Rayan Bailouni Is Crafting Dubai’s New Sound


Rayan Bailouni is a music producer, sound engineer and songwriter based in Dubai. He is the Head of Audio at CTG Productions and also the Community Ambassador for Nomad DXB, the first platform of its kind in the world serving as an integrated development with centres for entrepreneurship, media, culinary arts, makerspace, gaming and technology.

We had a short conversation with Rayan on how he became a music producer, and what are his views and approaches with artists in the Middle East Region.


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⏲ Artists/singers/producers put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed. Most of the time the pressure you’re feeling is purely expectations you have of yourself. This is a great thing to have, but it shouldn’t be something that disrupts you. It should be the one thing that drives you to keep going, keep releasing and make more music. . Pressure is when the world expects something of you. So don’t let your expectations stop you from sharing your art. If anything, try to earn pressure. ⏲ . #rayanproducer #beatlab #beatmaking #producerlife #beat #musicproducers #dubaiproducer #jamming #maschine #nativeinstruments #native #mikro #drums #hiphop #dubaimusic #inthestudio #flstudio #rapbeats #hiphopbeats #beatstars #trap #rap #beatmakers

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1) It’s amazing that you’re actually doing your dream job as your main career?

Yes 100%. In 2015 when I quit my job, I left the pharmaceutical industry because my heart and passion was in the music field. At that point it never seemed as a reliable career path in this part of the region. But in 2015 I finally made the jump and turned my passion into a profession.

2) So when did you start producing  music?

At 15 years of age I was always trying to learn different audio and recording software’s to record myself playing guitar. However I only really got into the technical side of it when recording demos for my band’s (Coat of Arms) album “A Shade of Red” in 2015. We didn’t have the funds to to pay for  it to be professionally engineered. Our guitarist, Amir said he felt with enough practice I would be able to produce and engineer the whole thing.

After that album, a few bands hit me up asking if I would do their records. That’s when I finally realised that I would  be able to do it full time. I wanted to dive into it as deep as I could, so I immersed myself into learning everything. I started working on every genre I could so I could experiement with the areas of crossovers I felt existed between them.


3) Who are you inspired by when it comes to producing music?

To be honest, it’s a very hard question for me to answer, because I never really identified with one genre. So in general a lot of the music that I’m inspired by is normally music that has a lot of escapism to it. It’s why I fell in love with music to begin with. It has to have some element of emotional intensity to it. That’s what inspires me the most, the ability to push the limit of an emotion. So there are a lot of producers that I take that attribute from. Producers like RickRubin, Noah 40 Shebib, Chris Lorde Alge, Mike Dean and Murda Beatz are some that I could note.


4) You’ve been involved with the project called Nomad DXB. I want to know more about it as it’s a very interesting initiative that’s happening in the U.A.E when it comes to music?


I was announced as the community ambassador for Nomad DXB back in June 2019 and from around then until the time of the bootcamp, the Nomad team and I were trying to curate a project and initiative where we could empower the community. We wanted to create a sense of excitement for “grassroot” artists. We decided to have a two week bootcamp, held at SAE Institute, with 15 members. They were made from independent artists, entry level artists and SAE students.

The idea of the bootcamp was to basically share as much information as possible on how the music industry works. We wanted to give them a guideline of how to operate in the scene at a high level. It  was predominantly about how they could navigate the music world in both the UAE and internationally.


5) I think this is a great initiative by Nomad DXB because it gives hope for the artists over here that gives them an ecosystem to help them.

Absolutely, it was one of our main objectives when putting the boot camp together. The idea was how we could empower the home grown talent and push them into the global market. We want to break the stigma that you have to travel somewhere else to make quality content.  A place like the UAE is not short on available resources, bur lacking when it comes to legitimate focus points for education and learning about how to make the next step in your career. Resources always change but lack of knowledge is what needs to be addressed first, and that;s  what we did.

6) What’s next for the talent and artist that are part of Nomad DXB?

Due to the current situation of what’s going around globally with Covid-19, its difficult for me to say what’s next but most definitely right after this storm ends, we do have a series of post release announcements forall of the members at Nomad. All I can say is that the artists have new music coming up and new releases. In terms of Nomad DXB, we are looking to open the first facility of its kind where all different creators can go and develop their art and craft in an actual incubator that’s designated for this field.


7) A Lot of upcoming artists drop albums at their first stage of their music career? What’s your say on it?

I think it’s very obvious that dropping albums for upcoming artists doesn’t work in today’s environment. Consumer behavior has changed so much when it comes to digesting music. Albums are a waste of time because majority of it won’t get heard. You’re a new artist in the market, people need to understand your identity, they want to ‘get’ you. Albums definitely help towards that, if attention spans weren’t so  low. We’re talking seconds to make an impression, not minutes. So singles definitely work a lot better to help the audience understand who you are.

People nowadays have such  short attention spans. If you’re releasing an album and people don’t already know about you, then its going to be tough to get their attention for more than a few minutes. If you release a single, you have a better chance of creating some buzz around it. Get people to talk about it recommend it to their friends.


8) How did you feel when you saw Russ commenting on one of your “Beat Labs” projects?

With everything that’s going on with the Covid-19, I had to reschedule my working hours because I’m now doing my sessions virtually, which means running to 7-8am. So I was already up around then, working on a beat for a project in London. I hear my phone ping. I look and it says “Russ has commented on one of your posts”. At first I thought it was like a troll account but when I opened it and realized, I just stared at the comment for 10 seconds, trying to understand how it happened.

Usually I see this when the comment is on someone else’s account but seeing it on my beat lab was a crazy moment  for sure. Russ is notoriously known for dividing opinion and stands as a role model for being self-sufficient and ever-confident about valuing yourself. So it meant a little more coming from someone who doesn’t give lip service. He wouldn’t have left the comment if he didn’t genuinely like it, if you get what I mean?

It’s so strange because everyone was asking me how long I was going to do these beat labs for? I had been saying that if one of these beats reaches 250,000 views or I reach 20,000 followers, something crazy was going to happen. It was just my way of putting the value of the process above the result. It was just crazy that both happened the  same day Russ left the message. I think it happened 10 minutes apart, so I don’t know if you could say it was something manifested, but I just thought it was a crazy coincidence.

9) What do you think of the artists in the Middle East Region?

I believe we are still at the stage of growing. I don’t think we’re short on talent by any means, we have so so many artists that could hold their weight, talent wise, at an international stage. The problem is lot of artists here are still missing out on the artistic identity, the ability to be unique or truly use music for a greater purpose. It’s still very much driven  by trying to attain something, or prove something, rather than build a portfolio of a message or meaning that you stand for. It’s something I’m sure well get to, but I definitely don’t think its because we don’t have the personnel, we do. It’s about connecting with the world about a true purpose that hasn’t already been done. It’s a matter of when, not if. I definitely see our region making it into the Global market very soon.


10) What message would you like to convey to up and coming musicians out there?

I would encourage everyone out there to be brave and courageous when working on their art. Always be excited when someone out there is hating on your music because the best art is when people argue or debate over it. That’s when you’re truly translating emotion and getting  emotional reactions to what you create. It’s a lot better than people enjoying something for 2 minutes, and having no emotional reaction. So be brave, be bold and remember that consistency and patience is the game.