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‘Now I can promote Indian music abroad’

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on May 22, 2007

Sandeep Chowta has just signed up to head a mega international music label. And he’s excited about the implications for India.

Sandeep Chowta is thrilled. The music director-composer has just been designated India head for one of the world’s leading record labels that handles artistes like Bruce Springsteen, Santana, Mariah Carey and Bob Dylan. This means he now has the opportunity to put Indian music on the global stage, he says. Will going corporate affect his own music career?

No, he says, “I’ve been chasing my dream for a while now, and in the process launched many new singers. Now I have the platform to do it in a bigger way. I have a lot of films coming out this year. The face of Indian film music has also been changing. The OST (original sound track music) trend is big now, and that also gives Indian bands and singers a big pedestal,” he says.

In the past, Sandeep’s backed names like Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu (‘Babuji, zara dheere chalo’) Kakar, “They have made it big locally but now in the capacity of a producer with a big label, I can make such talents into global henomenons,” he says.

Chowta is the first ever Indian musician to become record label head, like Rick Rubin, producer for the Dixie Chicks in the US, has.

“I’m well networked now, in India and abroad, where I’ve worked with Spyro Gyra and Bunny Brunel, and so international collaborations will be easier, too.

When a musician becomes a record label head, artistes come one step closer to success. They know I’m not a suitclad MBA who doesn’t understand where they are coming from.” But creating good music is a 50/50 responsibility, he adds. “I will only back musicians who have the hunger to push the envelope.

Here, maybe because it’s the age of instant fame, but singers have to be pushed to do their riyaz. Old-time artistes have worked so hard, but today’s reality show newcomers who make it big immediately start counting the number of shows they will do or the online communities they have.

They focus only during competition. They don’t realise they need to sustain themselves beyond that. Also, there are so many bands or singers who are legends on their own little turf but never get their due on the larger stage. This is where we can figure out a way for them.”

There are plenty of musicians who find their 15 minutes of fame. “But has their music reached out to listeners, or will they always remain an opening act for visiting foreign bands? As a producer I understand how things work and I can help.”

Chowta will now be busy scouting fresh talent, bands and solo artistes to push both in India and internationally. “Many international acts want to add Indian vocals – it’s considered very exotic. Even OSTs today have a heavy Indian influence. It’s important, even if you’re a rock band, to retain an Indian vibe.” As for influencing more biggie names in music to come to India to play, he says why not.

“Tours are already happening. India’s an unbelievably huge market. Now these concerts will get more affordable.”

(22 May, 2007 – TIMES NEWS NETWORK)

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