Breaking Down Barriers: D36 Supporting Emerging South Asian Artists in the American Music Scene and Beyond
Music is a universal language that connects people from different parts of the world, and South Asian artists are making waves in the American music scene. D36 is an independent, Los Angeles-based company that aims to support emerging South Asian artists and promote them to mainstream audiences in diverse genres. It was created by a group of like-minded individuals sharing a passion for music who noticed a lack of infrastructure to support artists within their community. In an interview with D36, the company discussed how their collaboration with artists Rahul, She Loves Boon, and Cable came about. They also shed light on the struggles and triumphs of South Asian artists in the American music industry and their collaboration with Homegrown Street, an Indian music festival. The company brought its artists to perform in India, where they connected with fans who appreciated their music.
“We wanted to create a platform for us. Rahul, Boon, and Cable were some of the first artists we reached out to when we launched the label. None of them had released a full-length project at that time, so we got to be intimately involved in building their story from the ground up,” they commented.
A Look Into Their Artist Roster And The Common Struggles Shared By All Of Them
Rahul, She Loves Boon and Cable are all just a few of the emerging talents from the South Asian community of America who have built incredible fan bases and cultural cachet across every major genre of mainstream music, from hip hop to alternative to R&B to electronic. D36 believes that there will be several more South Asian artists who will break into the broader music landscape over the next few years, and their goal is to play a central role in supporting this process. The company pointed out that while the Billboard charts are one way to measure visibility in music, there are emerging artists from their community that have built incredible fan bases and cultural cachet across every single major genre of mainstream music – hip hop, alternative, R&B, electronic, etc – and all in a short period of time.
However, there are struggles that South Asian kids face in the American music industry. One of the main challenges is the indistinction between the content creator and the artist in today’s times and specifically how their South Asian identity comes into play.
“With great music, expressing identity is a specific, nuanced, and multi-dimensional process. With social content (specifically short-form video like Reels or TikTok), you can be successful by expressing identity in a way that’s a bit more 2-dimensional – optimized for a 15-second snippet,” said a representative of the company. “For certain artists, following that signal takes them further away from their desire to build a real career in music,” they added.
D36 believes that it’s better to build around the music rather than make music to reinstate social content. “It takes more patience, but it’s really the only way to build a sustainable career and a fan base that’s here for you as a musician,” they said.
D36’s Collaboration With Homegrown Was A Successful Venture
The company has also collaborated with Homegrown, an organization that supports independent music in India. The two groups share a lot of creative calibration between the stories they share and the music they support. The D36 roster recently performed at HG Street – a 2-day cultural festival celebrating the independent art and music scene of the country. Rahul, She Loves Boon and Cable – all three of them delivered stellar sets at the festival.
“Beyond being insanely talented storytellers, they all have a super specific vision of themselves as artists and the worlds they’re trying to build,” is what the company had to say about their artists. “Most importantly, they’re all unapologetically themselves when it comes to the art. They also occupy super distinct arenas sonically, which is important to us as we (as a label/platform) are constantly thinking about diversity and expanding the number of audiences we engage with. We never want two of our artists to occupy the same space or represent something similar,” they added.
The artists from D36 have fans reaching out to them from India, and according to the company, they are aware of the independent music scene here. The music they’re making has started to connect in certain pockets of India. The company even had some people take super long journeys to attend some of their shows at the HG Street festival. As a label, they spend a lot of time understanding the happenings in the indie scene, but this was the first time their artists were able to witness it in real time. The festival also did a spectacular job highlighting the diversity of the scene with some of the best acts from the country. The plan for D36 was always to build a platform that can truly support talent cross-border, and they want to continue building a physical presence on the ground in India.
“There’s tons of overlap in influences, genres, and general approach to the music & visuals with the stuff we do at D36. Overall, the performances were an opportunity to start relationships with artists & audiences that we hope to build with in the future,” they said.
D36’s collaborations with artists Rahul, She Loves Boon, and Cable is just the beginning of a movement that they hope will break down barriers and bring diverse perspectives to the forefront of the music industry. Through partnerships with organizations like Homegrown, the company hopes to create a platform that can truly support talent cross-border and bring the world closer through