Created in 2015, Foundry is YouTube’s incubator for independent music, and have till date, supported stars such as Dua Lipa, Arlo Park, Natanael Cano, Rina Sawayama and beabadoobee over the years

Created in 2015, Foundry is YouTube’s incubator for independent music, and have till date, supported stars such as Dua Lipa, Arlo Park, Natanael Cano, Rina Sawayama and beabadoobee over the years

In a huge boost for independent music across the country, two Indian artists were selected among the global 30 for YouTube’s Foundry class of 2022.

Announced earlier this year, singer-songwriters Kayan and Noor Chahal are the talents, who will be mentored with annual artist development classes and ongoing release support campaigns, as well as mentorship from YouTube Music to navigate every stage of their careers.

Created in 2015, Foundry is YouTube’s incubator for independent music, and have till date, supported stars such as Dua Lipa, Arlo Park, Natanael Cano, Rina Sawayama and beabadoobee over the years; an elite alumni class that Kayan and Noor now are part of.

Kayan/ Ambika Nayak

Kayan

Kayan

“This has come at just the right time for me as I’m doing my live tour, and I’m really grateful to YouTube for this. My collaboration with Yung Raja is the first single through this program. As a DJ and performer, this visibility and access will be invaluable,” says Kayan, who broke out as an Instagram star with her music, during the pandemic. 

The Be Alright and Cool Kids singer, who describes her music as “pop, with a bit of soul, jazz and R&B,” adds that as an English-language artist in India, the program opens up her work to a much wider audience.

“I have really enjoyed performing on stage in recent times, touring with my friends, and singing with guest artists. There is so much new music to come from me, and I can’t wait to show audiences that I’ve upped my game. It’s really important for artists today to be consistent and keep at it; for someone like me, my social media is vital in reaching out to the audience as well. I’ve also understood that it’s necessary to take a break sometimes and take care of oneself; I struggle with that sometimes,” she smiles.

One of Kayan’s favourite collaborators — Kabeer Kathpalia/ OAFF — recently made his Bollywood debut with the drama Gehraiyaan, which earned him a lot of fandom. Does she see herself entering films too at some point? “I’m super happy for Kabeer, and he totally deserves all the credit coming his way. One of my songs has now been licensed for a movie, and I’m really excited about that. I have sung for commercials before, and think this is another step in the right direction. Artists shouldn’t restrict themselves; what’s the harm in trying different avenues? Global domination is the goal!” she laughs.

The Mumbai-based performer also says that she has plans to put out an album in the near future, but needs some space and time before that. “I really don’t want to do a half-assed job with it; I have to give every song my all before letting it go out there, so it will happen when it happens. In the meantime, I’m shooting a lot of content with the Foundry program.”

Kayan, who also debuted as an actor in the Hello Mini thriller web-series, adds that she’s open to acting in films, as long as she can balance it with her music, which is her priority. Any short-term goals to look out for? “My dream is to perform at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Colorado; I know it’ll happen some day,” she signs off.

Noor Chahal

Noor Chahal

Noor Chahal

“My first reaction to being selected was feeling quite overwhelmed; it came out of the blue and is really a huge deal. I see it helping me promote my work on a global level, as well as a pathway to move forward, with a team to reach out to and help me,” quips Noor, who has also dabbled in acting professionally. 

Describing herself as a “product of lockdown,” the young singer, who is pursuing her psychology degree currently, says, “I really didn’t expect anything out of it initially, when I just posted my covers of popular songs on Instagram and YouTube. I’ve been singing for a long time — since school — and always try to bring in a unique element to whichever number I recreate.”

But Noor’s popularity soon took off, and she started putting out originals too. “I never take my audience for granted, as they can make or break you. If I feel I haven’t done justice to any track, I never put it up and go for multiple retakes. I also focus on being authentic and original, and only release stuff that I personally would want to listen to. It’s good to be inspired, but never should we copy anyone else.” 

The Punjabi vocalist now wants to explore every genre of music, as she feels being versatile is her forte. “I really want to move away from what Punjabi music is stereotypically known for; you’ll never find my songs with lyrics objectifying women, glorifying anything offensive, or disrespecting any section of the society. These days, every other Bollywood film has a Punjabi track; it’s a huge trend across the country and the scope is massive. I’m sure our music will make waves internationally too.”

Naming Satinder Sartaaj as one of her favourite artists who she’d like to collaborate with, Noor adds that she always looks for content rather than big names: “There are lots of amazing people in Bollywood too who I’d love to work with, but I’m a very content-driven person. The same goes for acting in movies. Being an introvert, I really like playing characters out of my comfort zone in front of the camera. But right now, my focus is purely on my music career.”



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By Dipak

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