenal. My brothers went and loved it. So, Japan is definitely a place I want to cross off my bucket list.
 

 

To get the latest updates on DJ Bliss, head over to his website at: www.djbliss.com

 

photos by Wesco Tauber
cover photo by Nizar Al-sibai

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