ABU DHABI // A UAE alternative rock band, Juliana Down, has received two nominations for Asia's first independent music awards. The Dubai-based quartet was nominated for best rock song and its lead singer, Dia Hassan, was given a nod in the best rock vocalist category by the Asia Voice Independent Music Awards, a new award created by the Malaysian entertainment website www.voize.my to honour bands in the region that have generally worked only with small, independent recording labels or have released their music themselves.
Juliana Down's manager, Saleh Hamed, said the group, which was signed by local management company Center Stage Management after playing the Dubai Desert Rock Festival in 2004, thought it was "fantastic to get recognition like this after so many years of hard work". "In the Middle East it is very difficult to get any opportunities to boost our music in terms of being recognised so let's hope this brings more attention to our fledgling scene and convinces some of the people in charge to invest in local talent."
The band released their first album Cause and Affect in 2006 and spent the following year touring the UK, Dubai and Bahrain. Last year, they supported Paul Weller at the Dubai Desert Rhythm Festival and they opened for Justin Timberlake at his Abu Dhabi show in Dec 2007. A UAE hip hop group, Omar Fights Back, was also nominated for best solo hip-hop act. More than 3,000 songs from 16 countries were considered for the awards, which will not be held in any one place, but will be presented via a webcast on March 29.
According to the award's founder, Siva Chandran, no other independent music awards includes so many countries. "We're not the Grammy's, and not even close to the glamour of the MTV Asia Awards, but in terms of support, AVIMA 2009 is perhaps one of the biggest supported music awards in the world." The awards will be decided by a panel of international judges and by fans, who can log on to the website to listen to songs and cast their votes.