Welcome to the World of RΛISINI: A Riveting Odyssey in Entrepreneurship, Music, Travel and Pop Culture
Unveiling My Passionate Pursuits in Life, Business, Music, Travel, and Pop Culture
If you are here, you know my story — if you dont, then this is the beginning.
For the first time in over 20 years, I am ecstatic to share my knowledge, life lessons, failures, successes, and adventures through this newsletter. It will include excerpts from my upcoming book, set to release in 2024. Alongside my personal journey, I will also recommend books, articles, and videos that have inspired and motivated me throughout my life. Stay tuned, and let us grow together!
Over the last two decades, I have ventured into the music, entertainment, fashion, tech, art, sports, and retail industries as a founder and investor. The road to success is often filled with twists and turns, and for some, it can be a roller coaster ride of extreme highs and lows.
Due to a hectic schedule and large projects that take up a lot of my time, I’m currently committed to writing one post per week. However, starting from September 2023, I shall increase my posts to two per week. All of my content is free and available to anyone who subscribes to my weekly newsletter. I believe that knowledge should be shared with everyone, and I want to contribute my part in making it accessible to all who could benefit from it. So, feel free to subscribe and join me on this journey!
That said, premium content, the full archives, discussion threads, Ask Me Anything threads, personal reflections, and other substantive posts will be largely limited to premium subscribers only. As a premium subscriber, you also get an invite to a subscriber-only Slack/Discord community and other resources.
Please subscribe-it’s $5/month or $55/year.
You can also become a founding member, where you will get a 15 Minutes consultation call with me, have access to super exclusive stories including access to my new Music before others, meet in person (if we are in the same city), invite to our events. All for $300 per year. [ This is also a great option if you happen to have, say, an employer-sponsored reading or education budget.]
👉🏻 Please note that all revenue generated from Substack, will be donated to help other writers on Substack and as well feed people in need.
Health and Happiness : Life’s Masterplan
My aim is to present you with a comprehensive plan that will guide you towards a fulfilling life. Drawing from my own experiences, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge and wisdom that I wish I had access to during my teens, twenties, and thirties. The insights, experiences, advice I will be sharing with you are designed to help you create your own masterplan for a happy, healthy life, as well as accumulate wealth and success.
I’ve come to the realization that one’s life loses its value in the absence of good health and happiness. These two elements are essential for a fulfilling existence, and their absence can make life seem meaningless.
As someone who has led an extraordinary life, one that many can only envision or witness on the big screen, I have come to recognize that my achievements bear little significance if I do not prioritize my well-being and contentment. My personal experience has taught me that good health and happiness are the fundamental building blocks to a truly fulfilling and meaningful life.
I have experienced both tremendous success and devastating failure. Despite hitting rock bottom multiple times, I have always fought my way back and emerged victorious. As an entrepreneur, investor, and DJ/Music producer, I’ve traveled to 150+ countries and worked with Grammy-winning artists and producers. Over the last 20 years, I’ve founded eight companies and sold five of them. While I have invested in more than 300 companies, many have failed, and those experiences have taught me invaluable lessons. Having lived in various parts of the world, including the Middle East, Asia, South America, North America, the UK, and Europe, I am fluent in six languages and continuously working on improving my skills in three more.
So, I encourage you to become a premium member and join me on this journey. And if you enjoy the content, don’t forget to tell your friends too!
The Beginnings : My Early Adventures in Life
My adventure into business first began in 1991 when I started selling Nintendo games to my classmates in school. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was my bestseller on Nintendo/Famicom, priced at $45 per cartridge. Fortunately, my dad’s friend owned a gaming and electronics megastore, so I was lucky to be the first to get every game that was launched in Abu Dhabi, allowing me to sell at a higher rate and offer games to my classmates before anyone else had them. ( more on this in my next post).
But let me fast forward to the late 90s when my passion for music and a vision to bring new genres of music to the Middle East and put on much-needed clubbing events in the desert of Dubai, before all the luxury and hype. In 1999, I founded the brand RAISINI, an entertainment agency, because I was underage and couldn’t enter clubs that required a minimum age of 21, being a few years short of the requirement.
While exploiting the loophole of hosting my own events to gain entry into nightclubs, I also aspired to learn the music trade. By accident, I was offered my first real job at Universal Music Inc (Middle East) as a Label Manager. ( The story of how I landed this job at Universal Music is a tale for another day.) During my time at Universal Music, I discovered that Richard Branson was launching his Virgin Megastores in UAE and across the Middle East. Seizing the opportunity, I invested in the project to become part of it, just so i can learn, and gain access to the music industry.
In 2003, a few years after my experiences at Universal Music and Virgin, I founded Raisini Records, the first Electronic Dance Music record label in Dubai. I pursued this venture after being rejected by major labels such as EMI, Universal, Virgin, and SONY, despite having established good relationships with Universal Music and Virgin Megastores. Raisini Records went on to feature the finest dance music from around the world.
A decade later, Timeout Magazine dubbed me the ‘ Godfather of House Music’ in the Middle East. This recognition was bestowed upon me for my instrumental role in shaping the dance music scene across the region. I introduced a diverse array of independent record labels from Defected, Global Underground, Yoshitoshi, Pacha, Subliminal, Hed Kandi to name a few and hosted some of the most prominent dance music clubbing events and festivals in the Middle East for over a decade.
While music was my passion, my success in the entertainment industry fueled my keen interest in technology and investing in startups. As early as 2004, I began investing in the booming Dubai real estate market and small startups across the Middle East. I faced failures along the way, but I learned from them. At that time, the internet was still new, and resources were limited compared to today. Later, I shifted my focus to major tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, as well as up-and-coming startups like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Tesla, and others that were gaining momentum. I also diversified my portfolio by investing in multiple funds.
Investing in startups has helped me stay at the forefront of innovation and always be on the lookout for new and exciting ways to promote and distribute my music. I understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve and being willing to take risks to achieve my long-term goals. My passion for technology and ability to identify promising startups have allowed me to achieve a level of financial stability that enables me to continue focusing on my true passion, music.
This year, in 2023, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of my record label, and I am looking towards the future with a sense of excitement and ambition. I have always been a forward-thinking individual, and there are several exciting projects in progress.
Music will always be my first love, and I am currently working on a new album, which I plan to release in early 2024. I am proud of what I have accomplished, not only in music but also outside of the entertainment business.
I will be applying the same discipline and dedication to writing that I once applied to music and business. I plan to explore writing about music, entrepreneurship, investing, startups, sports, and popular culture. Let’s see what encounters and opportunities this journey will bring as I embark on this new path.
Why I’m building a community and publication on Substack, and what to expect
I have decided to write more on Substack because it allows me the broadest possible range to write about my various interests. This is where I have chosen to form a community of fans, friends, and readers who share my interests, so we can ponder the world together.
This is where I intend to delve into everything, from my music, startups, travel adventures, to protests against laws restricting the rights of the marginalized. If it interests me, I hope it will interest you.
I’m excited about what lies ahead for us.
As always, if you’d like to drop me a note, you can do it here or find me on Twitter at @raisini
Emperor of Sparta
Copyright RAISINI 2023. Any illegal reproduction of this content will result in immediate legal action.