What I love about A&Rs is their unique approach in the studio and when it comes to signing content. No two A&Rs think the same, but they all serve the artists and enable them to overcome the anxiety of writing and releasing music while ensuring the audiences find new experiences through music. An A&R is a link between labels/publishers and their artists but also between artists and their audiences. The role is nuanced, and learning from A&Rs helps shape a unique perspective on culture and its direction.
Abhishek Patil, the Head of A&R for Warner Music India, started as an A&R at Sony Music India in 2016. Over the last many years, he has studied music creation trends, analysed popular music in India and, through trial and error, found his sweet spot in his role. Abhishek has many insights and examples to share, being front and centre of many cultural moments in the Indian Pop space.
For Abhishek, it all began in a particular time frame in 2015 -16 when Indian hits DJ Waale Babu and Baaki Baatein Peene Baad came out. He calls these two releases revolutionary because of the unique songwriting and sound design that made the two stand out as what he calls “Proper Indian Pop”. It made him realise that this could be the starting point for a new Pop scene in India that is more International than the Indie-Pop scene during the 90s, with stars such as Alisha Chinai with her hit song Made in India and Shaan’s Tanha Dil. However, Indie-Pop lost out again to Bollywood, with many Pop stars like Alisha and Shaan moving into Bollywood. When DJ Waale Babu and Baaki Baatein Peene Baad Babu came out, it was a half gamble: either the new Pop music scene would become the most significant scene that finally goes global, or it may feed Bollywood and fizzle out the way it did in the 90s. With rising scenes growing around Bollywood today and charts filled with both Bollywood and non-Bollywood music, it’s safe to say Abhishek’s risk is paying off. Let’s hear more from him: