CV: Izzy founded Freshly Ground Sounds in November 2013 as a small collective of local musicians. Since then it has flourished to become a UAE-wide platform for independent music, creatives and local brands.

In addition to working with home-grown venues, musicians and initiatives, Izzy helps to coach young musicians and reaches out to exchange ideas with local people and start-ups with an interest in live original music.

Where it began: “One of the many things I missed about living in London was the local music scene and the community associated with it. When I returned to the UAE in 2013, the gap in the market for access (for both musicians and music lovers) to independent, local music was apparent.

“I got a few musicians together, did a bit of branding, set up an e-mail account, and that has turned into what we know as Freshly Ground Sounds today. It started at the right time, in the right place, and as a musician and a music lover, I’m so glad it did.”

Dreaming big: “My ultimate goal is to create a community-based creative platform in the UAE, not only for the local residents, but also to put Dubai on the map as a city with a thriving cultural hub, full of original talent.”

What winning means to me: “Aside from the personal achievement of this recognition, winning this award would be a significant milestone for the UAE’s art and culture scene. It would really shine a spotlight on the city’s art galleries, local coffee shops, freelance designers, musicians, photographers, start-ups, entrepreneurs and volunteers.”

Photographed by: Farooq Salik  | Assisted by: Kristina Nabieva