Warner Music’s affiliates in Canada and India are teaming up for 91 NORTH RECORDS, a joint venture with the aim of identifying and launching artists of South Asian heritage.
Said to be a first-of-its-kind JV, the new entity is guided by celebrated artist and producer Ikwinder “Ikky” Singh, who has chalked up more than two billion combined streams with such songs as Shubh’s “Baller”, Diljit Dosanjh’s “Chauffeur” and Sidhu Moose Wala’s “Bambiha Bole”.
Ikky, who launched his own label, 4N Records, in partnership with Warner Music and Coalition Music in 2021, serves as creative director for 91 NORTH RECORDS.
The venture launches to the public today (Aug. 23) with its first signings, Canadian-based Punjabi artists Karan Aujla and Jonita Gandhi, both of whom work closely with Ikky and A&R director Charlie B.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the blending of Indian and Western sounds into culturally impactful, innovative music,” Ikky comments in a statement. The new business “exists to elevate artists pursuing this fusion. Punjabi and South Asian music already competes worldwide, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with emerging talents, showcasing and amplifying what they have to offer. This is no experiment; it’s the future.”
91 NORTH RECORDS was presented Tuesday with a special event at Warner Music Canada’s offices in Toronto. Its name is a reference to India’s country code and Canada’s geographical location, and the logo is inspired by India’s national flower — the lotus.
“There is an incredible new generation of talent rising, influenced by their South Asian heritage, and we want to make sure these artists are represented both here and around the world,” comments Kristen Burke, president, Warner Music Canada. The label “allows artists to be truly authentic, and our global network gives us the opportunity to showcase their culture on a global stage.”
Adds Jay Mehta, managing director, Warner Music India: “This is certainly going to be a gamechanger initiative for artists who will now have global support from A&R, marketing, collaborations and more.”
Canada is home to almost 2.6 million people of South Asian heritage. Those expats have a “strong musical connection” with the subcontinent, reads a joint statement from Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India.
Punjabi-Canadian acts accounted for three of the top 10 tracks in India last year, according to data supplied by IFPI.