Treasure the Nuttiness

Treasure the Nuttiness – A Music Conversation



Contributor Biographies:


Kevin Le Gendre is a journalist and broadcaster with a special interest in black music. Deputy Editor of Echoes, he contributes to a wide range of publications that include Jazzwise, MusicWeek, Vibrations and The Independent On Sunday. He also appears as a commentator and critic on radio programmes such as BBC Radio 3’s Jazz On 3 and BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. Kevin also presented Now’s The Time, a weekly two hour jazz programme on BBC London between September 2000 and November 2002. The ethos of the show was to reflect contemporary improvised music in its entirety and this inclusive, ecumenical approach to jazz – thinking beyond categories – has also been a decisive rule of thumb in Kevin’s work in the media to date. Prior to moving to London in 1996, Kevin worked as a producer in the language unit of the Open University production centre where he devised audio material for French courses.



Kwame Kwaten may have grown up wanting to be like Freddie (Mercury, that is), and he can tick that off his list from his days as part of the acclaimed British soul band D-Influence who may have started here, but found themselves dominating the 90’s as live music frontrunners, carving out a career for themselves in America and the UK as both a band and producers.  In high demand on the live scene the British band found themselves opening for the stars like Prince, James Brown, En Vogue and now a rather poignantly remembered opening slot for Michael Jackson’s Dangerous tour. When D-Influence were called upon to remix songs for their contemporary artists, those remixes often turned into entire recreations, songs and productions for the likes of Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Seal, Dru Hill, Ultra Nate, Mark Morrisson, Daryl Hall, Lighthouse Family and in 2004 two time Grammy nominee Heather Headley (J Records). Effectively D-Influence have now become one of very few British Grammy nominated producers due to their work on Heather’s debut album, as it stands they are the only UK production team to produce/remix American hip-hop superstar Jay-Z (Wishing On a Star). Having spent a large portion of his life in the music industry as an artist on the road, then as a producer/composer, Kwame is able to spot a great talent, build a super strong team and sound then navigate through the quagmire of the music industry. After a now legendary discovery on a tube platform his first charge was Shola Ama, taking the young singer and signing her to his production company, D-Influence Productions and then producing and co writing her Much Love album. His flair for the discovery of raw talent meant that the next five years would be spent more behind the scenes with Warner Brothers employing his services to help translate successful USA Artists success into mainstream England.
Nowadays Kwame sits in his quirky trainers at ATC Management (who he joined forces with in 2006) in the centre of London, watching like a protective and proud parent over his roster of artists. Those under his wing currently include hot UK Rapper Master Shortie, acoustic darling Kerry Leatham, vocal powerhouse Louise Setara (signed to Manhattan/Blue Note/EMI) and Peter Conway (signed to Rainbow Hill.) Kwame is also now an international consultant for some of the biggest stars among them the multi-million selling Aviv Geffen and Preeya Kalidas, star of Bend it like Beckham, Bombay Dreams and Eastenders. Kwame has recently added to his platinum discoveries ­ He is the manager for Rumer who he signed to Atlantic Records in 2010-she released her album Seasons of my Soul to critical acclaim and soon commercial success followed with registered sales in the 1st 3 months of 300,000. All of these various roles now make Kwame extremely well placed and sought after to offer advice to brands on the industry and to guide new artists and those seeking trustworthy advice through his consultancy arm Creative Genie. The multi faceted service covers many aspects. He calls it a go-to-guide including; A&R, International consultancy, Project Co-ordination, Digital Distribution (iTunes advice), Album Executive Production, Manufacturing Advice, Remix Consultancy, Video Viral/Online Marketing, Live Tour Consultancy and Artwork Consultancy.




Sheila Chandra is considered a pioneer in the field of Asian influenced World Fusion. As an artist she has ignored trends – most of her albums had no contemporary comparison at the time of release – and has tried instead to define the boundaries of world music and her own voice. Sheila has been working in this genre exclusively for three decades and was the only full-time artist in Asian Fusion in the 80’s. In 1982, her band Monsoon scored a Top 10 hit around the world with the radical Ever So Lonely, which was written on a traditional Classical Indian raga scale and featured traditional and acoustic instruments as a counterpoint to the sea of ‘New Wave’ synth tracks dominating the charts at that time. Her work pre-dated the term ‘World Music’ by a full five years and she was one of the success stories that gave those working in world music later in that decade, the confidence that the form was a viable commercial proposition. She is a self-taught musician and writer, owns and publishes much of her work, and has always managed herself, preferring artistic freedom to the prospect of mainstream success. Her austerely beautiful solo voice and drone trilogy, which utilised vocal techniques from around the world, for Peter Gabriel’s ‘Real World’ in the 90’s, set a new standard for the studio treatment of voice and made her one of the bestselling artists on that label. In 2001, Billboard stated that, “In the past five years a new round of second generation British Asian Musicians have emerged … all owe a debt to this 36 year old singer’s pioneering work.” Her first book was published in March 2010 by Vermillion – Banish Clutter Forever : How the Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life. She is currently writing a second book Sanity for Singers: And For Those Who Live and Work With Them on how to stay sane in the music business and take care of yourself emotionally when you’re a working singer.

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