x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

South Asian tunes take to YouTube

Ujala Ali Khan tunes into the story of Eros International Media – a huge name in Indian entertainment – and its new digitised music channel for YouTube, Eros Music Now.

The singer Shaan has recently released his single Khudgarzi on Eros Now Music. Manjunath Kiran / AFP
The singer Shaan has recently released his single Khudgarzi on Eros Now Music. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

From lolcats to Linkin Park, no one can deny the power of YouTube: more than 800 million unique users watch a combined total of three billion hours of video every month.

The latest entertainment powerhouse to leverage these massive numbers is Eros International Media - one of the biggest names in the Indian entertainment industry. Eros has just launched a digitised music channel, Eros Now Music, on YouTube.

According to Ricky Ghai, the Eros Digital chief executive, the launch of Eros Now Music is part of the company's digital transformation of Eros.

"It's a step forward in providing rich and original music exclusively on the digital platform. The idea is to promote existing talent and discover new voices and build universal appeal for Asian music. This is a part of Eros's global vision to raise the stake, appreciate the raw and diverse talent of South Asian music and promote it on the world platform," he says.

Eros Now Music will showcase original music content from Eros and its premium content. The platform will feature established and emerging talent including Shaan, DJ Sheizwood, the UK-based pop artist Kimeli, Shweta Yogendra, Farhan Saeed, Gajendra, Simmy and Tippy and Rahul / Shah Rule among others. Content on the newly launched channel will include music videos and special behind-the-scenes footage.

Some of the artists:

Shaan

The son of the renowned Bengali music director Manas Mukherjee, Shaan needs little introduction. As one of Bollywood's most beloved playback singers, he has recently crooned for Teri Meri Kahaani and Ferrari Ki Sawaari. Where his own musical ventures are concerned, he has recently come out with two songs: one for a collaborative album, and one as a single on Eros Now Music.

Jaan Ho Meri - a romantic song - was released in March this year as part of the music album Love is in the Air, in collaboration with six other singers including Alka Yagnik and Shankar Mahadevan.

Shaan's self-made single Khudgarzi has just been released on Eros Now Music. The peppy club number has a rock feel to it and is quite different from the songs we hear Shaan lending his voice to for films. The YouTube channel also features a "making of" video for the song and music video.

Shivali

Petite, vivacious and confident, the spiritual-pop diva Shivali was born to Indian parents in London. She studied economics and philosophy while dabbling in singing, writing and dancing, and took up singing professionally at an early age. Sony Music India spotted her in 2010 and roped her in for her first album, Bhajan Project. The album - which made it to the top 10 of iTunes's global charts - features traditional bhajans and mantras with a contemporary twist, and a fusion of R&B, soul, rock and pop.

Eros considers Shivali one of the most promising rising stars of traditional, devotional and fusion music, and has signed her up for a second album. The as-yet untitled album will feature nine tracks in total, including Hari Sundar, the video for which will soon be released on Eros Now Music.

The video shows a young girl who has travelled to India and is captivated by the richness, culture and spiritual vibrations of India and, instead of dancing in a nightclub, she chooses to dance by the banks of the Ganges river.

"Devotion is in movement, in happiness, in full expression," says Shivali. "That is what this video represents."

Shweta Yogendra

The launch line-up of Eros Now Music features Boondon ki Jhaadi, a song from the debut album of the Indian singer, composer, music director and performer, Shweta Yogendra.

As a child, Yogendra suffered from asthma and was not able to practice singing and vocal training as much as she would have liked to. Doctors even advised her to stop singing, which was increasingly becoming a cause of breathing problems for her. In frustration, she chose a different path for awhile and studied law. The love of music never left her, though, and post-marriage, she gravitated back.

Yogendra then underwent a few years of vocal training in Hindustani classical music and is now working towards evolving her own style of music which is an interesting blend of Hindustani classical and contemporary urban music, an example of which can be heard on her debut album Guncha.

Kimeli

Kimeli is one of the first artists to be featured on Eros Now Music. A singer, songwriter and rap artist, she was born in Nigeria and grew up in the UK.

Active in song, drama and dance performances from an early age, Kimeli began to independently write and record tracks in South Africa at age 14 with the well-known producers DJ Jazzy D and Big Boi of Brown Suga Entertainment. These songs then went on to receive airplay on Highveld radio, Johannesburg's top hit radio station. At 16, she worked with the pop veterans Mark Topham and Karl Twigg (who produced Steps) taking the lead in the commercial pop band No Gossip with Brown Moose Records. Towards the end of 2011, Kimeli joined forces with producer and friend Bharat Goel to produce her first Hindi track, Money Honey, which attracted interest from international music labels in India before she finally signed with Eros International. Musically, Kimeli cites Shamshad Begam, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse among her inspirations.