When it comes to any form of art, there’s no telling when an opportunity might come knocking. As for young musicians looking for avenues for a break, the OnePlus Red Cable Tour is their ticket to fame. In addition to a cash prize, this one-of-a-kind music competition will offer the winner a tour across the country and an opportunity to perform the opening act at the upcoming Global Isai Festival.
While registrations opened on September 21 for the contest where musicians participated online, the preliminary rounds will be held between October 9 and 11 at Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science and at Patrician College of Arts and Science in Chennai. Twenty-five acts have been selected for each category through online auditions for the prelims.
Contestants can perform in diverse music genres like acoustic/a cappella, light music, heavy metal/rock and hip hop. The finals will be judged by a four-panel team consisting of Shakthisree Gopalan, Vijay Prakash, Amitash Pradhan and Sean Roldan. The finals is expected to be held at the Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall, Lady Andal School in Chennai on October 13.
Singer-songwriter Shakthisree Gopalan, whose recent ‘Bhoomi Bhoomi’ from Chekka Chivantha Vaanam topped the charts, tells TNM that the contest is a great platform for bands to participate. “It is very exciting that there’s a contest for bands to participate. And the contest itself covers a broad spectrum. A lot of indie bands can participate, not just singers or vocalists and this is a cool thing,” she says.
She is also full of praise for the band culture in the city. “You have so many amazing bands in Chennai. Contest aside, I wish more people in Chennai would get to listen to bands from here live. I want to be able to choose between which live band show I want to go to on the same day,” she adds.
Music composer Sean Roldan believes that such platforms are very important to encourage risk-takers. “We need youngsters who can take risks. I also feel that youngsters today have the kind of exposure that we never had. I’m sure the digital natives have their own problems to tackle but these are interesting times. When experiments happen, new grounds will open and I think interesting talents will come out. The world needs new things,” he says.
Sean also emphasises the need for more indie music bands. “These should happen more. I see college children picking up their guitar with no aim whatsoever and they are in no hurry to do something immediately. They want to have fun playing and that is the only spirit that can encourage good music. To create good musicians, band culture is the only way. It’s a community,” he explains.
Explaining that the finals of the OnePlus Contest will more likely be like a live performance, singer Vijay Prakash dismisses the idea of judging music and musicians. “I’m just a fellow musician who enjoys listening to music and at the same time I’d like to share my experiences as well,” he says. Vijay points out that the music scene today is brilliant.
“It is also a brilliant profession to be in. A few years ago there were very few platforms but today it is not so. One can choose to be a live performer or a recording artist and can still make a good living. This is a great time for musicians and everyone should live their passion, provided they have strength in their passion,” he adds.
Actor Amitash Pradhan, the only non-musician in the judges’ panel, tells TNM that the decision to include him was made intentional. “There’s also an aspect of performance involved. I think this is great platform for musicians to showcase their talents,” he says.