Hussain Spek Yoosuf, PopArabia - Founder / Board Director
Beginning his career as a successful songwriter, recording artist and producer in his native Canada, Spek is a former member of Canadian hip hop pioneers, Dream Warriors; a group that sold over 1 million records worldwide and racked up Top 20 hits in Canada, the UK and across Europe. In the late 90’s he relocated to London where he toured extensively as a member of the UK’s multi-million selling jazz rap crew Us3 and collaborated with British virtuoso Nitin Sawhney on his Mercury Prize nominated and South Bank award winning album, ‘Beyond Skin’; An album that was highly touted in the UK press by both Sting and Madonna. As a solo artist Spek released his album ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’ in 2001 to rave reviews. London's Q Magazine called it ‘infuriatingly catchy and rather special’ while Loaded Magazine described it as ‘…Like De La Soul and Prince in a mucky mudwrestle. Exceptional.’ Giving the album a 10 out of 10 review. In August 2001 his single 'Look Me Up' reached #1 most requested video on MTV UK's Daily Chart Live.
After years of working as a songwriter/ artist, Spek was appointed UK & European Representative by Ole Media Management in 2005. Based out of London he sourced acquisitions and sought new business opportunities for the Canadian music publisher with over $100 million in initial financing. Throughout this period he signed signature deals with leading US animator DiC Entertainment, independent music publisher Bucks Music and he led the acquisition of global animation properties Benjamin Bear and Rollbots.
In 2007, Spek relocated to the Middle East where he founded and launched Fairwood Music (Arabia), the first full service music publisher in the United Arab Emirates. Through this period the company represented Universal Music Publishing, EMI Music Publishing, Cherry Lane Music (now BMG Rights Management) and Roy Orbison Music. In 2011 Spek launched PopArabia with support from twofour54.
Spek was the music supervisor on numerous projects, including the Make A Wish TV series & Emirati feature films 'City of Life' & 'From A to B' (both directed by UAE Director Ali F. Mostafa) and he has composed music in numerous other advertising, television and film projects over the years. As a strong advocate for the development of a local music industry, he speaks regularly at international events on intellectual property and music industry matters.
He is the Chair/ Founder of the Middle East Music Publishers Association (MEMPA) and holds a M.B.A from the University of Liverpool, with a specialization in International Business. Over the years Spek has also represented the UAE as a member of the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) and as the Vice-Chair of the ICMP's, Popular Bureau (2014-2016).
Yassine Watson-Bedaisi, PopArabia - Managing Director
Yassine is an accomplished intellectual property expert, with a passion for music and languages (he is fluent in English, Arabic & Spanish). Born and raised in the UK, he started his career in London, before eventually settling in the United Arab Emirates.
Yassine’s career began with a formative 5 year period at Warner Bros. Entertainment UK, which included a litigation secondment at Olswang LLP. Working his way from intern level through to post-qualification, he advised on a broad variety of commercial and contentious matters. These included film production agreements on blockbuster releases (including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inception and Sherlock Holmes); marketing and promotional deals (including music licensing for a pan-European campaign for Rock of Ages); IP enforcement related to WB properties; as well as numerous other commercial and employment matters.
Seeking new challenges, Yassine relocated to the UAE in 2012 to join Rouse; a leading specialist IP firm originating in the UK with offices in Dubai. Through this period he managed trademark portfolios and advised on anti-counterfeiting initiatives for major multinational brands (including occasionally assisting officers of the Dubai Department of Economic Development on raids of warehouses storing counterfeit goods).
Yassine joined PopArabia in 2014. As Managing Director, he runs the day to day operations of the company including music licensing, music supervision and working closely with twofour54 and relevant stakeholders on initiatives seeking to improve the music industry and creative infrastructure within the UAE and throughout the MENA region.
Music Publishing, Music rights middle east, Qatar, Lebanon, consultancy, collecting society, Egypt, Music Library, Composition services, PopArabia, Hussain Spek Yoosuf, Dream Warriors, twofour54, music