1. How did you get your initial start in music?
I started singing from the age of 5 years old and dancing from the age of 7 years old. My first childhood memory was of singing and i don’t recall what inspired me to start, so i can only assume that it was something i was naturally born to do. I know that music was always around me as i come from a musical family. My mother was an A grade radio singer in Sri lanka as well as a dancing teacher before she became a well known actress there. My father bought a piano for the house when i was a child, as he plays the instrument and sings by ear and i remember starting to tinker on it from the age of 7 years old. I started taking piano lessons from the age of 10 years old, sitting for my AMEB exams as well.
I started performing at festivals in Newcastle, Australia after winning a talent show at the age of 18 years old and being invited to perform by the judges at the Mattara Music festival, alongside artists such as Silver Chair and Margaret Urlich. Through these contacts, i performed on regional TV in Newcastle at the NBN telethon and shortly after was chosen as a dancer to appear in Peter Andre’s music video for his song ‘Let’s get it on’.
After relocating to Sydney, to advance my music career, i began recording my own work with David Russell at Sky lab studios and that began my introduction as a recording artist and singer/songwriter. I initially worked on my first single and EP with Electronic programmer Sophie Loizou, releasing the single, ‘ I am gone’ which received favourable reviews in well known Australian music magazine The Drum Media. Being an independent artist, all my work is produced by me and self funded.
2. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
My ultimate aim would be to achieve extensive world-wide exposure for my music, reaching a wide audience and performing with my band to large crowds in many countries. Success and popularity as an artist would be emulated by my songs reaching the top 10 in various charts such as iTunes and Billboard. Through world wide exposure, i hope to spread messages of unity, light and positivity to the masses, to assist in the shift in consciousness that is currently occurring in the Universe.
3. How long have you been writing your own music?
I started writing songs from the age of 14 years old, which i started to fine tune in my late teens, inspired by a friend from University who was writing Christian music. The themes were often about Love and loss, bluesy in nature initially. These days, however, i write music of all genres from Soul/Funk/R&B to pop and alternative/fusion. Ballads as well as dance club tunes. Most of the creation of music occurs through a process of inspiration or channelling, whereby the musical ideas are brought to me from a higher source, such that i am just the transcriber. This usually occurs in the middle of the night, waking up or falling off to sleep or in dreams. Occasionally ideas will come to me while i am driving or doing an activity where my left brain is switched off.
4. Who are your top three influences and why?
Michael Jackson is my music mentor. I have loved him as a person and musical influence from the age of 9 years old.
I first heard his music when he was in the group the Jacksons and remember the song Can you feel it. It was an anthem with a great message. Then i was introduced to his album, Off the Wall, which is my all time favourite.
He is an all rounder, like myself. A singer, songwriter and dancer and he creates music that carries important messages such as his songs Heal the world and Black or white. This resonates deeply with me, as i too, believe music can greatly influence the listener in a positive way bringing joy and unity. I met Michael when he visited Australia on his last world tour and it was the most unforgettable moment of my life. When the student meets the teacher. Michael is also a very sensitive, soft hearted, gentle person who is awakened to the ways of the world. He is a passionate, expressive performer and i believe i have a lot to learn from him.
Whitney Houston was the second biggest influence on me, particularly with vocal style and performance. I love her range and use of sweet soft tones as well as belting and her beautiful energy. She is very confident and engaging as a performer, a true Diva.
There are so many other great artists i have been influenced by. I cannot place any particular one as third place. My other influences include John Lennon (for his beautiful lyrics and messages and tunes), Prince (for his funky grooves), Madonna and Kylie Minogue (for their longevity and ability to reinvent themselves and catchy tunes), Diana Ross (for her sophistication and confidence), George Michael (for his beautiful songwriting and voice and stance as a serious musician), Sade (for her sultry voice and simple delivery which is everlastingly beautiful), Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Maxwell (for being pioneers in Neo soul, my favourite genre of music to listen to), Aaliyah (for her hip hop grooves, sweet voice and lovely persona), and Billie Holiday (for bringing me the Blues).
5. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
My current release, FREE is a soul/funk song with a positive message. That all of creation is born to be Free, in life, love and spirit, unrestricted, to be who you want to be, your true self.
6. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
I am based in Sydney, Australia. The local scene here supports all genres of music from soul, R&B, funk to Reggae, Hip hop, Heavy metal, world music and classical. International and local acts have numerous large and small venues to play in every night of the week in Sydney. There is also a small scene for singer/songwriter’s organised by local songwriter’s groups with performances in clubs/hotel and pubs nightly.
My favourite venue at the moment is a new club called Lazy bones in Marrickville which plays live soul/jazz/R&B and funk and has a very friendly patronage and arty decor. The sound system is pretty good there too and everyone gets up to dance. Another cool venue is 505 in Surry Hills and the Basement in central Sydney.
7. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
Liza Ohlback is a very fine Blues and Soul singer/songwriter here in Sydney, Australia. She won three Blues Chains Awards in 2013 for her recent album, Trouble Goin’ down.
8. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.
You can also find me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/senaniw
You tube http://www.youtube.com/senanimusic