Legendary AR Rahman announces
new initiative maajja, and global
music festival YAALL in Chennai
Designed as a label alternative, maajja’s objective is to incubate
South Asian talent from all over the world and arm it with creative
freedom and global reach; global music fest YAALL will serve as a
showcase for hand-picked talent
January 2021 - India’s most popular voices never get the same fame and
adulation as some of its most famous faces. Grammy Award and two-time
Oscar winner AR Rahman wants to change that status quo.
On January 26, Rahman announced his latest initiative, maajja – a
technology-enabled label alternative focused on empowering the
next generation of artists with complete creative control,
resources and global reach. maajja is the brainchild of Canadian
entrepreneurs Noel Kirthiraj, Sen Sachi, Prasana Balachandran and the
acclaimed music director.
maajja’s mission is simple, to create the first-of-its-kind platform for
the independent music scene that offers creative liberty as well as
global reach. It 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.
An innovator and initiator, Rahman’s interest in leveraging technology to
elevate the independent music scene bears fruit in the shape of maajja and
has been a long-standing dream for the director who also set up one of
India’s finest music education institutes, KM Music Conservatory, in 2008.
“There are an overwhelming number of artists and musicians around us
that go unnoticed and under-appreciated,” says the music director who has
won two Grammy Awards, one for the original score for Slumdog
Millionaire and another for the chart-busting global hit, ‘Jai Ho’.
“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,
and will serve to elevate the world-class talent we have onto the global
stage. 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,” Rahman adds.
Rahman’s dream is what drives his co-founding team of serial
entrepreneurs, and given their background in technology and
entertainment, Kirthiraj believes maajja has the potential to disrupt the
South Asian indie music industry.
“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 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,” says maajja CEO and co-founder Noel
Kirthiraj, giving a glimpse into the idea behind the platform.
“All artists 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.”
“Drawing inspiration from what AR Rahman has been mulling over for
many years, the creation of maajja and YAALL are monumental steps in
establishing music as a stand-alone industry for South Asians,” he adds.
YAALL Fest, a global music festival
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 – will power YAALL Fest, maajja’s premier
showcase in Chennai. British-Tamil artist and provocateur M.I.A. is the
creative vision behind the global music festival YAALL, and will play a very
involved role as the project evolves.
“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
artists on the global stage, and someone who is central to this idea of
celebrating Tamil culture, gave a lot of input to this festival, including the
name, YAALL,” Rahman adds.
Scheduled to be held over two days on February 13 and 14, Road to YAALL
– due to the prevailing restrictions necessitated by the global pandemic –
will be presented as a digital music festival, with a physical event in
Chennai in the works at a later stage.
This event will feature over 30 artists – many of whom are established
names in indie music and films – and the two-day festival will serve as a
showcase of their independent music journey
The line-up for YAALL will be announced shortly.
Road to YAALL will premier 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.
Web: maajja/ YAALL Fest (will be active soon)
Social media links: Facebook/ YouTube/Instagram/ Twitter
maajja’s mission is to amplify the voice of South Asian independent artists
globally by enabling them with direct access to support resources and
monetization opportunities within a vetted ecosystem.
As a premier global music festival, YAALL will bring together independent
artists from around the world to create a cultural renaissance in Chennai
for independent music.