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So far, so good

SHALINI SHAH
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CHAT Oliver Sean will perform at Hard Rock Café this evening

His own master Oliver Sean
His own master Oliver Sean

I t was close to a decade ago (in 2002) that a curly-haired Oliver Sean came to public attention with his debut album ‘I Like It', with the title track being his most recognisable number till date. He released the album on W.O.A Records, the record label he set up. Then last year, he released his new single ‘So Good', following it up with the release of his second full-length English album, So Good, last month. He will be performing at Hard Rock Café in the Capital this evening.

On the period in-between, Sean says, “What happened was, I've always been this independent artiste. In 2002, when the album came out, I was promoting it for the next two years. Then I got caught up in production work, world music albums, singles...” The journey, he says has been “fantastic”. “I wouldn't want it any other way, because when you grow at a steady pace you kind of stay at the height that you've reached. It's not like where you go up and down really quick.”

Sean set up the entertainment company W.O.A. International in 1998. W.O.A. Records is a part of W.O.A. International. Sean admits W.O.A Records was mostly started as a “vanity label” to release and promote his debut album.

“And I just realised there are so many really, really good artistes around the world who don't have any kind of support or don't want to change just because a label wants them to cater to a current trend of music. Artistes like me, basically. A lot of people say ‘Oh! You do stuff like John Mayer' and stuff like that, which is not very modern, not music a lot of people want to listen to. I never changed what I wanted to do, because as a songwriter that's what I wanted to write about,” he explains. Also, he says, the record label opened his eyes to music dissimilar to his own. “Initially I just wanted to promote artistes who did my kind of music. Eventually I realised that a true independent artiste doesn't like to brand his music in a certain genre. So today we've opened up to almost every genre. Today I have a metal band, an acoustic rock band, hip hop artistes, a whole gamut of artistes now signed to us.”

While he has resisted fitting into a single genre, Sean, who mostly resides in Goa, says he's finally come up with a description of his music — “adult contemporary pop rock, fused with slamming acoustic guitars and an amazing stage show”. He adds, “If you want to talk about it further, you can also describe a sprinkling of world elements that I introduce in the mainstream genre, so if you're listening suddenly you'll hear a little bit of pop rock, a little bit of sitar, a little bit of Middle Eastern instruments. And that makes it very interesting for the listener.”

Sean is in the middle of a 10-month tour, with the U.K., China and U.S.A to follow the Indian leg. Scheduled for a December release is an Oliver Sean: Live in Concert two-hour DVD, which will have clippings from the concerts he does on the tour. He also tells us he plans to come out with a CD of his favourite tracks — tracks from his albums past and present as well as covers of old classics like ‘Stand by me', unplugged and in front of a live audience.

Coming to So Good, the album, he says, is testimony to his growth as a writer. The video for the album, for the track ‘Movies', will soon premiere on VH1.

SHALINI SHAH

Eventually I realised that a true independent artiste doesn't like to brand his music in a certain genre. So today we've opened up to almost every genre. Today I have a metal band, an acoustic rock band, hip hop artistes, a whole gamut of artistes now signed to us

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