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Promoting South Asian Artists: Meet the Guest Curators Behind ‘Brown Girl Music Mondays’

3 min read

I was seven-years-old when I realized that I couldn’t sing. I could carry a tune, but I was never going to be Surinder Kaur, Selena Quintanilla or Sade. At eight, I realized I’d never be a cello protégé — just a small human carrying a large instrument. It was age 13 when the notes in my journals became lyrics, 15 when I picked up a guitar and 18 when it had been three years since I touched the instrument.

But I was 19 when I realized I could eat, live and breathe music through the business of music, artist management and journalism. Since then, I have never looked back. The last five years of South Asian music from the subcontinent and the Diaspora have been a whirlwind. What were once the same sounds and three or four names that circulated the globe became plentiful, robust lists of artists, producers, engineers, lyricists and more.

Helping South Asian Music Thrive

As the entertainment industry changes, we put necessary emphasis on on-stage and on-screen representation. But, what often gets overshadowed is the importance of representation behind the scenes. In this case, behind the music. 

[Read Related: Meet SR-Music: The Band Making Waves in Indo-Caribbean Pop Culture]

Once I began navigating the music industry, my goal to help South Asian musicians thrive became more and more clear. The desire to give them seats at tables they didn’t know existed, access to resources that allowed them to be seen as artists, and autonomy that didn’t ask of them to contextualize identity was stronger than ever. On this journey, I have been privileged enough to meet and work with some of the most incredible music professionals globally (a few of whom joined us at 2019’s “Behind the Music” panel at Slashie Summit). These executives and creators are responsible for some of the greatest playlists, lineups, platforms and events around the world. 

[Read Related: ‘Young the Giant’ Lead Vocalist Sameer Gadhia Talks Identity, Touring and Realities of Music Ownership]

Naturally, I asked them to share some of their favorite songs by South Asian artists worldwide and launched Brown Girl Magazine‘s “Music Mondays” playlists on Spotify and YouTube Music. Each week a guest curator shares their 10 favorite tracks irrespective of language, genre or background. 

Meet the minds behind 20+ hours of music:

1. Sonali Mehta, artist development at Youtube & collaborator Sub-Condiment

2. Rhea Ghosh, head of marketing at Cosynd, an international dancer at Sa Dance Company

 

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3. Zainab Hasnain, sr. music marketing at Spotify and DJ Zee Muffin

 

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4. Jashima Wadehra, head of music at Brown Girl Magazine, Artist Manager,  creative director & co-founder of Ode, & podcast host at Central Sauce Hip Hop

 

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5. Shomi Patwary, music video director and film producer at Illusive Media

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6. Sarah Anwer Khan, TV host and writer at Brown Girl Magazine & Buzzfeed

 

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7. Ashanti Omkar, BBC presenter, host and curator 

8. Arun Ganapathy, creative director at Future Ramen, composer & producer

9. Tarun Nayar, founder of 5XFest and member of Delhi 2 Dublin 

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10. Joseph Patel, entertainment executive, writer and film producer

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11. Sowmya Krishnamurthy, author, journalist and culture critic

 

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12. Sadaf Padder, founder and artist manager at Alpha Arts Alliance

13. Shravya Kag, photo & video documentarian

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14. Rekha Malhotra, DJ Rekha, event producer, curator and founder of Basement Bhangra

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Follow Brown Girl Mag on Spotify, where you can find all our playlists from Music Mondays to Beyond Borders, monsoon romance, EDM, Lo-fi, Indie, hip hop, Bollywood and everything in between. Check back on Mondays for more music from our incredible guest curators.

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