'When Monsoons unique and successful blend of Asian fusion
prematurely ended due to the lack of creative control and approval parameters
written into their recording contract, I was determined that it would
never happen to me in my solo career.
Monsoons record companys business style was singles-led
and money intensive. However, with my solo albums, I resolved not to release
singles so that people would have to interpret my work as more of a whole.
This, in turn, forced certain countries to focus on an accessible album
track for radio play (such as Scandinavia where OUT ON MY OWN was in the
Top 40 mainstream album charts).
Even though I was an Asian fronting the band Monsoon, at that stage
the fusion of Asian sounds was mainly in its instrumentation (sitar, alongside
guitar, piano alongside tabla, etc) and, of course, in the writing
raga based melodies shot through with pop sensibility. On OUT ON MY OWN,
I developed the style further, but I also began to use my voice as an
instrument, woven and layered on tracks such as Prema, Shanti, Dharma,
Satya and From A Whisper
To A Scream. Even at this stage
of my musical development, the idea of dynamic, multi-tracked, spoken
percussion intrigued me, and I began to study it through absorption, as
I did with all my vocal techniques.
As this time (1983) I was becoming sort of an unofficial cultural ambassador
for the Asian community in Britain because virtually no other young Asians
were getting regular exposure in the mainstream media. Its a role
that I will no longer accept. Partially because the community is better
represented in Britain now, but mostly because some people stopped reacting
on a gut level to me as an individual.
I was also growing in my role as a solo artist and the responsibilities
it entailed. OUT ON MY OWN was an upbeat album recorded at a time when
I was enjoying my freedom and having a lot of fun. However, it really
was the personal growth that occurred in the two year period from 1983
to 1985 that, in a way, was more important than the four albums that came
out of it.
Often, it is not the development of potential that we, the audience,
are interested in, but the end product the perfection that results.
My intention, by experimenting on my solo albums was to deal directly
with peoples reactions to my musical growth; to fly in the face
of the fear that limits artists to the level of skill that they initially
develop early on when mistakes are allowed for. I am not a
natural. If an audience likes my current work, they must allow for
the long developmental process that led to it and the creative processes
Sheila Chandra 1996