Mumbai-based EDM group Lost Stories is one of the top picks for YouTube’s global artist development programme, Foundry 2020. DJ/ producer duo Prayag Mehta and Rishab Joshi have become the first Indians to be selected for this prestigious programme. Entertainment, movies, film
What is YouTube Foundry? “It’s YouTube Music’s artist development programme, which supports emerging independent artists as they build careers on their own terms. Through this unique partnership, artists set goals, develop content strategy and engage with fans, with the help of YouTube partner managers and agency partners,” read a statement.
Foundry, which was founded in 2015, has supported over 120 emerging independent artists in more than 13 countries. Excited about the selection, Prayag and Rishab say that they are thrilled about the exposure and the chance to put India on the international music map.
Lost Stories will work together with YouTube to maximise the impact of their channel, receive marketing promotion and education on best practices for growing and engaging their audience on an international scale, for an intensive period of time. Ask them how do they see the programme giving a push to their music and career and Rishab says, “As Foundry artists, with the help and support of YouTube Music, we are looking to elevate the quality of our content to the next level as well as engage with our current audience better, and of course, build a bigger, wider audience in the coming months.”
The class of 2020 will also feature Los Angeles singer-songwriter Adam Melchor, Puerto Rican trap artist Eladio Carrion, Brooklyn experimentalist Gabriel Garzon-Montano, Birmingham grime artist and actor Jaykae, Glasgow R&B singer Joesef, Los Angeles-based corridos trailblazer Natanael Cano, Japanese indie rock band Novelbright, Sydney pop-rock brothers Lime Cordiale, French pop-rap artist TESSÆ, Nigerian singer and producer Tems, and Korean-American multitalent REI AMI.
Prayag feels that the opportunity has come around at the right time, especially when the whole Lost Stories sound is changing. “We are using elements we have never used before. We are stepping away from our comfort zone, collaborating with new artists and we are happy that we now have Foundry to amplify our efforts,” he adds.
Ranked #52 on DJ Mag’s list of Top 100 DJs in the world (2016-17), the duo has created several hit tracks including Bombay Dreams with KSHMR, Mahi, their official remix of Alan Walker’s Faded, and Vaseegara edit with Jonita Gandhi’s vocals.
They have successfully blended contemporary EDM sound with Indian folk music. Is that the reason why they could smoothly cross geographical borders and connect with their listeners? “There’s no way to point at one thing and be like ‘yeah, this is the reason our sound is working’,” says Prayag, to which Rishab adds, “It’s a mix of doing things differently, doing them confidently, and having a great management that believes in your efforts and pushes you down the right channel.”
The duo launched their single Mai Ni Meriye on May 21. Sharing about the single, Rishab says, “We heard Mai Ni Meriye, the folk song, years ago when a friend played it at a party and spoke about missing his trips to the mountains. It instantly resonated with us and we always wanted to do something with it. We have been working on this song for close to three years. After the Vaseegara edit success, we wanted to crack an original with Jonita (Gandhi) and this felt like a perfect song to do. She absolutely nailed it and so did Ashwin!”
The duo has represented India at some of the biggest music festivals such as Tomorrowland, Global Citizen Festival, Mysteryland, New Horizons Festival, and Electric Daisy Carnival.
The lockdown has made virtual concerts a reality and successful too. Ask the duo if virtual concerts will become a medium to consume music and Prayag says that it’s too early to say what’s going to be the new normal and what’s going to fade away. “We are all elements of building the future of music in some or the other way. At this point, I just hope it’s fair to all the elements of the industry,” he says.
The duo runs an academy for students who are interested in music production. Ask them what is the important lesson that the two share with their students and Rishab says, “First thing we tell them is that the world doesn’t need another Martin Garrix or Marshmello or Lauv so focus on your own individuality and use the music as a medium to tell your story.”