The Aces of Arbitrary
By Roneeshma Shrestha
Photos by Shesan Krishna Shrestha
Make-up by Lashes Make-up Studio, Lazimpat
Location courtesy of Headlines Restaurant and Bar, Sherpa Mall
Ranked as one of 50 top YouTube channels in Nepal, ‘Channel Arbitrary’ by the Arbitrary Group has made headlines since its inception in early 2016 with their ‘Me and My Guitar’ and ‘Nepal Reacts’ sessions. They have racked up more than 400,000 subscribers and 100 million views in the past three years.
The Group’s another wing ‘Arbitrary Digital Marketing’ has a unique approach towards digital marketing through in-depth data research and analysis and reaching audience through its cast social media base with over a million audience.
Besides artist management and music production, Arbitrary Events hosts various events to provide entertainment with major events such as the Arbitrary Experience on English and Nepali New Year’s Eve, Arbitrary Live, Arbitrary Colors on Holi, and Arbitrary Christmas. Likewise, Arbitrary Production is specialised in production and concept development projects, creating music videos, television commercials, audio visuals and ad campaigns producing TVC’s for Earth Hour Nepal, #lovecloseup web-series and most recently, the Tuborg Open session.
Under the Arbitrary Records, they’ve signed and managed rising artists such as Nattu Shah, DJ BPM, Swoopna Suman, Trishala Gurung, Neetesh Jung Kunwar, Sweta Singh Hamal, The Act, Samriddhi Rai, DJ Nepsek and Surakhya Malla over the years.
Here are the top five artists the Arbitrary Group is managing these days:
Keen to the musical world, Pradhan would always find himself humming melodious tunes since his childhood, and it didn’t take him much time to realise that music was his path, his goal, and his life. Inspired by Ed Sheeran and encouraged by his father who also was a singer, Pradhan had been familiar with miscellaneous genres such as classical, rock, and metal.
To take himself nearer to the Nepali music scene, Pradhan, who even dropped his college education, started working in the Nepali media field and landed in the position of an assistant producer for the first season of Roadies. After the show ended, Nattu Shah, who was the host of the reality show at that time, saw the spark of a musician in him and invited him to The Arbitrary Group.
In his journey in Nepali music so far, Pradhan has faced numerous challenges while going from gigs to gigs, pouring out his heart and soul, but wasn’t appreciated enough. Competing with hundreds of souls with similar dreams was a great challenge. However, overcoming such challenges, Pradhan has successfully done diverse recordings, videos and has been a crucial member of the company for a year and a half. In fact, Pradhan has also come up with his first song ‘Aakha Bhari’ that he takes as something close to his hearts.
As a solo artist and a member of a band, Pradhan has never failed to showcase his creativity and dedication in music.
Ishan R. Onta
Ingeniously drawing inspirations form socially-relevant situations, Onta has been coming out with songs that express his interpretation of the society.
“I believe human emotions, nature and greed causes conflicts, and I draw inspirations from these for my music. Besides, the things that I learn from my academic lesions contribute to the inspiration,” expresses Onta.
With steadfast and big dreams, Onta—with Bachelor’s degree in Law from Kathmandu University of Law—has been effortlessly juggling his career in music and law. Three years ago, Onta had joined Arbitrary as a video editor. Steadily, his dazzling, enthralling voice and heart-touching lyrics couldn’t be hidden from Arbitrary as one day when the team was returning from a video shoot, Nattu Shah discerned his exceptionally-gifted voice when Onta was humming a song, playing his Ukulele.
Onta has been involved as a solo artist and a member of the three member-band ‘The Elements’. Onta and his band are recognised for their songs such as ‘Tesailey Hidey Ma’, ‘Samaya’, ‘Baru Ma Haschu’, ‘Plastic Ko Maanchhe’, ‘Birsiney Hau Ki’, and many more.
With an ultimate goal of bringing out something new rather than something that’s already hyped in the market, introducing something real is the band’s ultimate goal.
From the exclusively-distinctive covers like ‘Ukali Chadaula’ to fascinating originals, including, ‘K Saaro Ramri Bhako’, ‘Khulla Aakash’, ‘Mero Sano Pari’, the miraculous singer has girls going gaga over him.
For Suman, things started out on the propitious day of Sai Baba’s birthday few years ago, when he had gone to India from school and had to sing prayer hymns. This was how he was enrolled in various competitions which built his self-confidence. Gradually, his passion for reading novels inspired him to write songs. Even though he was enrolled in an army hostel, he always had his heart in music and found the thrill in writing. That was when he aspired to become a singer/songwriter.
After completing SLC, he made his first YouTube account and posted cover songs. He started rushing into bars and pubs doing gigs. Things turned out great for Suman as during one of his performances, the CEO of Channel Arbitrary was enchanted by his soothing voice and approached him. In 2016, he joined the Arbitrary Group and released his original songs, ‘Kasari Bhanu’, ‘Kunai din-The coffee song’, ‘Ma Timro’ and ‘Fika Fika’ with Arbitrary records.
Suman has been nominated in various award shows, including the ‘Public Choice Award’ nominee for ‘Kunai Din’, ‘Artist of the Month’ in Times FM, ‘Best New Artist’ nominee for ‘Kasari Bhanu’ and had been on top of the charts for the song ‘Ma Timro’ in Channel AP1. He has also performed a playback song ‘Thahai Bhayena’ in the movie ‘Intu Mintu London ma
The endowed singer is currently working on his new songs, music video, debut album and doing what he really loves—gigs in various places inside and outside the valley. He’s been on national and international tours in different cities in Australia, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Japan with Bipul Chettri, and United Kingdom with singer Suzeena Shrestha.
Apart from that, he has been associated with different brands and is the brand ambassador of renowned companies such as Worldlink Communications and Somersby Apple Cider Nepal.
Shrestha’s voice will surely make your jaw drop, eyes pop and turn your head around. Shrestha has a forthright gusto for catchy lyrics and moving tunes.
She has been singing professionally since 2013 and has marked quite an impression in the Nepali music industry. The young star started her musical career as a YouTube artist, and her cover songs like ‘Farki Farki’ by Albatross and originals such as ‘Mero Maya’, ‘Malai Bal’ and ‘Tero Bau ko Sampati’ are widely appreciated.
Earlier, Shrestha was involved in a metal band ‘Daiblo’ and thought to leave the underground scene and later joined ‘Kramasha Nepal’ in 2017 as the front woman. Suzeena is now associated with ‘The Act’ which includes Avishek KC, the frontman of ‘The Underside’, recently signed by Arbitrary Records. The Act has already released three major singles ‘Prashna’, ‘Bujhau Ma’ and ‘Harayeko’ and is widely popular in the country. She is also signed as a solo artist but performs as a duo with KC for her live shows.
Drawing inspiration from everything she sees and feels, her songs represent the day-to-day life situations, love and mental health issues. ‘Tero Bau Ko Sampati’ shows her frustration towards corrupted political system, ‘Haraeko’ depicts mental health issues which had an intention of raising awareness, and ‘Aparadhi’ is a tribute to victims of human trafficking.
The self-taught musician dreams to create music which would reach out touching their emotions.
Charismatic, bubbly, guileless and immensely-talented Nattu Shah has been stealing hearts since her first original song ‘Ma Dherai Maya Garchu’, after which she had taken a three-year break to come up with an original. However this October, she has come up with a debut album ‘Nakkali Nani’ with her band ‘11:11 NST’.
Shah up in a musically-inclined family, and her maternal uncle Deepak Thapa, a famed singer of widely-loved song ‘Bidesh Janey Mayalu’, had been one who has inspired her to purse music. With such inspiration, Shah had turned her room into a stage where each and every member of her family would start signing, jamming, and thrumming different instruments.
The talented singer was into poetry, musical dramas and used to slay lead roles every year in school. During her college days, she was the lead singer in a band and wouldn’t miss a chance to register in competitions and gigs. Finally in 2004, Nattu got into the limelight in after she posted her original.
Her journey with the Arbitrary Group began with ‘Nepal Reacts’ where Anup and Avash (from Arbitrary) wanted to film her for a video. While in conversation, Nattu started giving suggestions on running the company. Impressed by her, they asked if she wanted to join them to write scripts, make films and contribute in post production, to which she obliged.
Gradually, Nattu started getting the responsibility of enrolling artists in the company. Shah shares, “This made me industrious, and throughout my musical journey, I’ve gone through a lot, and I know how it feels as a beginner with no guidance.” She adds, “I never got support from senior artists who would praise me but never showered me with their support. I ultimately realised how some people—despite getting benefits from sponsors—do not support the artists by paying them what they deserve. This was the reason why I chose to manage the artists along with being myself one.”
The Arbitrary Group
- Elvis Ranjit (The Chairman),
- Bishal Singhel (Managing Director)
- Nikhen Gopali (Director)
- Karmanand Lohia (Director)
- Bipin Nakarmi (Director)
Shashank Pradhan (CEO)
Bijay Basnet (General Manager)
Arbitrary Digital Marketing
- Aditya Sharma (CEO)
- Nimesh Gopali (Client Relationship Manager)