- 10 Jul 18
From DJing in local Galway clubs to being one of the top selling dance artists in the Middle East, Shaun Warner’s story is both bizarre and triumphant. He talks to Peter McGoran about Dubai nightlife, his new album Stay, and returning to Ireland.
A humid afternoon in the Westin Hotel. Galway lad Shaun Warner is flicking through an app called ‘Anghami’ – the Middle-Eastern equivalent of Spotify – to show me a bit of what he’s been up to these last few years. It explains a lot actually, because although his face isn’t a familiar one on the playlists of your average western streaming service, on Anghami, he has upwards of 500,000 people listening to his music. Over tea and biscuits in the Westin bar (and after having laughed at how woefully underdressed we both are for such a fine establishment), Shaun fills me in on how he became one of the biggest musicians in the Persian Gulf.
“I started off DJing in a bar in Galway at 16,” he tells me. “It was a place called Cuba. A few people were helping me out, and eventually I started playing at the GPO there. Then I got my own night, playing my own stuff. I worked my way up so that I could feel comfortable moving to Dublin.
“I moved to Dublin and I was working my balls off, doing my day job five days a week, and DJing six days a week. Then my day job asked me if I wanted a promotion. My boss literally said to me: ‘Either shit or get off the pot.’ So I said: ‘Thanks for everything, but I think I’ll get off the pot!’”