Picture this: Hundreds of cyclists kitted out in black lycra patiently waiting their turn to hit the track at Yas Marina Circuit. The place is buzzing; the energy palatable to bursting point and there’s little room for more. But we’re proved wrong.
Out of nowhere five members of global pop sensation Now United bound down the stairs towards the Yas Kartzone. They’re giddy with excitement, having just experienced the thrills and spills of Ferrari World. But before they don their karting gear, we manage to catch hold of 17-year-old Australian Savannah Clarke and 20-year old Canadian Joshua Kyle Beauchamp.
If you don’t already know, truly cosmopolitan Now United has members hailing from countries across the globe. Formed back in 2017 by Idols’ creator Simon Fuller, there are 16 members, with each one representing a different country and nationality. Along with Savannah and Joshua in Abu Dhabi for a spot of R&R on Yas Island are German Sina Maria Deinert, Russian Sofya Plotnikikova and South Korean Jeong He Yoon
It’s a first on Yas Island for the group’s latest recruit, Savannah. “We’ve done so many different things already; everything is the tallest, the fastest, the biggest in the world,” she says about Yas Island. “We’ve been indoor skydiving and indoor rock climbing at CLYMB.”
“It’s amazing,” adds Joshua. “The wall is so high.”
Rest and relaxation looks very different to adolescences, especially singing and dance sensations. The pair excitedly describe their time at Ferrari World. “Flying Aces is my favourite ride,” says Savannah. “And Ferrari World itself is so luxurious looking.”
“I looked at pictures of Ferrari World before I came,” says Joshua. “And then you’re here experiencing it. Even the building itself is incredible, just like the fastest roller-coaster in the world and other rides. Hope we get to see the other parks, like Yas Water World, which we could see while riding the rollercoaster.”
“You can do everything on Yas Island,” he says. “It’s one of the most fun places I’ve been to in my life”
Joshua explains how since his visit to the UAE, especially Yas Island, everybody that he’s met has been “super hospitable. There’s a million things to do here; it’s like heaven.”
The language of love
There are approximately 200 different nationalities living in the UAE, which surprises Savannah and Joshua. “Now United with our different nationalities is the perfect fit for Abu Dhabi,” says Joshua, who also says how he visited a school during a previous visit. “There were students in one class from each country that Now United represents. The school is like Hogwarts.”
“Abu Dhabi and Yas Island is so beautiful,” Savannah chips in. “Not just the scenery, but the people too. And the food’s like nothing you have ever imagined. Everything’s so fresh, healthy. I just love it. There are so many attractions; I’ve done more here than I ever would in one year in Australia.”
Joshua volunteers how the world talks of Dubai and how great it is, and it truly is. “But Abu Dhabi seems to hold so many more world records.”
Thirteen languages are spoken among the group. Arabic is the latest edition with Nour Ardakani from Lebanon being recruited to Now United just weeks ago. So, does this mean the members will be learning Arabic?
Joshua reveals the group is currently working on their next release, Habibi, an Arabic expression translating as ‘my love’.
Unable to be here due to quarantine restrictions, Team Yalla spoke to Nour by phone, who told us how she was keen to share her culture with the group, and help teach them Arabic too.
“Nour has taught us the names of Arabic dishes already,” says Savannah!
Back to showbiz… so who would Savannah and Josuhua like to collaborate with on stage? “Justin Bieber, because of Canada” Joshua says, quick as a flash! For Savannah it’s Arina Grande. “I love her voice.” They both agree on who they would like to open a show for them. “Beyoncé, without a doubt!”
And the answer to that burning question we all want to know: Do you sing in the shower?
“Yes, absolutely,” they reply in unison.