RESERVOIR SIGNS INDIA-BASED MULTI-PLATINUM RAPPER DIVINE TO A WORLDWIDE PUBLISHING DEAL AND STRIKES JOINT VENTURE WITH DIVINE’S GULLY GANG ENTERTAINMENT
Reservoir announces the signing of multi-platinum rapper DIVINE to a worldwide publishing deal. The deal includes global rights to his catalog, plus future works. In addition, Reservoir has struck a joint venture with DIVINE’s Gully Gang Entertainment, the umbrella company which houses his label Gully Gang Records, to sign and develop new songwriting talent. This venture marks the first deal of its kind for India.
At only 25-years-old, Vivian Fernandes, who goes by the stage name DIVINE, has been at the heart of the rise of hip-hop in India, gaining fame as one of the most popular rappers and prompting the increase in popularity of the “gully rap” movement. Following several successful singles including “Yeh Mera Bombay,” “Kohinoor,” “Jungli Sher,” “Kaam 25,” and his breakthrough track “Meri Gully Mein,” he released his definitive debut album, Kohinoor,in 2019, in partnership with hip-hop legend Nas’ label, Mass Appeal India. Lauded for its lyrical complexity and relatable storytelling, the album has received widespread acclaim, with nearly all tracks becoming a mainstay on audio streaming charts in India. As the follow-up to Kohinoor, and inspired by the unprecedented pandemic, he released an emotionally driven hip-hop and rap compilation album titled SHUTDOWN on Mass Appeal India this year. To date, DIVINE has amassed over 1 billion audio and video streams.
DIVINE’s works strike an authentic chord with listeners, and his autobiographical rap often touches upon the trials and tribulations implicit in inner-city life in Mumbai. With his moving story, DIVINE influenced Bollywood director Zoya Akhtar, to create the award-winning blockbuster hit musical drama Gully Boy, which featured DIVINE on five tracks of the soundtrack, including the popular “Apna Time Ayega.”
Beyond his own music career, DIVINE has ventured into entrepreneurial endeavors, founding Gully Gang Entertainment, which Reservoir has united with in a joint venture to continue to identify, sign, and develop songwriting talent in India.
“2020 is all about manifestations and taking things a few notches higher,” said DIVINE. “I’m super elated to partner with Reservoir who aspire to leverage my desi brand of hip-hop amongst global tastemakers. It’s time that Indian hip-hop and rap is no longer confined to homegrown parameters, but assumes the form of a world phenomenon!”
Spek, Reservoir’s EVP of International & Emerging Markets, added, “In a market historically dominated by Bollywood, what DIVINE has done to bring hip-hop into the mainstream is really unprecedented in India. It’s a remarkable story and we look forward to making history together, signing the next generation of Asian hip-hop talent with Gully Gang.”
Chaitanya Kataria, Co-Founder, Gully Gang Entertainment further commented, “We’re extremely pleased to have Reservoir as a partner for our joint venture and for them to represent DIVINE’s publishing interests. Reservoir’s growth in an extremely competitive market has been tremendous and we see a lot of synergy and parallels with what we’re building here at Gully Gang Entertainment.”
“We believe in the music DIVINE is making and the movement he has created,” added Rell Lafargue, Reservoir President and COO. “This new partnership reaffirms our commitment to supporting creators in emerging markets and helping them reach new fans across the globe, and we’re proud to be kicking things off in India with DIVINE.”
DIVINE is expected to release music later this year and has already been working with other Reservoir roster talent. On this upcoming project, Spek added, “We are looking forward to being able to tee up collaborations to create unique music for DIVINE and Gully Gang. It’s an exciting time for Indian hip-hop as they cross over into global markets to the diaspora and beyond.”
DIVINE and Gully Gang Entertainment were advised by music & entertainment rights expert Priyanka Khimani in the publishing deal and joint venture with Reservoir, respectively.