India is all set to be busy today! Why you ask? Well one of the most biggest music moguls’ Simon Fuller is all set in finding his next Pop Group! He tells UrbanAsian.com about his journey and why he thought of India and why now. His latest venture is Now United and the search across 10 countries for local talent for the first event Global Pop group. The India audition will be held today in Mumbai.
Q. How did NowUnited come about?
A. I have wanted to create a new Pop Music project for some time. However, I wanted to do something new and exciting, never seen before. I wanted it to be a celebration of singing and dancing and on a global scale. I want to create a music group where the fans are as important as the group itself, fully engaged and connected to every aspect of what happens.
Q. What made you add India as a country to look for members for Now United? How do you think Indians have evolved in terms of singing and dancing? What is your expectation from Indian candidates?
A. India was one of the first countries I thought of while planning this project. India has such an incredible history and music and dance is a very important part of your culture, I want Now United to have that same spirit and passion. In India you have mastered music and dance, you produce more musicals than any country in the world and that is the skills I want in Now United. My expectation from the Indian candidates is that they will understand the celebration of music and dance of Now United better than any other country.
Q. You have mentioned that India’s culture made you choose a talent from here. What are your specific requirements from the Indian talent? What will be the selection qualities and what all you are looking for when you judge the candidates in India?
A. I will be looking for the spiritual power that India is so renown for. The commitment and devotion that is so important to achieve the best results. They need to be a triple threat, singing, dancing and acting. They of course will have charisma and good looks and a passion for performance. They need to have a real desire to share all their talent with the rest of the world. I can’t wait to see the final selection and visit India myself to choose that special person.
Q. What are the things that come to your mind with the mention of India and its culture? How do you perceive the country to be?
A. I love India. The history, the spiritual diversity, the love of the arts and the commitment to excellence. It is a beautiful country and that same beauty is in the people and the things they love, from art to music to fashion. Some of the most beautiful people in the world come from India.
Q. What are the challenges that you will be giving to Indian participants?
A. There will be no challenges. We know what we are looking for, it is that special magic the combination of many things…. movement, the voice and the inner glow that shines through. We want someone that the world can fall in love with and aspire to be. We are looking for an inspirational person.
Q. With so many people from different cultures coming together, creative differences are bound to happen. Have you thought about it and are you prepared for it?
A. The joy of Now United is the bringing together of all these different cultures. I want to combine all these creative individuals into one powerful, dynamic and inspirational group, the power comes from the diversity.
Q. Besides having artists from different parts of the world, what other aspects of Now United will attract the audience?
A. The music is going to be incredible. Songs and sounds that are truly world class, created by some of the worlds most brilliant, songwriters and producers. Also with the dancing, we will be using the greatest choreographers in the world today. The people working with Now United are phenomenal individuals. Every single member of the group will learn from the very very best. We are hoping to inspire our audience and everyone will want to be a part of Now United and it is this interactive and immersive experience that the fans will share that makes this group so unique and compelling.
Q. How difficult is it to come up with ideas that keep audience on its toes while still maintaining the identity you’ve built for it?
A. It is always a challenge to keep the audience interested and remain true to the vision. However that is what is expected from me and I will deliver on this. I have achieved this with many other projects and I expect to do it again with Now United. That is my personal challenge and that keeps me focused and committed!
Q. Any Indian music composer or singer’s talent you are particularly fond of or listen to?
A. I love many different Indian artists and musicians. AR Rahman has accomplished so much around the world and Ravi Shankar is a legend. However, Asha Bhosie is someone that defines the voice of India to me.
Q. What is the most appealing thing about Indian music according to you?
A. I love the emotion and passion in Indian music. I also appreciate the melodic complexity, it is unique and inspiring and there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.
Q. Indian talents, whether it is the commoners here or Bollywood, are experimenting with new topics these days and Indian talent like Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan Khan entering the foreign space. Being someone who has given “Spice Girls” and “Pop Idol” to the world, what do you think about this Journey of India? Do people in the West still know Bollywood as ‘masala film land’ with over the top dancing and celebration or do they know more about it?
A. I celebrate any Indian talent venturing out to the world, a great number of them have succeeded and I hope that Now United will inspire many more to attempt this. There is still a mystique about Bollywood to the rest of the world. I don’t think many people really understand it. I would love to do a show called Hollywood to Bollywood. Where a group of entertainers swap places to make a musical in each other’s country. A true creative swap, that would be quite a show!!!
Q. While a lot of Indian actors are working in Hollywood, Indian music seems to find less space in Hollywood shows and movies. What do you think is the reason behind it?
A. I think this is simply because for the most part each country creates entertainment for their own population, so the casting and music is very much geared to the domestic tastes however there are exceptions to this and once again I would like to think that Now United might create more interest in music and cultures from all over the world.
Q. What all you know about Bollywood? Any plans to collaborate with a Bollywood star for your future projects?
A. I am always open to the idea of working with exceptional talent, wherever they might come from. I am fascinated by Bollywood!
Q. Plans of collaborating with Indian television for a show anytime soon?
A. I have been contemplating bringing David Beckham to India to maybe film something. I have been telling him what a remarkable country it is.
Q. Indian music is divided in various genres such as sufi, ghazals, Bollywood music, classical. Anything you are fond of in particular?
A. I love all types of Indian music, but am not expert enough yet to identify each different genre.
Q. There is an upward surge of musical acts by foreign artists in India. What do you think of the scope of international music in India?
A. India is a very important country in the world, with such a huge and active population, it is no surprise to me that foreign artists are wanting to explore opportunity there.
Q. It is a time when many youngsters are looking for shortcuts to success specially when it comes to music world, or easier methods. So, what do you think about the trend, and what advice would you like to give young music enthusiasts?
A. My advice is, there is no short cut to becoming an exceptional talent and while there may be a short cut to becoming famous and seen by millions of people through film, TV or the internet, only the exceptionally talented artists stand the test of time or make history. I am only interested in the extraordinary. Work hard, be committed and passionate and aspire only for greatness.
Can you also share insight about your future projects? Any other association with India in days to come?
A. I have so many exciting new projects to share with the world…! But now it is the moment to focus on Now United…!