Sheikh Ali Al Maktoum who made waves in Hong Kong appears to have alter ego as singer with fan base in Philippines

The website introduced him as an “Emirati singer and songwriter” and a “global artist” who also sang in Tagalog, Hindi, English and French. The site also showed details of his past performances and stated his music was available on Spotify and iTunes.

Alira attracted a strong following in the Filipino community after his performance of Tagalog songs went viral in 2022, and he also shared his passion for music in an interview with GMA Pinoy TV in July 2023.

“I feel like it’s more of a calling for me to be able to sing and to be able to express my emotions because it’s a form of love,” he said. “That’s how I take music as it’s a form of connecting with people.”

He also said: “All my plans involve people, making people happy, making people proud, making people feel loved, so this is the main goal for me as a person, as an artist, as you know, this is my goal forward. I would love to engage more and go deeper into the culture of different countries that I sing.”

The message was similar to how he was described in one of his recent family office’s statements that he was dedicated to fostering positive changes extending beyond the borders of Dubai and he was committed to uplifting others.

“I feel like it’s more of a calling for me to be able to sing and to be able to express my emotions because it’s a form of love,” Alira said. “That’s how I take music as it’s a form of connecting with people.”

He shared that he “fell in love” with the country’s music whose songs featured many high-pitched notes, adding Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and other divas were his musical influences.

The performer wearing elaborate stage outfits in concerts and at shopping malls was in stark contrast to the modest thawb-wearing Maktoum who met Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu as part of a group of speakers invited to a high-powered wealth forum.

During his visit to Hong Kong, he said he was exploring “all sorts of partnership joint ventures” and investments in real estate, tourism, fintech and artificial intelligence, adding that “we come together to make a difference”.

The Post compared the photos of Maktoum and Alira using two facial comparison websites based in Taiwan and the United States. They concluded the two men in both photos were the same person, with a 100 per cent match between the faces.

Information gathered from various social media platforms and overseas news outlets suggests the singer-songwriter is the same sheikh who turned heads in Hong Kong.

A social media influencer “Maria.victoria” identified Alira in an Instagram post dated October 19, 2021, as “His Highness Sheikh Ali Rashed Al Maktoum, member of the royal family of Dubai”. The photo was taken at the pageant event “Man of the Universe 2021”, where Alira was identified as one of the judges.

Two media outlets also reported that Alira’s real name was “Ali Rashed”, while two others reported he graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a degree in accounting and finance, the same as what Maktoum stated on the private office’s website.

Filipino broadcaster GMA News described Alira as an “internal auditor at a government agency” in a report published in November 2022, a role he had also confirmed in an interview with a Filipino magazine uploaded to YouTube in December 2021.

“I’m currently having a job, working as an internal auditor. Okay. That’s a bit boring for me. I know. But actually, I enjoy singing more because it gets to connect with people, and because, again, I’m a people’s person, and I want it [to] help others just discover, shine, [and] shed a light on people,” Alira said.

Some online videos of his performances went viral. A Facebook video from October 2022 featuring him performing the Filipino ballad “Babalikang Muli” has been seen 1.9 million times with over 76,000 reactions.

Alira, backed by a 90-member ensemble, debuted “We Are One” at a performance at Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre during Expo 2020 Dubai with the UAE-based Expat Media describing him as giving “goosebumps”.

The song was also on Spotify, as one of three singles Alira released. The first dates to 2021 and the last one was released in January 2023.

According to the National News, an Abu-Dubai-based media outlet, Alira performed at a Dubai concert in 2021 and “stunned the audience by singing Filipino songs”. Other Filipino singers, including Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, also sang in the show.

But Alira’s music career has entered a hiatus since 2023. His TikTok, which has a following of 75,900, has been dormant since June 2 last year. His official website and Instagram account have also since become inaccessible.

The abrupt pause on TikTok came just a few days after the domain name of Maktoum’s private office, sheikhalialmaktoum.com, was registered on May 29 last year. While the website offered little insight of Maktoum’s track record, the prince’s investment drive has taken off since.

The Emirati Musicians’ Association, which said in a LinkedIn post two months ago that Alira had “recently” been appointed as an honorary board member of the body, noted the “rising star in the UAE music industry” also established Here4U Entertainment.

The LinkedIn profile of Ryan Melad, chief marketing officer of Maktoum’s private office, showed that Melad is also the chief marketing officer of Here4U, which was described to be an “event and talent management company under the Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Ali Rashed Al Maktoum”.

The Post has reached out to the association, Ryan Melad, the Dubai-based private office and the Hong Kong-based family office for a verification.

Amira Lobaton, the private office’s head of business development, said it would take some time before a response could be made available.

“We are following a strict protocol in the private office and our legal and media protocol was reviewing everything and they will reach out to you, so kindly just wait for that,” she told the Post.

The family office’s opening ceremony in Hong Kong, initially slated for last Thursday, has been delayed to late May due to “some urgent unexpected private matters” in the United Arab Emirates. The office has not elaborated on the situation in the three subsequent press releases.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.