The United Arab Emirates has a reputation for being both hot and wealthy, but who are the richest musicians in Dubai? Wealthy musicians in the Emirates trend locally, although artists from all over the world perform there and can temporarily change this list when they’re in Dubai.
10. Iyad Rimawi – $1.5 million
Although originally born in 1973 in Syria, Rimawi has since focused on performing in many other parts of the Arab world. He started playing guitar by 12 and soon began composing his own music, but focused on mechanical engineering at university before changing to prioritize music.
Rimawi has had a startling career, where he was the first Arab artist to sign on with Sony Music’s Middle East division. He was also the first Arab musician to perform at the largest indoor concert hall in the Middle East (Dubai’s World Trade Centre Arena), where he has sung several more times since.
While he’s entirely capable of excellent vocals, Rimawi focuses more on instrumental music, with a particular focus on soundtracks for music and television. Although these jobs don’t let him earn as much as superstar performers, his long list of credits shows that other creators consistently value his work.
9. Yasser Habeeb – $2 million
Active mainly from 2001-2006 in producing music, Yasser Habeeb is both a producer and a singer. His standout song, Elama, mixed in a range of Indian influences that resonated throughout the Gulf area. Despite being an excellent singer in his own right, Habeeb’s often focused more on song composition and has leaned on others to write lyrics.
Habeeb is also quite flexible in his work, showing different speeds and styles in his performances. Following his breakout hits, including Platinum status by 2001, Habeeb has performed on many stages and remains involved with other artists.
However, most of his wealth comes from his impressive performance during his early career, with continued sales of his work across the globe contributing to his overall income.
8. Ahmed Bukhatir – $3 million
Born in 1975, Bukhatir had a different start for music than most other artists on this list. As a middle child in a group of ten, he spent several years learning a form of reciting the Quran known as Tajwid and leveraged that into professional singing. He focuses on performing without instruments, a major departure from most artists.
Over the years, Bukhatir has released several albums, with a range of performances in not just Arabic, but English and French on top of that. He’s also an actor, businessman, and senator, which likely explains why his last album was from 2010.
Although his songs have been generally well-received, his wealth mainly comes from business and political activities. The situation is unusual enough that it’s hard to say if he truly fits this list, but he’s performed enough as a musician that it’s only fair to include him.
7. Shamma Hamdan – $4 million
Rising to fame in the locally-focused Arabs Got Talent, Hamdan is a relatively young singer with a focus on stronger vocals. She mixes singing with guitar work, and unlike some of the others on this list, her wealth primarily comes from music sales and similar events.
Hamdan focuses on Khaleeji music, a traditional Gulf style that typically uses a mix of string and percussion instruments. Khaleeji works with multiple genres of music and has remained one of the mainstays in the area.
Hamdan isn’t at the top of this list, but considering her estimated worth and comparative youth, there’s a strong chance that she’ll place much higher in the future.
6. Hamdan Al Abri – $5 million
Born in 1981, Abri has been singing for most of his life. His father was a prominent musician in Zanzibar, and he studied a range of music and techniques during his international education before returning home to focus on music.
Abri is most well-known for his distinctive vocals, where he’s performed in places up to and including the 2012 London Olympics. He also saw tremendous growth early in his career, going from a nomination for Best New Act in 2008 to one of the highest-selling performances in the Emirates by 2012.
Although an excellent composer in his own right, Abri’s discography is relatively small, with only a few albums and none of them particularly recent. Instead, most of his money comes from partnerships and performances, including touring with and opening for artists like Arrested Development, Shaggy, and Kanye West.
5. Ruwaida al-Mahrouqi – $5 million
Born in 1975, Ruwaida al-Mahrouqi got her start in the music world early, winning a contest at eight years old and transitioning from there to studying television directing at university. Since then, she’s released several albums through Rotana Records (the largest recording label in that part of the world) alongside acting and directing roles.
al-Mahrouqi has over 1.7 million followers on (quite high for an Arabic-focused artist), and her wealth primarily comes from a mix of enduring album popularity, acting positions, and senior directing roles. In other words, while she is a musician, that’s only a part of her income and places her in a different space than entirely music-focused artists.
Most of al-Mahrouqi’s expenses focus on performance and lifestyle, including travel and other expenses. She’s earned a lot of money in just the past few years, however, so these costs have only slowed her growth in net worth rather than stopping it.
4. Balqees Ahmed Fathi – $5 million
Balqees usually goes by a mononym instead of her full name, debuting in 2013 with a hit first album and continuing with several more albums and a range of singles from there. Thus far in her career, Balqees has shown a strong preference for individual songs, with enough for several additional albums.
Her music focuses on a mix of opera and pop, and much of that has gone over well in Dubai. Aside from her popularity, which is high enough to get ten million views in about a month for some videos on YouTube, she was also married to a Saudi Arabian businessman for several years and likely got some money from that.
Balqees remains active in music, often putting out several singles a year. Between ad revenue and concerts, we can expect her total net worth to rise significantly in the next few years.
(For more about pop music, including why it’s so enduringly entertaining, check out our guide on the genre.)
3. Hussain Al Jassmi – $7 million
With more than half a billion views on some individual videos, there’s no doubt that Hussain Al Jassmi is one of the most popular performers in the Emirates. After launching his career in 2002, Al Jassmi has held concerts around the world, earning a large part of his wealth from ticket sales to events.
Of note, he’s performed at a Christmas concert at the Vatican (the first Arab musician to do so) and was part of the opening ceremony for Dubai’s Expo 2020. Al Jassmi focuses on the piano in performances, but often adds vocals and does original compositions to add to his shows.
Like the other wealthier figures on this list, Al Jassmi is likely to continue growing his net worth through additional shows, and can realistically expect a decent amount of revenue from YouTube, Spotify, and other streaming services.
2. Abdullah Bilkhair – $8 million
Easily one of the richest and most famous singers in Dubai, Bilkhair has a surprising depth and range to his performances. Early in his career, he focused mainly on offstage things, along with some comedy that helped him gather fans. Those followers formed the basis of his change into music, where his distinctive voice makes him instantly recognizable in the UAE.
While he’s made plenty of his wealth from music alone, Bilkhair is famous enough in the area to take on well-paid acting roles, show up in musicals, and even help judge talent shows. In other words, he’s closer to what English-speaking areas would call a celebrity instead of a pure musician, especially because his voice is his primary draw.
Bilkhair was born in 1950, making him one of the oldest performers on this list. Accordingly, his net worth isn’t likely to rise too much more, though that shouldn’t be taken to diminish his impressive accomplishments.
1. Ahlam Al Shamsi – $25 million
Easily one of the top performers in the United Arab Emirates, Ahlam is an impressively prolific singer and actress who’s worked with a range of record labels. She’s released fourteen albums since her debut in 1995, and her 15 million fans on Instagram make her one of the most-followed figures in all of the Middle East.
Ahlam’s wealth comes mainly from her music, where her long discography and overall popularity have seen surging sales over the years. She’s also earned a moderate amount performing for various shows, including as a judge for performing competitions, and has shown up at a wide range of events worldwide.
Aside from her income, Ahlam also benefits from her marriage to a Qatari champion race car driver. Mubarak Al-Hajri is independently successful, with over 450 trophies for top placements, and his income mixed with Ahlam’s has elevated her overall net worth much higher than the other richest musicians in Dubai.
Richest Musicians In Dubai, Final Thoughts
The richest musicians in Dubai aren’t quite as wealthy as some celebrities in other parts of the world, but they showcase a range of tones, styles, and focuses matched in few places around the world. Dubai is home to a little bit of everything.