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JESS Alumni Debut as Stars

by Eddie Rayner

Former JESS students are making a global name for themselves in Music and the Performing Arts.

Arista Records, an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, has announced that it has signed 21-year-old synth-pop artist and former Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) Dubai student Julian Lamadrid. “He has the potential to have worldwide success. He’s a complete artist,” David Massey, CEO of Arista Records, explained.

Talking about Julian’s musical journey, Matt Price, Head of JESS Music, added: “As part of his IB Programme, Julian was making his own electronic compositions and using the JESS recording studios to record his own music.”

“To go from sitting alone in my bedroom writing these songs to all of a sudden getting attention from labels was somewhat ridiculous,” says Julian. “In the course of only two weeks, I met with various industry executives and was flown out to L.A. for the first time in my life.  I couldn’t believe it.”

Taking the ‘West End’ by storm

Harrison Wilde, a Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS) alumnus, has just landed his debut role in the West End production of Mamma Mia! at the Theatre Royal in London.

“I have been a performer for as long as I can remember,” Harrison explains. “From my early school days at JESS in Dubai, performing has always been at the centre of who I am, although I didn’t start dancing properly and learning about musical theatre until I was 13, which then made me realise this is the career I wanted.”

Harrison is set to play cover for Eddie and Pepper, as well as play an ensemble role. “Mamma Mia! has a long and wonderful history on the West End and I am extremely proud and privileged to have been selected after many rounds of auditions,” said Harrison. “I am delighted to be doing this show with an incredibly talented cast of performers, so it is going to be fabulous fun on stage every night!”