There was never a time when Sanjetta Khullar didn’t feel drawn to the world of music, and this magnetic attraction is what led her to a successful career in the music industry, an industry that is notoriously challenging, competitive, and hectic.
Starting out with a background in psychology, Khullar knew instinctively that her love of music wasn’t going to fade. She needed to find a way into the industry, and that’s exactly what she did.
Soon after, she earned positions at the world-famous music festivals EDC and Rolling Loud, where she was able to showcase her talents and build connections with other industry pros.
From there, Khullar started working as an A&R assistant at Deep Cuts Publishing, which is a joint venture with Warner Chappell that was founded by producer and songwriter Nolan Lambroza.
Khullar ended up working directly with Nolan, as well as Nael Atweh, Sabrina Claudio, Kaveh Rastegar, and Ellis Tucker.
We were excited to invite Khullar to Artvoice for an interview, and it was immediately apparent just how passionate she is about music– not just the sounds themselves but also the process of taking an idea and pushing it further and further, collaborating with other talented professionals to make something incredible.
But don’t take our word for it: read the full interview below and you’ll understand why Khullar is considered a music industry expert.
Where does your passion for music come from? Where did it all start for you?
Khullar: Music is my therapy, motivation, and inspiration, all packed into one. My passion for music stemmed from a very young age. I felt so connected to the sounds that I would feel the music spread through my body and soul. I was always engaged in performing arts at school. I was a part of various dance groups, music bands, drama classes, as well as sports.
My love for music often went hand in hand with my love of dancing. I went on to study psychology at Loyola Marymount University alongside music therapy and realized sometime in my third year that everything I do in my life kept bringing me back to music. I had to do something about it. I knew I would flourish at anything I was so passionate about, and my heart knew it was going to be music.
What was your journey to working in music like?
Khullar: My journey to working in music has been extremely exciting and challenging. I made a decision in my junior year to work in the music industry, and I immediately started applying for jobs every day. At the time, it seemed like an uphill battle because I had no previous experience in music and no connections in the industry, either.
However, I was determined to form a career in music and I didn’t give up. After a lot of hard work, consistency, and follow-ups, I finally got an interview with Insomniac for EDC. That’s where my path in the industry began and it hasn’t stopped since. I’ve learned that being passionate, hardworking, and consistent is key in our industry. I know now that you have to be a hustler and constantly think out of the box, both of which excite me and push me to be my best.
Can you tell us a bit about your work with various music festivals? What were those experiences like for you?
Khullar: When I started working with Insomniac, I felt so grateful to be doing something that I loved. My love and attachment to music and music festivals were turning into my job. Isn’t that such a dream? Getting rewarded for doing something you love doing so much anyway?
I was also surrounded by incredible human beings from all around the world, which made the experience even more enthralling for me. I quickly learned that I was in the right place. I felt a sense of purpose and woke up feeling complete and whole every morning.
Working at EDC and Rolling Loud taught me how to deal with people and provide solutions to problems on the spot. I gained strength in becoming restorative while working these festivals. I also learned how to keep a positive composure in tough situations. Through these festivals and their teachings, I have found the deepest gratitude, both professionally and personally.
What led to your A&R position at Deep Cuts?
Khullar: I’ve always been an admirer of how songs have their own creative process before reaching the audience. Every song has a different story and a different journey. Everyone listens to music differently. I listen to the production of a song with the intention of knowing who is behind the production process. There are so many minds involved with a song, but somehow the larger audience only knows of the artists and not all of the songwriters and producers who are involved with the creation of the piece from start to finish.
I wanted to help the vision of those people, who are such an integral part of the A&R process of a song. A song is complete because of the work of an entire team, and I wanted to be a part of that beautiful, collaborative process.
Being an A&R teaches you so much about how cohesive a song or a project can be and what works well together and what doesn’t. I knew I wanted to be an A&R because I love making connections and being an A&R is all about connecting the dots to make a magnificent whole.
What was it like working with Nolan Lambroza at Deep Cuts?
Khullar: Nolan Lambroza is not only a phenomenal producer and songwriter but he is also an incredible human being. During my time at Deep Cuts, I gained knowledge on how to be an A&R and how to work with producers and songwriters. This was my step into the publishing side of the industry.
I absolutely loved working with everyone on our roster. I genuinely believed in them and am invested in their careers. There’s immense talent in the studio at Deep Cuts and a melting pot of great personalities. Nolan hustles every day. He will be in sessions all day, all night, and then have meetings with executives. He is constantly building and pushing himself to achieve his goals. Being around a person like him encouraged me to do the same every day. I am thankful to have learned from him.
What was your day-to-day work at Deep Cuts?
Khullar: My day-to-day at Deep Cuts was to help our A&R Director Akil Warfield with setting up sessions. We would have weekly A&R meetings where I’d share ideas with him for our roster and how we could execute them. I also helped with their label White Rabbit Recs, which was founded by Nolan Lambroza, Lucas Keller, and Nael Atweh.
Other than finding new artists and setting up sessions, there was continuous relationship building. While working at Nolan’s studio I met with numerous people in the industry and continued to build with them. Being the only female at the studio taught me how to constantly think out of the box and be the strong independent woman I am today. I recognize myself as someone who can take on any project or any task that’s given to me.
Were there any major lessons you took away from your time at Deep Cuts?
Khullar: One major lesson I learned while working at Deep Cuts is that there is so much competition in this industry. One should not feel too comfortable with being in the place they are now because that can change so quickly. The music industry is so dynamic and there is something new to learn and adapt to every day.
I learned that you need to constantly do your own research, stay up to date with music news and updates, new executives, new companies, all of it. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there and if you think you know it all, you don’t. Keep learning, no matter who you are, no matter what company you work with. Keep learning and keep growing, and most importantly, keep networking.