| 29 Feb 2024
I am working towards reinvention: Rajitta Hemwaani

MUMBAI: A few months ago Rajitta Hemwaani joined 9X Media Pvt. Ltd as Sr. Vice President to head a new business division initiated to tap the business potential and talent of independent music content. In less than three months from there, Hemwaani has created the much need buzz for this new division and belted some interesting collaborations that will go on-air in the coming months. However, this is not it. There is lot more cooking in Hemwaani’s cosy cabin where she is constantly making plans to do something out of the box. She believes in moving with the changing times and carries no baggage. Thus, always ready to take the leap with her ever creative mind.

In conversation with, she spoke about her journey, plans and mantra in life. Read on.

Tell us a bit about your two-decade long journey?

It started off with music in my life right from Times Music, Tips, Mr. Bachchan’s entertainment company to Universal. Then I did a detour, went to television. I was with Star for some time. Then in between I was a part of digital radio Audioboom. It is a London based digital platform and they had brought it to India, I was heading it for them in India. But of course music and films have been my prime area of interest and also something that I am good at and I would like to keep pursuing.

How did 9X Media happen?

So, this whole circle happened when me and Mr. Guha (9X Media Managing Director, Pradeep Guha), started chatting once. We basically go a long way; we have worked together at the Times for 10 years. He was the president there and I was heading content for Times Music. Though I was not directly reporting to him, we were in the same company. So, during one of our meeting, the idea of creating a new division at 9X Media came up and here I am. It has been three months in 9X Media and I totally love the vibe. These people are extremely talented.

Life seems to have taken a full circle for you...

I like to push the envelope to do something new. I get bored doing the same thing and that is the reason film production happened, then music and then TV happened and then digital radio. When you try and do new things you also learn new things. In between my businesses happened. I was launching designers for a while. I set up a restaurant for my family. I like to evolve. I feel you should reinvent everyday because we live in world of social media where there is new development every second. So, unless you do not reinvent as a person you will get stuck in a time blob. Organisations, people, professionals need to do that. I think I am trying to do that and to an extent I am succeeding in it.

What are your plans for 9X Media?

9X Media is a place where a lot can happen. We have so many channels, 270 million reach across TV, 20 million across the digital platforms.  We are reaching out to the world. So, while the music channels are happening and digital is growing, we wanted to do something new. We wanted to use the branding we wanted to use the 'might' of music channels to get another arm of revenue.

This new arm happens to be talent management?

Music labels are forever picking up artistes/ talents. There is lots of talent in this country. Reality TV and YouTube are making it easier. We at 9X Media are doing extremely well in the music space. So, we thought why don’t we do something in the music space where we add value and give a reliable, trustworthy platform to new talent. It could have been anchors or anyone, but we thought we would start with musicians. So, it is singers and music directors.

So, unlike the other talent management companies and music labels, 9X Media has many screens to offer?

Yes, I have a screen out here. So, I can launch them. Today even the biggest music labels will approach me to play their music video, whereas, here I own that. So, my whole thing was, why not think of new ideas. Even singers know that they should approach a reality show or put their singles on YouTube. This is another avenue that we are opening for them. We are a music channel. So, you find me or we find you and if we see a synergy, we can make a winning combination.

How many artistes are you looking at signing in a year?

We do not want to spread ourselves to thin and sign every person left, right and centre. Such a situation leaves people wondering what’s happening with their careers. We will only pick up the best and we will make sure that we make superstars out of them. That’s the plan.

At the end of the day, most artistes signed under labels are left with bad experiences. What are you doing to avoid such a situation at 9X Media?

There are times when you hear things from labels and artiste management companies that you deal with on daily bases. But in just three months we have so many artistes coming in. They tell us that they are signed with someone and they want to get out of it. This is a serious issue, but in every business, things work with trust from both sides. If I am assuring something as an organisation I have to deliver it. Similarly, an artiste has to honour what he has committed. So, if the intention is right and both entities respect each other things will be right. The problem arises when one stops respecting the others. This is also when the cracks start building up. This is a business partnership like any other.

What’s your strategy to have a successful partnership with the creative lot?

My strategy is simple. Pick up the best. Don’t spread your thin signing 30 people because you are not going to be able to do justice to them at one time. With time you can keep adding more. When you are selective, you stick to your commitments. When I sit with an artiste across the table I am very clear as to what I can or can’t do for them.

Are these verbal communications or part of the contract?

My commitments to them are on paper. I am very clear read the paper show it to who you want to, call me and get back. We are not here to take anyone for a ride. I am clear-cut on commitments.

Most artistes expect a sky-rocketing change in their career graph on being signed to music labels/artiste management firms. Do artiste management companies have a magic wand to success?

An artiste cannot become a superstar overnight unless it becomes an Altaf Raja story. He did a song and suddenly the world knows about it. Similarly, Rabbi Shergill’s ‘Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaun’ made him a huge star. So, if destiny and your content supports you to that extent then patience is not needed because the deeds done.  But these are exceptional cases. In a regular case, if I pick up an ‘X’ artiste, I am going to go from styling of the artiste, to his presentation and stage personality development. 

Which means it will be a complete makeover for the artiste signed under 9X Media?

Eventually a superstar is a brand. Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are brands today. They all started where they did, but today they are a brand. To survive for another 10 years one has to reinvent. A few artistes don’t reinvent themselves and they get stuck in a blob and they do the same songs, cover versions and corporate shows. They have done those shows, albums but the world is changing so fast. Today I can watch someone singing in Argentina. We all have to reinvent ourselves. So, an artiste will not become a superstar overnight. We will have to work on his song, then he will be marketed, there will be shows. So it is going to take time.

Do you take the final call on artiste selection?

It’s a joint call that we take. It’s our programming that has to go after the artiste and then the marketing has to support him. We have grand plans and we are hoping they shape up well.

How has the response been so far?

There are people from UK/ US trying to reach us. We are also working towards some unthought-of collaboration. There is usually a synergy when singer-musician come together. But we are thinking of something extremely radical. We will be creating a new chapter very soon. I am working towards reinvention.