Ankit Khanna is one of the most important personalities in the music industry right now. He is the founder and owner of DNH (Dusk & Heights) Artists which manages promotions of artists like Raftaar, Manj Musik, Sikander Kahlon and others. Ankit was the one who linked up Raftaar with Manj Musik before he was famous.
He started off as a DJ and gradually went on to become one of the most important and renowned talent mangers in the industry. Regardless of the genre, Ankit likes to keep an eye on each and every underground artist. Having a conversation with was much needed and somehow he was kind enough to have a chat with me. Here’s how my chat with him went.
San Cha: “DNH Artists” is a big name now. How did you come up with this name and how has your journey been so far?
Ankit: It’s been an exciting journey. From starting off as a DJ and then being a full time promoter and further changing roles to talent representation. It has been rewarding. I can’t thank enough people who’ve been with me through this ride.
Formation of DNH (Dusk & Heights Artists) exactly came along with a chit-chat among my closest friends. During that time, I had completely moved onto my role of talent representation. The only thing due was opening up my own agency and thus DNH Artists was born. I’ve really been inspired from Scooter Braun who is one of the leading talent managers from the west.
With AK Projects, I am looking to completely diversify music, representation, new talent hunt, investing in talent, record labels and also giving complete freedom to my artists over creativity. DNH Artists will takeover the role of a full fledged booking agency.
San Cha: Everyone knows that you were the link between Raftaar and Manj Musik. What was that thing which made you recommend Raftaar’s name to Manj Musik for “We Doin’ It Big”?
Ankit: We always believe in raw talent. As a core belief, we like to focus on upcoming artists rather than established names. It’s because there’s so much that can be explored and the artists themselves are open to experimentation.
I met Raftaar when he was just Dilin Nair. The minute I met him I knew he would one day become a forerunner in the music industry. He had that spark and we overcame many challenges to reach here. As an artist, he was very grounded and never forgot his roots which was very appealing to me.
San Cha: There are a lot of new talented artists that you’ve been supporting through DMH. What is that basis that you select an artist on?
Ankit: We always look for artists who have a vision and not artist who are looking for quick money or fame. An artist has to be willing to run the extra mile to earn respect and not demand it. We have never worked with artists who dont believe in values of commitment, honesty and handwork.
San Cha: Do you think providing them a stage is important? Are there any such plans for the underground artists?
Ankit: Yes, we do plan to explore into the indie, electronica and underground scene at one point. It’s a thriving industry and requires attention. I think every artist management company needs to move beyond just bookings and focus on overall enhancement of the artist.
San Cha: Just to spice up the interview, can you reveal a witty secret/habit of Raftaar and Sikander Kahlon?
Ankit: Witty habit of Raftaar is that he’s a adrenaline junkie when it comes to driving cars and bikes. Even during his college days, he wouldn’t stop doing wheelies and stoppies on his motor bike. Sikander Kahlon can really drink like a fish.
San Cha: Since Sikander Kahlon is already signed with you, his fans want to know your plans for “Kala Kurta Gang”. What’s there in the pipeline for them?
Ankit: Manj Musik has been a real motivation behind KKG, They’ll be dropping a mix-tape very soon which would be a one of a kind in our industry.\
San Cha: Deep Kalsi is the newest member in your team. What do you think he has and others don’t?
Ankit: Deep’s a special GEM. His sound, his thought process on writing a song and the desi-touch is commendable. I’m yet to see such an artist of his caliber who can really experiment with sounds and then compose a track on it. He definitely is one artist to watch out for.
San Cha: You’re a visionary. Where do you see DNH after 5 years from now?
Ankit: Ari gold of artist management in India, Dubai, Canada and USA. We want to take talented artists from India to overseas and make them as big as Drake, Adele or David Guetta.