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Radio City Freedom Awards has been unveiling the best homegrown talent: Kartik Kalla

Radio City, a part of Music Broadcast Limited (MBL) which is a subsidiary of Jagran Prakashan Ltd, has been giving a fresh boost to the Indie revolution in the country with its Radio City Freedom Awards. 

Radio City Freedom Awards in its 5th edition has evolved to become a countrywide movement that promotes new sounds of the new generation with a perfect amalgamation of modern music with a traditional touch through their songs with the theme of ‘Sounds of the Soil’. 

The 5th edition of the Radio City Freedom Awards kicked off with the first gig in Chennai on February 8, 2018 with performances by ‘Oorka’ and ‘LIVE Banned’ at the Bay 146. The live show witnessed phenomenal participation from music enthusiasts in Chennai, especially from the independent music community. This gig is followed by performances by renowned Indie bands in 8 cities. The grand finale and gala award night is scheduled to be held in Mumbai in Marchat Glocal Junction.  

Radio City Freedom Awards (RCFA) is a platform to recognize and reward independent music artists across genres and languages. This global platform identifies the best of indie musicians and provides an interface between the emerging fresh talent and the veterans in the industry. 

Jockey, Skoda, OK Listen, Vicks, RSJ, Rock Bong and IndiHut have come aboard as sponsors for Radio City Freedom Awards 5.0. 

Adgully spoke with Kartik Kalla, EVP & National Head - Programming, Marketing & AudaCITY, Radio City, to know more about this musical initiative, the journey, theme, philosophy of the event and more. Excerpts: 

What kind of engagement and participation has the Radio City Freedom Awards generated in its five-year existence?
Started in 2013, the Radio City Freedom Awards is now in its 5th year and we are going strong. This year, we have 13 pre-gigs happening in 8 different cities – Pune, Jaipur, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Shillong and Mumbai, with some big-name brand associations such as Jockey and Skoda. While we received 446 entries last year, this year we have already received 520 entries with one week of nominations still to go. 

We have genre-based awards for Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Electronica, Folk-Fusion to Metal, Pop as well as broad categories such as Best Video, Artwork, Collaboration and more. Some of the marquee jury members that have embraced this platform through the years include Luke Kenny, Atul Churamani, Vehrnon Ibrahim, and Vijay Basrur, among others. 

For the 4th Season of Radio City Freedom Awards, we had decided on the theme of ‘Sounds of the Soil’ with an aim to promote and recognise bands and artists who produce modern sounds with a traditional touch. Leading up to the finale in March 2016, we conducted a series of pre-gigs in 6 different cities (Pune, Jaipur, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai), post which the grand finale was held which witnessed some power-packed performances, awarding some of the brightest talents across the country. 

Now in our 5th year, Radio City Freedom Awards have continued with the same theme of ‘Sounds of the Soil’, and is all set to make it even bigger with a total of 13 pre-gigs lined up across India and a plethora of talented musicians performing for the ultimate glory. 

Could you elaborate on the ‘Sounds of the Soil’ theme?
As the name suggests, it’s all about promoting local tunes by musicians across our culturally diverse country. Every region in our country adds a different element to the kind of music they produce because of the socio-cultural diversity. We want to cover as much of the country as possible and ensure everyone gets a chance to showcase their creativity through music. ‘Sounds of the Soil’ is all about originality and freedom to express oneself. 

Could you shed some light on the kind of talent that has been uncovered through RCFA in the past years?
Over the years, RCFA has been able to bring out some of the best homegrown talent to help them establish themselves on the bigger stage. 

While presenting the award for the Best Hip-Hop artist in 2013, Vishal Dadlani announced on stage that he would like to work with the winners for his upcoming movie. The very next day, the winners – MWA (Bangalore) and Enkore (Mumbai) – recorded the track ‘Ready Steady Po’ for the movie ‘Chennai Express’. 

When rapper Divine won both popular and Jury awards for Best Hip-Hop artist in 2014, representatives from Sony Music, who were present at the event, noticed his talent and gave him a record deal in the same week. 

In 2016, rapper Emiway took home the Best Hip-Hop Artist (Popular choice). While accepting the award on stage, he mentioned that a few years ago he had been hired by Hard Rock Café – the same venue where the Grand Finale was taking place – for logistics management, which included him re-arranging tables and chairs. It was truly an emotional moment for him personally, as well as for the people present there, as he encouraged all to dream and make it big because anybody with sheer passion and determination can scale great heights. 

How has Radio City been leveraging on-ground properties for audience engagement?
We have a host of on-ground properties like Radio City Freedom Awards, Radio City Cine Awards, Radio City Super Singer, and Gig City, among others. It is evident that through our properties we engage with pretty much the entire demographic by developing unique properties. The response we have received from these properties through the years is very encouraging and we aim to continue developing newer properties as well as strengthen the existing ones.

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