Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India have launched a new joint venture, 91 NORTH RECORDS, aimed at supporting artists of South Asian heritage.
The new entity will be guided by artist and producer Ikwinder “Ikky” Singh, who has come onboard as creative director.
Singh has already made waves across the industry, racking up more than two billion streams worldwide with songs such as Shubh's Baller, Diljit Dosanjh’s Chauffeur and Sidhu Moose Wala’s Bambiha Bole.
He launched his own label, 4N Records, in partnership with Warner Music and Coalition Music in 2021.
91 NORTH RECORDS’ first signings are Canadian-based Punjabi stars Karan Aujla and Jonita Gandhi. Both artists will work closely with Ikky as well as A&R Director, Charlie B.
Aujla released his new album Making Memories last Friday and over the last five years has become one of the scene's biggest artists. Since his first major hit Don’t Worry in 2018, he’s received almost three billion views on YouTube, has garnered over one billion audio streams and eight million followers across his social media channels.
The name 91 NORTH RECORDS references both countries with a nod to India’s country code and Canada’s geographical location and the logo is inspired by India’s national flower the lotus.
The label held a launch event at Warner Music Canada’s offices in Toronto on Tuesday, August 22.
"I’ve always been fascinated by the blending of Indian and Western sounds into culturally impactful, innovative music,” says Singh. “91 NORTH RECORDS exists to elevate artists pursuing this fusion. Punjabi and South Asian music already competes worldwide, and I'm thrilled to collaborate with emerging talents, showcasing and amplifying what they have to offer. This is no experiment; it's the future.”
Jay Mehta, managing director, Warner Music India, says: “We’re so excited by the launch of 91 NORTH RECORDS. This venture not only celebrates the musical styles of artists with South Asian heritage but also leverages the market potential of uniting two distinct fan bases to bring this music to the global stage. This is certainly going to be a gamechanger initiative for artists who will now have global support from A&R, marketing, collaborations and more.”
Kristen Burke, president, Warner Music Canada, added: “91 NORTH RECORDS is dedicated to celebrating and amplifying Indian culture. There is an incredible new generation of talent rising, influenced by their South Asian heritage, and we want to make sure these artists are represented both here and around the world. This new venture allows artists to be truly authentic, and our global network gives us the opportunity to showcase their culture on a global stage.”
Alfonso Perez-Soto, president, emerging markets, Warner Music, concluded: “Punjabi music is currently going through a vibrant evolution, having been supported by multicultural Canada, it is now transforming from a regional and diaspora-based genre into a global force. This growth is thanks to exceptional production and artistry from the likes of Ikky and the ambition and understanding from Jay, Kristen and the teams at WM India and WM Canada.
“91 NORTH RECORDS will act as the vital bridge between East and West - uniting talent, cultures, and ideas, and cementing a movement that is here to stay. At Warner Music we will continue to champion initiatives like this for the love of music, artists, and fans alike.”
There are almost 2.6 million people of South Asian heritage living in Canada and a new generation of artists from these communities are starting to have a massive impact in the country and internationally.
There is also a strong musical connection between the South Asian diaspora in Canada and the subcontinent. Three of the Top 10 tracks in India in 2022 were by Punjabi-Canadian artists according to IFPI figures.