By David Tusing
It’s not every day that a little known band from one of the most remote regions of India gets to compete on the popularity stakes with global phenomenon One Direction. Or Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park or Rihanna. But if Alobo Naga & the Band, make it to the second round of voting for the upcoming MTV European Music Awards, that could soon be a reality.
But first, the five-member rock band from India’s north east will have to beat Nigerian singer D’Banj, known for the international summer hit ‘Oliver Twist’ and Moroccan breakthrough artist Ahmad Sultan in the Best Africa-India-Middle East Act.
“Having come this far is big enough for us,” says Alobo Naga, the founder and vocalist of the band. “It’s beyond our wildest dreams – and we thank God and our fans every day.”
Formed in Nagaland state, the band recently beat four other acts, including Indian rock legends Indus Creed, to be voted the Best Indian Act for their single Painted Dreams.
“We’ve all grown up listening to bands like Indus Creed and to have been chosen over them to represent India is very humbling,” says Naga, who started off as a solo artist and formed the band two years ago. “It is shocking but at the same time very encouraging.”
Describing their music as contemporary progressive rock, Naga credits their success to fans looking for something different in a country dominated by Bollywood music.
“I think people are looking for something fresh and new,” he says of their rock and electro infused tunes. “It’s hard to slot our music because there are so many elements from rock to pop and electro music.
“Also, I think it helps that we are all full-time musicians. Rock music in India is never considered a full-time career option but we’ve given our all to the band.”
The band also have the additional responsibility of educating their countrymen and outsiders about the little known region of India.
“Western music is big in the north east, but not so much outside. So we hope this recognition, irrespective of which stage we get to, will help promote rock music,” he says. “Also, we get asked a lot where we come from, which is we why we insisted on having Naga in our name so people can ask and learn about Nagaland.”
The Best Africa-India-Middle East Act will be voted on my fans on the MTV website with a winner announced on October 30. The regional act will then compete with the Best Asia Pacific Act, Best Latin America Act, Best European Act and Best North American Act for the Best Worldwide Act to be announced during the live shows in Frankfurt on November 11.
Last year, K-pop band Big Bang won the fan-voted award.
Performers at the gala event already confirmed include Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Rita Ora, Alicia Keys, Pitbull and bands The Killers, Muse, No Doubt and fun. South Korean phenomenon Psy will also perform his global hit Gangnam Style at the show, to be hosted by hometown girl Heidi Klum.
Nominees in other categories include Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Kanye West, Green Day, Flo Rida, Arctic Monkeys and Jack White.
tabloid! will be reporting live from the red carpet and show in Frankfurt.
*To vote for Alobo Naga for the Best Africa-India-Middle East Act, go to alobonaga.com. To find out more about the event, go to mtvema.com