Salim Merchant: Project Aloft Star gives International Platform to showcase your talent

Marriott International’s Aloft Hotels with Universal Music Group (UMG) have curated Project Aloft Star 2018. Project Aloft Star, India segment aims at recognizing the singing talent in the country and put the winner out of various participants on a Global Platform to compete with similar International Artists across 5 different countries. The competition is unique in its approach as it is in sync with the current trends of social media technology advancements. The competition is truly Global in its form as it brings together talent from across Asia.
This exciting contest shines a spotlight on the region’s incredible, undiscovered, and up-and-coming talents. 5 finalists, 1 from each of the following countries will compete in the final event in Seoul: Australia, Greater China, India, South East Asia and South Korea.
This year’s Project Aloft Star India mentor is singer and composer Salim Merchant. He will be mentoring the India finalist- Ms. Hanita Bhambri, for the finale in Seoul on 20th September.
Music fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite artists or bands via a public vote from September 3 – 19, 2018. Three lucky voters who predict the winner and provide a reason why they picked them will stand a chance to win 50,000 Rewards points redeemable for stays at Aloft Hotels or other participating Marriott International hotels around the world.
Link to vote:

We got a chance to interact with Salim Merchant and understand his views and experiences. We have captured our discussion in the below snippet:

How did the collaboration between UMG and Aloft Hotels take place?

Universal Music is a Global Player. They have huge stake in Music Industry all over the world. Project Aloft Star required a strong Record Label partner which could come on board in their endeavour. It was only sensible that the two organizations collaborate to give a holistic meaning to this competition. This (competition) was not just to recognize the talent but also give them a record deal. This is where the partnering of Aloft Hotels and UMG happened.

Who was the catalyst behind the entire set up and execution?

It is a true collaboration. While Aloft Hotels have come up with the project, its Devraj Sanyal who has been a big catalyst in the set up. Then there is Preeti Nayar who has been engaged very actively to put the pieces together and make things happen. It is partnership in true sense and working well because each partner knows its responsibilities really well.

We have a lot of competitions happening these days. How is Project Aloft Star different from them?

What happens to the winners of those competitions!

Ultimately what happens with other competitions is that the good artists do get shows, they get into television, but not many get record deals. This competition will provide a record deal to the artists which is really tough to get. Beyond Record Deal, this competition also gives International Platform to showcase your talent. While there is no television as such in Project Aloft Star, who’s who of Music Industry will be keeping an eye on these participants.

International Stage to an artist would mean a cross cultural exposure. To compete with artists from different countries, how should Hanita prepare herself?

What I like about Hanita is that she an original composer. She writes her own songs, she creates her own composition. When you write your own songs, you have your own identity and Hanita has that. Singers, many, tend to lose their originality as they are singing other’s songs. They are looking to sound like someone. Hanita has that advantage of being an original songwriter and a composer with a unique voice. The moment you hear her voice, it touches you!

How do you see the future of English Music in India?

The future of English music is great in India. There are a few reality shows and the avenues have increased. Competitions like these have opened new doors for the artists. If you go back a few years, there was practically nothing happening in this direction. While there is still scope to improve further, one can’t deny the fact that there is lot more happening now as to what was happening earlier.

How was your experience during the process of this competition? How was theexperience of selecting the Finalist out of the short listed artists?

I have always followed my heart in music. I listen to a voice, if I like it, I short list it. When I listen to a singer I don’t only focus on what he or she has recorded. I also see how can he or she modulate his or her voice in future with some guidance. These key components determine the selection process. As for the experience of selecting the finalist, it was very tough call. We had some great artists but we selected Hanita for her originality.

It was a fun chat with Salim, a very candid and casual one I must say. He was in his element, speaking from his heart. Busy from his shooting, he graciously took some time out to discuss with us about Project Aloft Star. He is a true mentor, guiding Hanita all the way. We wish Hanita all the success and we are sure under the guidance of Salim she will have a bright future.

Team Project Aloft Star, Aloft Hotels and UMG, deserve a round of applause for the great work they are doing to bring these talented artists to the mainstream and provide them with a platform for success!

Article by Deepak D.

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