Ahlan! Qatar Chats to Qatari Singer Dana Al Fardan

Fresh from the launch of her debut album Paint, the one-woman dynamo has big plans to boost the careers of other talented Qatari performers
ByJessica Bailey Ackerman Monday , 23 December 2013
Ahlan! Qatar Chats to Qatari Singer Dana Al Fardan
Dana says her new album is about "looking inside and uncovering the different layers of paint that make up people as individuals"

Dana Al Fardan is not standing still. The Qatar singer, songwriter and musician is juggling her career and a new baby while developing ideas to improve opportunities for local musicians. We sat her down for a few moments to find out more.

Congratulations on the launch of your first album Paint. Tell us a little bit about it.
This has been a dream come true for me as for as long as I can remember. I have always had a deep-rooted love for music. My album is my personal journey, it’s about self-expression and growth. It’s about introspection; looking inside and uncovering the different layers of paint that make up people as individuals. I have spent the past two years formulating this body of work, so to be able to present that to everyone was a huge step and to receive such support and positive feedback has been the best possible result I could have asked for.

You've switched careers from gemology to music – quite a change! What made you decide to start a new career?
Jewellery has always been a part of my family’s life, but my lifelong passion for music has been on my mind and it was something that I knew I wanted to pursue over and above my career in jewellery.

Having recently become a mum for the first time, how do you find juggling your career and family responsibilities?
I’m very lucky to have found someone that understands and appreciates my passion. My husband has been there every step of the way and continues to stand by me, which makes juggling my career and family that much easier. My family is and will always be my priority! My daughter, Layla, has kept me inspired; she was literally with me during the entire process as I recorded the album during my pregnancy. As a consequence, she loves music! So she's always with me when I’m working on songs or when I’m rehearsing.

As a musician in Qatar, what do you think needs to happen to really boost the live music scene here? We get quite a lot of visiting overseas acts and some local cover bands, but there's not a lot of original music nights around...
Qatar is full of talented individuals and the state has been very proactive in encouraging young people to embrace their creativity and express themselves. Our schools have great drama and music programs. I hope to be able to help and guide other young people interested in music. I plan to build a recording studio in Qatar eventually to provide a base for artists; the sky is my limit when it comes to encouraging local talent! I would also like to start community programs to help song writers hone their skills.

Do you find being a woman makes it harder to be taken seriously as a musician?
No, I believe music is a way of self-expression and that cannot be solely about one gender. It’s unique to each individual. I think specifically in Qatar, women are becoming more and more empowered with a lot of support throughout the community.

Which musicians or singers do you really admire?
I could go on for ages about all the artists I love, but I am a massive fan of Sia. I love Marina and the Diamonds, she has such a powerful voice and I am currently obsessed with Imagine Dragons – their debut album is brilliant. There have been so many artists that have inspired me it would be impossible to name only one. When I was younger, I was a die-hard Michael Jackson fan and constantly listened to Aerosmith.

Now that the first album is out, what's next for you?
Ideally, I would like to launch another album in 2015. I also want to be able to give back to my country, helping and inspiring young talented people to express themselves.

INFO: Paint is available for download on iTunes.