Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and Little Big Town are considered among the best voices in country music. But guess who was able to knock these stars down on iTunes? Sahil Batra, an Indian American student at Vanderbilt.
Batra’s debut album, “Jet Trails EP,” peaked at No. 38 on the iTunes Country Album chart in February, just ahead of Underwood, Aldean and Little Big Town.
The 21-year-old economics and corporate strategy student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has been playing guitar and writing songs since high school.
He wrote and performed all four of the songs on his extended play album and mixed them himself. The songs with a pop element are titled, “Summer Crush,” “Kiss Me Again,” “You a Dime” and “Fight That Feeling.”
“I was pretty proud to get my album in the top 40. It was one of those small things you envision in high school and then when it comes to life, it’s cool,” Batra told the Chicago Tribune, adding he prefers “bro-country,” a contemporary style made popular by artists such as Florida Georgia Line, Aldean and Blake Shelton.
Batra is a Commons Resident Adviser at the Vanderbilt University Office of Housing and Residential Education, and has been on the student alumni board since 2013. He is also a sales department intern at Universal Music Group in Nashville where along with taking care of sales and charts, he also markets and tracks new releases for artists.
The Vanderbilthustler reported that Batra was familiar with strategies to reach that goal because of his experience interning at Universal Music Group in Nashville, which is home to country artists like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. “It teaches you a lot about what you can do for your own marketing,” he was quoted as saying. “I learned a lot about when you want to get really high on the iTunes chart, making sure you release at a time that’s good for you and your main target audience, the market you want to impact.”
Batra said he knew that if he sold a lot of albums at a specific time when other big artists weren’t releasing any new material, he had a chance to rise on the charts, and figured many Vanderbilt students would be with their friends looking around for something to do after the Super Bowl, added the report.
He apparently used that information and reached out to fellow Vanderbilt students after the game on the night of Super Bowl. His marketing strategies also included distributing the promotional materials around campus and singing at 5 sorority chapters.
“Jet Trails” is available on the iTunes store for $1.99.