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Selector Pro Developing Three Year Program in India for Emerging Music Ecosystem

The British Council recently hosted a residency and workshop for the newest crop of musicians and behind-the-scenes personnel

Anurag Tagat Mar 21, 2020

British composer Nainita Desai at the Music Works series at the True School of Music in Mumbai last month. Photo: British Council India/Selector Pro

An award-winning music composer who’s worked on documentaries, films and TV series, U.K.-based Nainita Desai says all she ever really wants to do is focus on writing music. “However, I had to struggle to be taken seriously as a young composer and overcoming preconceived perceptions and stereotypes. I was quite isolated and had very few women role models in the industry. It didn’t put me off at the time as I was very driven, but I feel it is important to be visible,” she says over an email interview.

In India last month for British Council India’s Selector Pro workshop series Music Works, plus a three-day Visual Music residency as trainer, Desai was talking about not just scoring music for film but also helping attendees understand the need to expand their skills. Desai discussed her work and how to operate with orchestras, tight budgets and deadlines and developing one’s own voice.

Amongst the questions she received, the composer said nothing was too taboo to talk about. Desai mentions how imposter syndrome is a common worry and mental health of composers needs more discussion. “Only recently has it been okay to discuss these issues – such as stress, working with difficult clients, emotional wellbeing. People are embracing these subjects in a much more open way now and it’s such a healthy dialogue to have,” she adds.

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A total of 15 people (producers, musicians and multidisciplinary artists) were selected for residency that included Desai as a trainer, alongside the producer Tejas Nair aka Spryk and visual artist Avinash Kumar, co-founder of audio-visual electronic music act BLOT!. With a specific focus on increasing female representation in the music space in India, Selector Pro are currently working on a three-year structured program alongside stakeholders in the Indian music industry.

Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts, British Council India says, “The music scene in India is dynamic and fast evolving that mirrors the global trend. Newer festivals and platforms are fast emerging and it is important that women become a part of the next wave of music performers. The British Council has always invested in people’s futures and with The Selector Pro, we hope to give aspiring musicians and producers the chance to turn their passion into their profession and take Indian music to the global stage.”

Desai agrees that things like accessible technology has made it easier for anyone to become a musician, including women, but a level playing field means that the “competition is fierce.” She adds, “You have to push yourself harder to standout and create a unique distinct musical voice to get yourself heard.”


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