Sunday, January 24, 2016

How to submit your music for the GIMA awards

My best friend Divya and me at the GIMA's in 2014
After I got nominated for the Global Indian Music Awards(GIMA) awards in 2014 (Best Music Debut & Best Pop Album I had a lot of indie musicians ask me how I submitted my music for GIMA, information about the deadlines etc.

I thought I'd write a blog post about the same so that more indie musicians can submit their music for consideration.

Read on..
 "Why should I submit to GIMA? I'm really about the music and not the awards"
Clinton Cerejo's band performing at the awards
The reason you should submit your best work for GIMA, irrespective of whether you win an award or not is because of the stellar jury that will listen to it. The Jury comprises of some of the stalwarts of the music industry including established music directors like Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy & Leslie Lewis, classical musicians like Taufiq Quereshi, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt , Hariharan and lyricists Javed Akhtar and Prasoon Joshi ( two of my favourites from the industry).  To some, the award is a validation of their work, to some it is not..but to all musicians , this is a great opportunity to get your music critiqued and more importantly heard by the best in the industry. You never know what opportunities might stem from there. Give it a shot I say!

Ranveer Singh hosting the awards
"But I thought GIMA was all about Bollywood music"
What a lot of indie musicians are not aware of is that the GIMA awards exist for both Film and Non-Film Categories of music. Sadly, due to the strong Bollywood influence in India, the non-film categories are not given as much importance on television as a result of which many people still assume that the GIMAs are about Bollywood. As an indie musician you can submit your music in the Non-film category for consideration.

What are the deadlines?
The deadlines to submit your music change every year so keep an eye open on the GIMA website for

What are the categories for indie musicians?
You can check out if you're eligible to submit your music for any of the categories below

What are the steps I need to take to submit my music to GIMA?
A star-studded night..the Indian equivalent of the Grammies
  • Log onto the GIMA website and click on the 'Apply Here' link on the homepage.
  • You will be prompted to register and enter your details. The userid and password will be sent to you on your e-mail id.
  • Login to the GIMA page with the username and the password received in your e-mail.
  • Select Non-Film music category and select the categories ( one or multiple) you would like to nominate yourself for.
  • Once you are satisfied with your entries, proceed to submit the form. A page will be displayed with the categories you have nominated yourself for alongwith the entry fee per category.This year the fee is Rs. 600/- per category for Non-film music.
  • On submittion of the online form, you will receive a confirmation email from GIMA with details of what needs to be submitted to them to confirm your entry. Here's a summary of what you need to put together for your entry:

    • Print out of the completed Declaration Form ( The link to the form will be sent to your e-mail ID) 
    • 2 CD's to be submitted per category ( Yes! You read that right). So 4 CD's in all if you submit for 2 categories, 6 CD's for 3 categories..etc
    • CDs/DVDs/Pendrive with video for Best Music Video Category – Non-Film
    • Entry Fees via DD/Cheque in favour of ‘Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’ Or Entry Fees via NEFT( bank details are specified in e-mail)
    • In the case of digital releases, entrants must submit a proof of release - official letter stamped by the digital platform owner OR a print-out in case the release is on social media websites. Also, if you don't hold the IPR for your music you need to get an NOC  from the holders of the intellectual property rights of music.

Labelled CD's for submittion in 2 categories
Completed Declaration Form

You can either submit your entries in the Wizcraft office in Mumbai in Andheri personally or post them the material. You will receive a confirmation call from them once your entry has been validated successfully.
Nominations are announced in a month or so from submission and the awards are generally towards the beginning of the year. This year (2016) it will most likely be in March.

Now go submit your music... more power to you!:) All the best .

P.s. If you like this article I would really love for you to share it and subscribe to the blog for other informative posts. Lets all help and educate one another and build the indie scene in India together:)


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Burning Fire - A Song for Tibet

‘Twas a windy day as we roamed the streets of Mcloedganj, a beautiful little town in Himachal Pradesh. The air was laden with the fresh scent of pine trees and the cool wind blew in our faces. Me and my oldest school friend Divya had decided to go for a girl’s trip to explore Dharamsala & Mcloedganj.
As we made our way through the crowded by-lanes in the market, we saw plenty of curio shops with “Free Tibet” signs outside. Prayer flags adorned every tree, every shop entrance and every house, creating a very festive & colorful atmosphere.

We spotted a quaint little organic café to our right and meandered in. I love the relaxed pace of everything during holidays. Meandering ( I love the word!) is something I am very fond of, given the hectic pace of my daily life.
As Divya explored the handicrafts display in the café, I noticed a lady wearing a traditional Tibetan dress sitting by herself with a cup of coffee .She was chatting to the store owner in Tibetan while showing her some pictures on her phone. The Tibetan language, with its high-pitched tones & intonations, sounded almost like a bird song. Suddenly the Tibetan lady broke out into a lovely folk song; her voice engulfing the room like waves of sound gently brushing across the ocean sands. Enraptured, I knew I had to speak with her and find out more about the tune.

“You have such a lovely voice”, I said. “I am a musician from Delhi and would love to learn a Tibetan song from you”.
 She looked at me and smiled kindly. I continued, “Could you tell me the lyrics so I could write them down?”

Surprised at the unexpected attention, she looked around shyly at first, but after a bit of egging on from my end, she obliged. As she narrated the words I wrote them down on a paper napkin I borrowed from the lady at the counter, who looked amused and delighted at the same time. She taught me the song line by line and we sang it together, the café echoing with the sound of our voices. We finished to a round of smiles & cheers from the other customers at the café. We were the stars of a mini concert in Mcloedganj, unbeknownst to all.

I was curious about the meaning of the song and asked her to explain it to me. She told me it was
about a bird flying above the mountains looking for freedom. From the tone of her voice I sensed that there was a hidden personal element to the story. As we chatted, she opened up and shared a little more about herself and her roots.
She was born in a beautiful little village in Tibet where she and her husband, a school teacher lived an idyllic life. This was until China occupied Tibet and mayhem ensued. Scores of monasteries were broken down. Strict oppressive laws were brought into place. People that raised their voices mysteriously disappeared. Musicians that sang about injustice were jailed. In desperation, monks started self-immolating to bring attention to the cause.  India opened her arms to hundreds of Tibetans, led by his holiness, the Dalai Lama that took asylum in Dharamsala.

”A lot of people tried to flee Tibet during this time” she said. “Those who were fortunate escaped, but many didn’t. I managed to escape to India with my children but my husband was not allowed to leave.”

She rummaged in her purse and pulled out a photo concealed in plastic for protection. Two handsome young men looked at me forlornly from the picture.

“These are my boys”, she said with pride. “One is 19 and the other is 17. We live in Bangalore, where I work in a healing center.”
 “And your husband? When did you last see him?” I asked almost dreading the answer. With a faraway look in her eyes she said “I haven’t seen him in seventeen years”. SEVENTEEN years!! 
“I speak with him when I can on the phone but most of the times I can’t reach him and don’t know if he’s ok. When I miss him a lot, I sing these songs to remember him and our times together. I don’t know when I’ll see him again but I pray that someday I will. Pray for me.” 
Something about her story struck an emotional chord in my heart and I couldn’t hold back my tears.
 “Could I give you a hug?” I asked. She gave me an emotional nod as we hugged and sobbed in each others arms. Not saying anything, but understanding everything. Two strangers, now friends; bound by a story of love, loss and a song.

We sang the song together again, one last time in unison. This time with a silent prayer & the conviction that one day the bird would indeed fly to freedom and be re-united with the sky.

All of us with the Tibetan lady at Rogpa Cafe

P.S This story and that of whats been happening in Tibet inspired me to write "Burning Fire" ..a song I'll be releasing in Feb 2016. Divya and me went back to Dharamshala and shot the video for this song..Stay tuned for updates.