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Meet Ali Aloulou

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ali Aloulou.

Ali, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m born and raised in Tunis, that’s where my musical journey started. My passion for music manifested itself since childhood as I grew up in a musical family. I was playing in different bands in high school. Then came the time when I felt the need to live something new. I moved to Paris, got my Masters in Architecture and an “Urban Music Certificate” from SAE Institute. I was working and making music but it felt like music can’t really become a career. Because of personal financial problems, I had to focus all my time and energy on what can be my source of income. I have made peace with the fact that music is going to become just a hobby that I’m really passionate about.

As starting a professional life in Paris didn’t feel very exciting, I moved to Dubai and had to dedicate my self fully to Architecture. I was still making music on the side for fun, releasing music on SoundCloud, nothing too serious. Until the day DJ MoCity, a Dubai based promoter who liked a song that I’ve released, offered me to perform at the same event as Daedelus! That was a great opportunity for me. I bought my first DJ controller (That I still use) and learned how to mix. The trust and belief I got from Mocity is what gave me the force to give music another chance.

Since this happened, I kept making music and performing out of passion with no expectation. It escalated gradually to taking part of Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp, working on projects with Leo Burnett, Poetic Kinetics, performing yearly at Sole DXB, touring in South Africa, Philippines, Prague, Tunisia, Turkey… sharing stages with Ekali, Joey Bada$$, Y2K, Damianito, Soulection’s Jarreau Vandal, Joe Kay, working with brands like Red Bull, Apple, Puma, Shure, Mixcloud, organizing my own events in collaboration with Edition and Renaissance hotels, I scored a movie…

I suddenly realized that I was making more income through music than architecture. I negotiated a part-time deal with my company, they accepted. I saw that as a step towards full-time music career but had to still play it safe by keeping a part-time stable work. I kept doing this for a bit until I reached a point where I felt like there’s not much more I can do in Dubai musically. I thought that in order to pursue seriously music as a career, I needed to move to Los Angeles as the type of music I do (Hip-Hop/Trap and sometimes EDM) is very popular here. Plus, this is a city that has a real infrastructure around artists, a real music industry to offer. I applied for an US residency, I got it and here I am.

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve been through some personal situations that were really hard but made me stronger and more focused, also made me realize the value of time. I was studying and having two or three jobs in the same time… I am a positive person, means that out of a real problem or situation I try to read it, face it, deal with it, fix it, take a “moral” out of it and go to the next thing. So any negative experience I’ve been through isn’t seen as fully negative from my perspective, I see the positive that I can juice out of it more.

The hardest thing for me was that I realized that I wanted to be a professional musician at a time where I had to still be architect, for financial reasons. I wasn’t able to afford time off and focus on the music. So I had to keep doing both for a while, if you include studies and work, that’s a long time that made the process slower. It couldn’t have been any different for me. Another challenging thing was to build a team, to find the right people to work with when I started to reach that point in Dubai, I moved to LA so I have to rebuild my entourage.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I produce music for rappers and singers. I write and I arrange music. I compose music for movies and commercials. I mix and master. These are basically the different activities that define my work.

I’m known for blending Hip-Hop with North African and Middle Eastern sounds and I think that’s what makes my music special (You can listen to my EP Zoetrope I’m expanding that side of my music to something that isn’t necessarily from my region, but rather sounds that are relevant to the culture and origins of the artist I work with. That’s what I’ve done in my collaboration with the South African rapper Ka$h CPT:

The thing that I’m the most proud of is collaborations and the ability to be diverse and working with no genre restrictions. You can listen to my Afrobeats collaboration with Dubai based artist, Seki Supervillain:

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the world to be if you’re making music and especially Hip-Hop. I wouldn’t honestly recommend this city to start. It’s so busy and oversaturated with great talent that it can be very demotivating and intimidating to be here in the beginnings. It can be difficult to reach out to collaborators, artists, venues, studios, brands, sponsors… So I believe it’s better to start somewhere else, smaller and more manageable, where you can make a name for your self, build relationships and presence, then take all that experience and be ready for the real deal. This is the city of dreams, everybody comes here trying to achieve their goals, that makes it a chaotically great city.

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