Shehzad Bhanji (1)

The digital evolution of music industry has given a wonderful platform
for an indie artist as a whole. It has also changed the dynamics of the music industry in terms of marketing, distribution, royalties @shehzad.bhanji

Live interview 
Episode #361 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax :

by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Shehzad Bhanji

The digital evolution of music industry has given a wonderful platform
for an indie artist as a whole. It has also changed the dynamics of the music industry in terms of marketing, distribution, royalties. However, on the other hand it has made jobs of indie artist more difficult since the digital world is full of content and to stand out from this noise is getting difficult day by day.

What I have learned is that its very difficult to find the right partners
when you are flying solo. It takes a while; there are hits and misses on the way and you learn from every experience. And if you managed to find likeminded people, you must stick with them. It makes life much easier.
There is also a dire need for a common platform for indie artist (both established and upcoming) which shouldn’t have any commercial angle. A place where upcoming artist can be mentored and supported in forming the marketing and PR plan for their project, building their profile/brand, distribution and sales strategy, social media management, guiding them about how to keep the fans engaged through content based marketing and most importantly, preferred partners who can help at every step. It is a challenge that I face every day. Its almost impossible to produce, record and mix music and take care of the above as well. Takes hell lot of time and energy.

With the digital revolution vastly changing the face of the music industry,
as well as how fans encounter and use new music, it is imperative for artists to ‘keep up with the times’. With the convenience of the Internet and downloading, there has been an underlying push over the last few years to deliver fresh content to fans on a more frequent basis, in order to stay on their radar and satiate their desire to have more from the artist.

Singles are the reason for why fans bought albums in the past.
They wanted one song, but had to purchase the entire album to get it. Today, no one needs to buy an entire album anymore. iTunes, artist websites, and other online retailers make it very easy to sample songs and only buy the ones you like.

So, if people are only buying one or two songs,
why would an artist want to spend so much money recording a full album? Why not cater to the fans and give them a new single every month?

However, I’m a strong believer of releasing albums.
It shows the complete side of an artist. And from a marketing perspective, its much bigger story to tell rather than releasing a single. It is difficult to create buzz and excitement around one single release every month. The time and money needed to properly promote music as a whole would be wasted because I would be moving on to the next release before the buzz from the first has run its full course. Moreover, there are more ways to promote an album (and the singles on it), which allow to create new ways to engage fans each week/month while promoting a bigger body of the content.

The best thing about social media is its capability to target
and reach to the desired audience. On top of that, this medium has the capability to give accurate reports on the listener profile, channel performance and return on the investment. As an artist, these kind of analytical details really help to plan the marketing and promotional strategies. It also helps artist to address the most important issue of distributing and selling the music. So if its done the right way, this medium can pull the listeners towards the online store and complete the purchase cycle.

The medium has also given indie artist an amazing platform
to reach directly to the fan base, showcase their talent and be discovered. Connectivity and the reach are the two most important benefits which makes this channel so unique.

As an artist it is very difficult to create something
that would appeal to everyone. We can’t force ourselves to produce something which we don’t believe in. So the sooner we find our niche the better it would be for an artist to focus on what we do best. Produce a melodious music that connects with our listeners. However, how we make the overall production relevant is through using the latest sounds and production techniques. So, if we manage to do it right, I think we can create a balance.

To turn Struggles into Triumphs I keep on giving my 100 % at whatever I do.
It always reminds me of where I started and it keep me humble and to never shy away from helping other artist. I learned to make the best of what I have and take a step towards producing my own music. I want to help any artist in any way I can and that’s why I’m working on an initiative Thinking Music where upcoming artist can drop an email and I can share my experience and advice to them with no strings attached.

Well, I keep my circle small and honest.
It is very important to be surrounded by people who believe in you, motivate and support you at every step. Stop waiting on God to drop a blessing in your lap. Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet, work, give your best shot and never ever give up.

I would love to spend it with Joe Satriani.
I grew up listening to Joe. His journey is so inspirational right from where he started, his days of struggle and what he is today. Plus he is an amazing guitarist and a musician. He has been single source of inspiration for me and what I produce.

It all started in Karachi Pakistan in late 80’s
where I developed my musical taste and interests. The pop music scene was in its nascent stage; however those bands became a source of inspiration for young generation. It wasn’t long after picking up a guitar that I was experimenting with different genres including classic rock, blues and melodic rock, all of which have had a profound influence on the direction my musical journey has taken.

I still remember my first foray into learning an instrument
came when I started to play the bass guitar. Later, at age 14 I began to play electric & acoustic guitar, and he hasn’t looked back since. After realizing that making music was ultimate calling, I along with my cousins, formed a band. We were part of new breed of bands and appeared in various music shows and charts. As the whole music scene kept getting better, we felt the need to setup our own recording studio, which can be used to record our songs as well as giving us the opportunity to produce for others too.
But the band took a long study break with a promise to make more music once they were back from their educational sabbatical. But with professional and life commitments, it seemed impossible especially when all the members moved to different countries.

Never Say Goodbye

Never Say Goodbye, is a heart wrenching track that makes you feel nostalgic,
yearning desperately for the greater moments that have gone by and leaves you with the lasting, bitter taste of loss and alienation. It makes you feel hurt, helpless and betrayed and yet makes you cherish, reflect on and lament over a moment in time that was once precious and beautiful.

It all started with a New Year resolution which my wife and I made to each other,
who is his strongest supporter and critic. I never left music although I wasn’t producing anything. I embarked upon my debut album project in January 2015 (after two decades) with an intention to finish the recording by end of the year. While the album was in the production stage, I wasn’t sure how listeners would respond to a complete instrumental album. So I did little bit of my research with group of friends and the feedback came very positive. I was confident that there is an acceptability of such music although it may appeal to a niche segment. I had a firm believe that melodic structure of the instrumentals are memorable and will touch the heart of the listener. The overall mood of each instrumental will connect and share a story.

Shehzad Bhanji (3)

All tracks were recorded and mixed at my studio in Doha, Qatar.
It was such a fulfilling experience when you are doing everything, right from making the melodic structure, laying down the tracks, playing all instruments, recording them at the same time and finally mixing them all together. Plus, juggling work, family and music was challenging, but you feel so great when everything sounds just like you had planned. As an artist it’s an extraordinary experience.

Buy Album Never Say Goodbye:

Microsoft Groove:

My 2nd album is due to release in February 2017.
I have spent a lot of time developing a unique sound for the album. Of course it would carry my signature sound but I also wanted to experiment with different instruments. For example one of my tracks has low whistle parts and other has violin. I have also used different modal scales to add more flavor to the sound and at the same time offer something interesting to the listener. Track listing will also be done in an interesting manner.
The title of the album is “Profound Beginnings”. It will have 10 tracks and 3 short intervals in between. The intervals will take listeners to a completely different musical zone, more of spacey kind of sound. That will also act as a bridge to bring them back.

I live in Doha, Qatar.
The local band scene is emerging, representing their own unique sound and style. The best thing about Qatar is that it’s a multicultural environment which pave ways for different genre of music to flourish. This is where the collaboration projects happen too. Fusing different styles to create a unique sound. It also reminds people there are homegrown talent just waiting to be given the attention it deserves.

There are a lot of cover bands and DJs, playing all the radio hits.
There is still long way to go when it comes to producing their own content i.e. the original songs and it’s catching up really fast.


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