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Ahlan! predicted they'd be the next big thing! By: Lauren Steadman

You head it hear first - Dubai band and Ahlan! Hot 100 members The Boxtones have been snapped up by a major record label!

The Dubai - based five piece have been signed to Universal MENA, the Middle East branch of music industry giant Universal Music Group, which boasts Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes on its books, among many famous faces.

Band member Will Janssen said: "We're extremely excited and proud of reaching this lifetime goal of being signed to a label, with BIG plans to tour the new album, release singles and make music videos"

Alongside Will, who plays both the keyboard and guitar, the group comprise singers Louise Peel and Gary Tierney, drummer Gill Tierney and bass player Patrick Thibault. Gill, Will and Patrick also lend their vocals to their sound, while Louise and Gary play percussion and lead guitar respectively.

They performed at almost 200 shows last year, headlining the Dubai Rugby Sevens and appearing alongside the likes of Pharrell Williams, The Who, Lily Allen, Jason Derulo, Richard Ashcroft and Ting Tings, as well as releasing their debut album, In the Pockets of Clowns.

Their next single will be released later this year.

You can catch the band at Middle East Film & Comic Con this weekend, where they'll rub shoulders with A-list stars including Star Trek legend William Shatner, The X Files' Gillian Anderson and Flash Gordon himself, Sam J Jones.