Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India have come together to launch a new joint venture, 91 North Records, aimed at supporting artists of South Asian heritage and helmed by prolific Canadian artist/producer Ikwinder Singh (Ikky) who is named as creative director.
Ikky has generated more than two billion streams worldwide with songs he either co-wrote or produced. Among these are 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 Canada and Coalition Music in 2021. Over the past five years, he has released and or produced over 30 tracks, many of which have charted in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
The new deal with Warner Canada is reported to be the first such joint venture that also has the support of Warner Music’s global network.
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 Canadian artist/producer Charlie B who is named as A&R Director,
Aujla released his new album, Making Memories, last Friday and over the last five years has become one of the genre’s hottest 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 imprint’s name 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.
“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,” Warner Canada President Kristen Burke stated at the time of the launch. “The new venture allows artists to be truly authentic, and our global network gives us the opportunity to showcase their culture on a global stage.”
Jay Mehta, managing director of Warner Music India, added: “This is certainly going to be a game-changer initiative for artists who will now have global support from A&R, marketing, collaborations and more.”
As per the announcement, there are almost 2.6M people of South Asian heritage living in Canada, and a new generation of artists from these communities is 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.