While the independent music scene in India has been booming for the past few decades, it is no surprise that it is not always economically viable for the artists involved. With the pandemic induced lockdowns, the music industry took an even bigger hit last year. But after every storm, there comes a rainbow and 2021 is off to an optimistic start with the announcement of ‘maajja’–a first of its kind platform for the independent music scene. Co-founded by Grammy award-winning music producer, A. R. Rahman along with the trio of Canadian entrepreneurs – Noel Kirthiraj, Sen Sachi and Prasana Balachandran, the platform is a way for artists to exercise creative freedom and develop sustainable careers unhindered by the machinations of the film industry.
“There is an overwhelming number of artists and musicians around us that go unnoticed and under-appreciated. Many of them begin their journey but unfortunately, not everyone is heard or gets a platform. With today’s digital age, there should no longer be these barriers. maajja will function with the singular focus of being artist-centric. There is a sense of empowerment now with technology, and this whole idea behind maajja is to nudge artists, so that they can shine on an international stage. maajja is about seeing the big picture, on a global scale,” said Rahman of the intent behind his musical venture.
The unique platform will also allow the musicians to have a global centre stage, thus amplifying South Asian voices globally. The technology-enabled label alternative will focus on empowering the next generation of artists with complete creative control, resources and global reach.
Expanding on the platform’s ability to be a disruptive force in the South Asian music industry, co-founder Noel Kirthiraj added, “Music is more accessible than ever, the industry is booming, yet artists are left holding the short end of the stick by giving up ownership of their music and end up leaving a lot of money on the table. All artists need to think of themselves as brands and CEOs of their own businesses. We want to democratise and demystify the ecosystem and the business of music. This is maajja’s vision.”
In addition to maajja, Rahman also announced YAALL – a global musical fest which is meant to be maajja’s premier showcase. The fest will feature a line-up of names, led by luminaries of the Tamil film industry alongside up-and-coming Indian and global talent that will be curated by Rahman himself. British-Tamil artist and provocateur M.I.A. is the creative vision behind YAALL. Even Cartel Madras, a hip-hip duo, will be featuring as part of the YAALL fest.
“The name YAALL is a mixture of ancient Tamil words where Y stands for ‘yatra’ (journey) A for ‘adhi’ (beginning), A for ‘agam’ (inside), L for ‘lokam’ (world) and finally L for ‘latchiyam’ (ambition). The ambition of YAALL is to bring out what is within us and project something new forward into the world. This is an exciting project for Chennai and for something that’s birthed in India, and bridges all these different communities coming together,” says the Grammy-nominated artist.
In the lead-up to YAALL, maajja will present a series of digital events titled ‘Road to YAALL’ through 2021. ‘Road to YAALL’ will premiere on Vijay Music during the weekend of February 13 and 14, and will also be available to view on maajja’s social media channels, including YouTube.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we suggest you also read: