| 01 Oct 2023
We are always looking for new artists and not a label, in particular: Shu Ping Liang, Mariott International (Asia Pacific)

MUMBAI: South Asia Pacific singing competition, Project: Aloft Star that kick-started last month, is scoring for some real talent. Having ventured in the India market, after a gap of two years, Project: Aloft Star managed to have Indian music maestro, Salim Merchant, on board, to guide the India finalist. With the competition near its judgment day, let’s know more about the competition, expectations from the winner and difference in Indian and overseas markets, from Marriott International Asia Pacific director Brand and Marketing Shu Ping Liang.

In an exclusive interview, Ping has not only talked about this Asia Pacific podium but also about Aloft Hotels dream to make original talent famous through Project: Aloft Star. The winner will win a recording deal with UMG.

Can you tell us about Project: Aloft Star?

Project Aloft Star is a global talent search for original singers on the virus. This year, we have partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG) to give these local artists a bigger platform and a chance to get discovered. The Indian finalist, selected by UMG, will have a mentorship session with Salim Merchant himself.

All five Asia Pacific contestants will compete in a live performance in South Korea. So that’s very exciting, giving them exposure to India. The winner will win a recording deal with one of the music labels of UMG. We will also help them produce music videos as well as promote their single.

Why did you choose Salim Merchant as the mentor?

We, at Aloft, really wanted that level of mentorship. It is really important to have someone to learn from, people who have an experience. He has a great background when it comes to production, performance and a holistic approach in the development of a music career.

Also Read: Salim Merchant turns brand ambassador for the music battle 'Project: Aloft Star'

What were the factors, used, to select the contestants?

Apart from submitting their two original songs on our website, we had also asked entrants to give a short brief about themselves like their personality, inspiration in music, etc. After this, the judging criteria involved different factors like originality, personality, international appeal, because we wanted to make this a regional global stage in India. Also, a thorough selection process was followed by the Universal Music Group artist repertoire group.

If you compare Indian and international markets, which is more promising?

It’s hard to compare. There’s definitely a lot of talent in India. Each market has their different genres, touching music that appeals. It’s quite promising in India, owing to the range of entries; we received in the previous years, ranging from classical to contemporary.

How was your experience of working with Universal Music Group and Salim Merchant?

It’s been great. I think getting access to artists like Salim Merchant really helps. We want to be a credible platform and having someone like Salim mentor the India finalist, is a valuable experience in itself. Eventually, on winning a record deal and music video, the competition will indeed give the winner, a step above the rest. It will also open the doorway of connections.

What other music concepts, are you coming up with?

We have regular live music events at Aloft hotels, called Music Conclave Series, which is already global. It is a platform for local artists, who can connect with the community. The event not only gives travellers a chance to experience local music but also gives locals an opportunity to socialise. Since music is a form of self-expression, Aloft’s target is to give people experiences.

Is Music Conclave Series too organised in India?

Yes, it is live in India. It’s a weekly or monthly affair, which occurs in six of our hotels in India.

Any other labels from India, you are looking forward to collaborating?

We are always looking for new artists and not a label in particular. But, if you are an aspiring musician, looking for a platform to showcase your talent, do reach out to us.