Arts Chat: Building a Life As An Artist in the UAE (Part 3)
Presented in partnership with The Arts Center at NYUAD and the NYUAD Career Development Center
In our continuing series on building a life as an artist in the UAE, this conversation will delve into current opportunities and challenges that artists are facing with careers based in the country. Hear from singer and songwriter Jerome Deligero; singer and actress, Brianna Corrigan, and visual artist Maitha Abdalla as they share how they have navigated creating work across various genres.
Jerome Deligero is a singer/songwriter born, raised, and based in Dubai. Producing and writing lush guitar-driven indie-pop. Deligero’s music is the observation of life before his eyes. Jerome’s writing is a combination of hope and worry.
Deligero is primarily known in the music scene as a sideman. Playing guitar for multiple artists. Opening for acts like Khalid, Snow Patrol & Morcheeba. However, that is changing as he has opened for multiple-grammy award-winning artist Jacob Collier at the Expo2020 performing as the frontman. .
Briana trained in performing arts at The University of Northumbria and went on to achieve a masters degree in creative writing at Queens University, Belfast, achieving first class honors. She started her professional life as lead singer for the English band, The Beautiful South, with whom Briana enjoyed international success. During her time with the band they released three UK top 3 albums and various singles including the UK Chart Topping No 1, A Little Time which also won a UK Brit Award for Best Video. Briana’s time with the band culminated in the release of the 5x platinum UK no.1 album, Carry on Up the Charts which was one of the fastest selling albums in UK chart history. During her six years as a member of the band Briana toured extensively throughout the British Isles and Europe, and travelled throughout Canada, USA, Japan, New Zealand and Australia also, appearing regularly on media both homegrown and internationally. As a solo artist she has released two self-penned albums. When My Arms Wrap You Round was released on East West (Warner’s Bros) and the first single I Need You All To Love Me reached the UK charts top 30, Redbird was released on her own label, Redbird&Anchor. As a singer and songwriter, Briana has collaborated with and appeared on a broad spectrum of fellow artists albums; from the cult alt country sensation, Bonnie Prince Billie, to a self-penned track on one of the popular Buddha Bar series albums. She has recently finished her third album which is due for UK release June 2022. Briana trained as an actor and has various credits as such on stage, film and TV. Her poetry has appeared in reputable poetry magazines and her first commissioned play toured Ireland and Scotland to positive reviews.
Briana runs her own creative training consultancy, The Creative Train, and has traveled internationally and locally serving clients such as Naspers, Dubizzle, Brunswick, JP Morgan and Taqa. She is also employed part time as Lead Rock & Pop Specialist at The British School Al Khubairat. Recently she has created a collective of Abu Dhabi based musicians from across the globe, The Collective. Their first album is due for release December 10th.
As if harnessing the subconscious, Maitha Abdalla’s work oscillates between the diaphanous, vibrant and surreal, and is always marked by an atmosphere of reminiscence and nostalgia. Often evolved into series articulating strong cultural narratives, her paintings and mixed media works are assemblages of memory, travel and human interactions. Informed by exchanges and experiences, her socially driven commentaries on the human condition reveal astute, intuitive observations on the world around her, in a narrative form. A particularly influential encounter was with the children of an orphanage, where Maitha taught English and art. The motifs of childhood began to permeate her work after this time, becoming an eloquent vernacular in which she further explores the difference between the imaginary and the real; mapping the liminal space between these interconnected worlds, she plays out many questions of social and cultural identity.