New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) Music mogul Simon Fuller, who brought his global pop group Now United to India for the first time, finds the country digitally smart and fully focused on the future. However, he says India has been overlooked by international artistes and now it is difficult for foreign talent to break into.
"India is very important for the development of Now United. It's is a big country and culturally rich. It is also a dynamic country, digitally smart and fully focused on the future. There is a great passion for music and dance and Bollywood is a great inspiration.
"I also believe India has been overlooked by international artistes. There is a massive opportunity for Now United in India. I also happen to love India personally," Fuller, the name behind global entertainment hits including Spice Girls and "Pop Idol", told IANS over an email from Los Angeles when asked why he thinks India is an important destination for Now United.
The band is in India in association with beverage brand Pepsi. Indian rapper Badshah is also a part of this collaboration.
Badshah and Now United, which comprises 14 singers and dancers from all across the globe, have recorded a song titled "How we do it". It was released on November 29.
On the plans in India, Fuller said: "The country is quite difficult for international artistes to break into, so I felt a collaboration with a respected Indian artiste could be the breakthrough moment we needed.
"We were lucky enough to have met Badshah and are excited by our collaboration with him. He is an incredible artiste and a wonderful man. He has been so supportive of Now United and very gracious. We are all so thankful to him. We're very fortunate to have the support of Pepsi too.
"I worked closely with the brand when I launched the Spice Girls and they are proving to be equally influential in the launch of Now United too! We have lots of fun things planned with Badshah while we are in India."
The group, which includes Shivani, a 17-year-old who hails from Udaipur, have visited Mumbai, Delhi and Agra, sharing their experiences with their fans.
Why are cross-cultural amalgamations important for the music industry to grow?
Fuller says the music industry has had a tendency to operate regionally.
"Many globally famous artistes have been British or American but I believe we are heading towards a time where 'global superstars' can come from any country. What has happened with K-Pop is a good example. The digital and streaming world is so connected it enables everyone to hear the same music regardless of what country it originates from. I am excited to bring the best global talent together in one group.
"The whole world will feel connected and proud of the extraordinary talent that their country produces and if the world is connected in this way, we have the potential to develop bigger stars with more cultural impact in every country. The benefits to the music industry as this happens, will be significant. I have always been focused on global success," he told IANS.
Talking about including an Indian voice in the band, he says they staged a thorough search of India for talent.
"Once we felt we had found enough good performers to be considered, I flew to Mumbai to audition them personally. I was very impressed by the talent in India and it was very hard to choose. Shivani was shy to talk to initially and her English was limited, but when she performed, she had the special magic that I always look for.
"She has a wonderful smile. Her spirit and her soul shine through when she dances, she is a very special young lady and a wonderful ambassador for India. She is always happy and the whole group adore her," said Fuller.
Fuller hopes Now United becomes as popular as Spice Girls.
"I believe that Now United has the potential to be one of the biggest and most influential bands I have ever worked with. We are pioneering and pushing boundaries in every way. I'm creating a new path to reach the world in different and more meaningful ways. Now United is a celebration of music and dance.
"Their positive energy and free spirit is powerful and captivating. I am fully focused on making this a huge success. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! Now United is not only great fun but they are a force for good," said Fuller.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)