Universal funds ‘Slumdog’ school in India – and will offer 360 label deals to pupils

Universal Music Group is helping to fund a new music and dance school in India’s largest slum, Dharavi, alongside two of the creative stars behind Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.

‘The Dhavari Project’ is a corporate social responsibility initiative between Universal and the Multi-Channel Network, Qyuki.

The school was originally founded by Qyuki – owned by Slumdog director Shekhar Kapur and its legendary composer AR Rahman, plus the former MD Digital of Disney India, Samir Bangarain – in March 2014.

The school aims to discover fresh talent from Dharavi and nurture them through the programme, as well as amplifying their global recognition via digital and traditional media.

But it might just find a star, too: Universal says that eventually it will ‘reward the most promising talent with a 360-degree label deal’.

“Whether we produce stars or simply a lifelong love of music, we will have succeeded in giving these children a start along the path of discovery of this beautiful form of expression.”

Max Hole, CEO & Chairman, Universal Music International

Universal Music will bankroll the school’s infrastructure, rent, utilities and equipment, and has committed to periodically bringing in prominent singers, musicians, choreographers, producers and the like to mentor young artists. Qyuki will amplify content via its digital broadcast network on a domestic and international scale.

Max Hole, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group International, said, “Music has extraordinary power and I am very proud to be here in Mumbai on behalf of UMG to help give these children an education in all aspects of making music. Whether we produce stars out of the programme or simply a lifelong love of music, we will have succeeded in giving them a start along the path of discovery of this beautiful form of expression.”

Qyuki co-founder AR Rahman, said, “I am glad that this initiative we started at Qyuki last year is maturing into a platform that provides underprivileged children a level playing field with equal opportunity as their domestic and international peers.”

`The Dharavi Project’ went live today at a launch event in the heart of Dharavi, and was attended by A R Rahman, Shekhar Kapur and UMGI Chairman & CEO Max Hole along with Qyuki co-founder, MD Samir Bangara and MD, Universal Music Group/EMI, South Asia, Devraj Sanyal.

Universal says that ‘The Dharavi Project’ will cover all elements in the making of a music star including scouting talent, styling, mentoring, providing studio time, producing videos, optimising online video.

[Pictured L-R: Devraj Sanyal – MD Universal Music Group and EMI South Asia; Max Hole – Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group International; Shekhar Kapur – Qyuki co-founder; A R Rahman – Qyuki co-founder; Samir Bangara- Qyuki co-founder & Managing DirectorMusic Business Worldwide

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