SHEILA'S
INDIPOP ALBUMS

   

 

 

For instance, by using bagpipes, gamelan, hurdy-gurdy, Spanish guitar, shawm, etc on the album, Monsoon pointed the way towards connections with other musical cultures besides Indian that incorporate raga and drone into their heritage - Celtic, Arabic, Andalusian, Eastern European, Mediaeval, Indonesian, etc.

Anyway, it was an exciting place to be and I was intent on spending as much of my immediate time as possible writing, recording and developing my voice in a controlled studio setting - as opposed to going the rock and roll route of constant touring and promoting. I found myself in quite a unique position for a relatively inexperienced artist. Steve, I remember you pointing out to me that even without promotion or marketing I could still sell between 5-10,000 each of my solo albums going via the exporters to audiences around the world. It was felt that these fans would grow with me in my musical evolution. In other words, I had a ready-made audience! - which I decided to use as a buffer zone so that I had an arena to grow in.

Steve:

In practical terms, how did this work?

Sheila:

Because Indipop would own the recordings and press up the vinyl albums themselves, they would receive a large financial slice of the cake. The profits from each album of this phase (4 albums in 2 years) would finance the next album etc - with payday hopefully after the fourth if all went well!Also, using Indipop's studio set-up we could have all the studio time we wanted - limited only by the discipline of working on an 8-track machine. Practically it all sounded feasible to me. Creatively it sounded essential - a great hands-on fast-track learning experience - quite an irresistible and unique opportunity.My main point of scepticism with the project was that you expected me to start song writing during this era. You seemed to expect that I would rise effortlessly to any challenge - even though I was only 18.I mean, writing? That's what other people do. Besides, I don't play keyboards or guitar! I would therefore have to write on my voice. It seemed impossible for me, but in fact it gave me a better perspective on the way you construct melody for voice and the different ways voice could be used. Altogether a great example of a problem being an opportunity in disguise!

Steve:

Well, with a bit of prodding you did start to write and it probably helped that in producing the albums we fell into a kind of rhythm and flow.

Sheila:

Yes, a kind of pattern soon emerged for the first 4 of my solo albums. We would write and record for 3 months or so on each album. Then, whilst we booked mixing time (on Richard Branson's Virgin Barge Studio) we prepared artwork and took sleeve and promotional photos. After around 6 months we had pressed up the albums, sent out 100 promos to UK and overseas media and were beginning to conceive the next one!