AR Rahman’s ‘maajja’ and Global Music Festival ‘YAALL’ in Chennai to Empower Next-Gen Artistes

Entertainment | January 28, 2021 | News

AR Rahman maajja YAALL M.I.A. Noel Kirthiraj

On the eve of India’s 72nd Republic Day, Grammy award and two-time Oscar winner musician AR Rahman announced his latest initiative, ‘maajja’ – a technology-enabled alternative label focused on empowering the next generation of artistes with complete creative control, resources and global reach.

Along with this, the award-winning music director also launched YAALL Fest, maajja’s premier showcase in Chennai, which will have a line-up of names, led by luminaries of the Tamil film industry alongside up-and-coming Indian and global talent curated and chosen by Rahman himself.

In the run-up to YAALL, maajja will also present a series of digital events titled ‘Road to YAALL’ through 2021. Due to the prevailing restrictions necessitated by the global pandemic it will be presented as a digital music festival. The first edition of ‘Road to YAALL’ is scheduled to be held during the weekend of February 13 and 14 and will premiere on Vijay Music along with maajja’s social media channels, including YouTube. The line-up for ‘Road to YAALL’ will be announced shortly.

Singular focus: Being artiste-centric

Speaking about the launch, Rahman said, “There are an overwhelming number of artistes 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 artiste-centric. There is a sense of empowerment now with technology, and the whole idea behind maajja is to nudge artistes, so that they can shine on an international stage; maajja is about seeing the big picture, on a global scale.”

“Growing up in Chennai, I saw four different worlds, four different languages collide and come together. In this divisive world, our shared culture and language unites us. YAALL is the first step in expanding our industry and share the joy that we get from music. M.I.A., one of the biggest artistes on the global stage, and someone who is central to this idea of celebrating Tamil culture, gave a lot of inputs to this festival, including the name, YAALL,” Rahman added.

British-Tamil artiste and provocateur M.I.A. is the creative vision behind YAALL, and will play a very involved role as the project evolves. “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,” said the Grammy-nominated M.I.A.

Democratising the music business

Noel Kirthiraj, CEO and Co-founder of maajja, said, “Napster paved the way for digital music distribution, iTunes changed how music was purchased and Spotify took it to another level – streaming is now the de facto way to consume music across the world. Music is more accessible than ever, the industry is booming, yet artistes 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 artistes need to think of themselves as brands and CEOs of their own businesses. We want to democratize and demystify the ecosystem and the business of music. This is maajja’s vision.”

A brainchild of Canadian entrepreneurs Noel Kirthiraj, Sen Sachi, Prasana Balachandran and the acclaimed music director, the first-of-its-kind platform for the independent music scene will focus on amplifying the voice of South Asian talent globally and help them develop successful and sustainable careers in music, unhindered by the machinations of the film industry.

The objective of Maajja is to incubate talent from all over the world and arm it with creative freedom and global reach, while music fest YAALL will serve as a showcase for hand-picked talent.

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