Sujata Murthy, the Executive Vice President of Media and Artist Relations at Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the latest luminary to star in Biz Break: uDiscoverMusic’s brand-new video series that features interviews and insights from the creative teams behind some of the biggest artists in the music industry.
Earlier this year, the series premiered with an interview focusing on director Chris Scholar and producer/animator Bevin Brown of BOOC Productions. This time round, though, Biz Break welcomes Sujata Murthy, a music industry veteran and publicity executive who is recognized as an inspirational, trailblazing figure for Asian-American creatives in the music industry.
In the full episode of Biz Break – which you can watch above in its entirety – Murthy discusses a number of topics, including working with artists ranging from Rick James to KISS and her 20-year history of working with the legendary Berry Gordy at Motown Records, but firstly an excerpt from the interview is below.
How did you first get started in the music industry?
Sujata Murthy: “I started my first start at Capitol Records, coincidentally through a family friend called Bhaskar Menon, who was at that time head of Capitol. He was a guiding light in my career and to this day I always try and follow his example.
“I started at Capitol during the beginning of the CD boom, working with artists that were being put on CD for the first time,” she furthers. “Frank Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Peggy Lee, The Andrews Sisters, the list goes on. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I think music was my natural path. My parents were big supporters of the arts and in fact, my grandfather used to be a music critic on the side. He had a real job, but then on the side, all these musicians would come and do shows for him and he would critique it.”
As someone who has achieved success, do you feel more Asian people now valued in the music industry?
Sujata Murthy: “When I started a lot of Asian people in the industry were relegated to finance or accounting, sort of stereotypically. But they were never thought of as creatives. With Bhaskar breaking the ceiling first, being very artist-centric, artist-focused, and then various other executives coming up, including myself, I’m seeing more and more Asian executives and staff joining record labels and doing it their own way.”
She adds “Being recognized as an Indian in Hollywood, or an Indian in the music industry, I think I bring some of the things I was taught as a child and growing up, always treating people with respect, always treating people with dignity, and always helping people out along the way. Because success is a team effort and it’s not ever just one person, so I think bringing that cultural aspect to my career has really helped.”