Listen: Khaleeji music and K-pop come together in new Spotify song ‘Is it On’


Kuwait and Saudi Arabia meet Korea in new version of Spotify.

As part of the platform’s emerging artists initiative, Radar Mena, Kuwaiti-Saudi singer Bader Al Shuaibi is teaming up with K-pop artist AleXa to Is it on, a dance-pop number worthy of the summer.

The track is Radar Mena’s first collaboration with a K-pop number as it continues its mission to pair regional artists with international names.

Last month’s remix of Jordanian singer Issam Alnajjar’s viral hit is also released under the banner. Hadal Ahbek with Ali Gates and Loud Luxury from Canada, as well as the 2020s Save me, featuring British electronic music duo Hollaphonic and Lebanese soul singer Xriss.

Numbers don’t lie

While Is it on may initially look like a random pairing, the collaboration happened on the back of impressive streaming numbers.

“K-pop is doing incredibly well across the world, but especially in the Gulf, where we see K-Pop releases reaching # 1 on the charts,” says Wissam Khodur, Head of Artist and Label Partnerships at Spotify Mena to Dubai.

“Equally important is opening the export market to artists in both directions, growing their fan base globally and paving the way for more opportunities in their career development.

Al Shuaibi, 26, also sees the possibilities, with musical and physical boundaries more challenges to overcome.

“We are in 2021, we hardly see any border between cultures and peoples,” he says.

“This project is the result of globalization and my personal love for Korean pop culture.

“AleXa is an extremely talented artist and together I believe we’ve created the coolest cross-cultural collaboration ever.

Alexa adds: “I am very grateful for this collaboration. It’s a fresh and never heard of mix of cultures and sounds, ”she says.

“I can’t wait for our fans to hear this song all over the world.”

K-Pop a regional force

As global popularity attracts, Is it on will surely find a receptive audience in the region.

K-pop continues to be a dominant musical force in the Arab world with major groups BTS and Monsta X playing sold-out shows in Riyadh in 2019.

The UAE has also hosted major concerts, including the SM Town Live 2018 festival in Dubai with 10 acts including Exo, BoA and Super Junior.

Abu Dhabi also hosted a KCon event in 2016 with a pre-mega BTS celebrity.

Although it remains to be seen whether Is it on will become a hit, the collaboration between Al Shuaibi and AleXa proves that anyone can join the K-pop party.

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Read more:

‘Hadal Ahbek’: How Jordanian teenager Issam Alnajjar caught the attention of The Weeknd manager

The international rise of Korean pop music

How K-pop conquered India

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About Dawn Valle

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