| 22 Feb 2024
Devraj Sanyal: Budget for kids is a little higher than for older artists

Talent hunt competition, ‘i genius Young Singing Stars’, which received an overwhelming response last year, will soon commence its second edition. Initiated by Universal Music, the talent hunt competition intends to create concrete music careers for its participants. Universal Music Group and EMI Music, South Asia, MD and CEO, Devraj Sanyal talks about the elements added to the present edition and the newly formed label EMI Records.

How will this edition of ‘i-genius Young Singing Stars’ be different compared to last edition?

The last edition of ‘i-genius Young Singing Stars’ received over a lakh applications. The best part is that we have kids on board. This edition has absolute juniors who belong to the age group of four to seven years, and eight to eleven years because we believe talent has nothing to do with age. If you are talented you are talented. Today, if a ten or 14 year old kid is ready to become a playback singer or perform live, we will give them that platform. The thing with ‘i-genius Young Singing Stars’ is that we want kids to make careers out of the talent they posses. We are all about building talents.

Do you have any intentions for broadcasting it on TV?

Not for this edition. The competition could be featured on TV in season three or four.

How do you plan to push the show digitally?

We would push them like we do with any other artists. Our budget for the kids is going to be a little higher than the older artists, because if we do not push them, where will the talent for the next five years come from.

Are you in talks with more partners for this initiative?

There will be partners who will come on board, but it will always be a joint venture between Max Life Insurance and Universal Music India, as it is a long term deal and it will always be that way.

You received massive entries for the last edition. How much do you hope to get this year?

We did not expect this kind of a response last year. This year we hope to achieve a double number of entries as compared to last year.

What are the challenges you have while dealing with kids?

Actually, there is not much of a challenge. A 10 year old boy has more maturity than a 25 year old. These kids have received their training in music from a very early age and they know what they want from their lives. Most of these kids have done their riyaaz under a guruji and belong to a gharana. The age group of 4-7 years will be a challenge, but we are not looking at making them stars immediately. What we would like to do for a six year old is to know that after a few years, they will have gigs and they will have a career ahead.

Do you intend to sign any of the winners for EMI or will it be a Universal deal?

The winners of the competition already have a deal with Universal Music. We might put them under EMI, if Mohit Suri and I feel that they are ready for Bollywood.

Has EMI signed any new artists?

We had already signed Ami Mishra and Anmol Malik, and we will sign two others artists in the next couple of weeks.

How are things shaping up with Ami Mishra and Anmol Malik?

Anmol’s song is ready and the video will be shot this weekend. Ami is still composing, and we will hear his music in the upcoming week. Both the singles will release within the next 90 days.