Serendipitously, Jesse took me to a Reason event back in February. This peculiar, hidden soiree of music tech geeks was an adventure for me as one of the only female music producers present at the event. But it’s typical in the world of musicians and gear – women are generally the minority and certainly so in that hip hangar of the Santa Monica Airport.
When I arrived, I was early or everyone else was late – so I quickly stuck out my hand to the closest guy standing next to me and introduced myself. He said his name was Arabian. Well, I got Sheik for a last name so figured we might have something to talk about. Mostly, I did the talking. For 30 minutes, I went off about water rights and its cut-throat, dirty politics throughout history and the plight of the Palestinian people. And since Arabian has an understanding of just how dirty this world can be, he listened – though he quickly admitted to me that he’s an avid golf player and probably couldn’t say much about water rights. I forgave him, partly because I figured I could slowly convince him to be more water mindful if we ended up becoming friends and I had more opportunities to harangue him on the topic.
Typically, I forgot I was at a music event until Arabian asked the right question in such a setting, “So what kind of music do you do?” After replying “World Dance Music”, he said, “Well, I’m the guy you should know if you’re into dance music.” I’ve been in this business long enough to know that they ALL say that. Not one to be too quick to judge…(clearing of throat here)…I handed him my CD and asked him about his musical journey.
Turns out, Arabian could in fact school me on music and after 3 days in a studio with him, I’ve had the privilege of getting some music history lessons – particularly on electro-funk. See, Arabian produced a little track called Supersonic for J. J. Fad back in the day and was a founding member of a little group some folks like to call NWA. So who knew? Sweet, folk songwriter who got her start in a gay bar in San Francisco would one day be working on dance tracks with her new friend, Arabian Prince. But then, didn’t we always figure it would turn out this way? Arabian and the Sheik.
With less than 6 months between me and REVOLUTION’s release, my musicians, Michael Duffy (drums/percussion) and Jesse Stern (bass, keys, percussion) have officially gotten on my case about starting album #3. I have yet to recover from the emotion ride that birthing an album involves, yet Michael has challenged me to find another set of passions to express. I’m thankful though that this time, I’ll have them as partners in crime to create the music collabaratively.
What would album #3 be about? I’ve taken to carrying around my journal with me everywhere again. Perhaps the answers will begin to emerge in the quiet moments I share with pen and paper observing the world.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying friends and family, creating remixes with Soul Blender, meeting new people and taking the next steps for building Azadi’s catalogue and exposing it to more and more people. Many thanks to Dave’s Lounge for featuring my track “In You” alongside Thievery Corporation on podcast #127. It was a high moment in my career thus far.
Last Sunday, I had a chance to chill with my friend and fellow Producer – Raoul Juneja – aka Deejay Ra. A bit of coffee, a bit of conversation and most of all, good laughs about music and life. Can’t get much better than that. Ra…good times, good times.
p.s. USC fans…Harpal went there. I have two words for you…GO BEARS!!!
After a few weeks of recuperating from my month in London, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m in the groove again. Been busy of course. Couple of dance shows with Rangoli. A weekend trip to Atlanta to visit the nephews. And already getting ready to start the new album. You can all thank Michael Duffy, my drummer, for that. Why stop writing and producing albums – he casually reminds me. I’ve barely recovered from financing this album, but with so much support and enthusiasm from Michael, I figure the logistics will sort itself out! Will keep you posted on how the writing and production comes along. We’re meeting for lunch on Monday…an informal production meeting of sorts!
On another note…my apologies. I got lazy in London and barely blogged. Actually, I was too busy skulking the depths of the Tube to meet up with my friends. (Yes, folks…this is the escalator taking me down to the bottom of London.) There’s no wireless down there. Beware.
All in all, London was amazingly fun! Filled with icons and performances. Friends and loved ones. A little pictorial essay for you…
A London double-decker parked on a plaza in the middle of the night.
Schehzad from Club Asia and I found her lonely near Brick Lane.
Where I performed in Balham at the Bedford. It’s as charming inside as out!
Harpal flew in that morning from LA. He was dog-tired, but rallied for me. Awwwww.
Then the next day, I took him to see Susheela Rahman and meet up with Ashanti and Pirashanna…tamils in full force!
Ashanti, Pirashanna, Me, Harpal – 3 Tamils and a Punjabi.
We made sure to have a lovely Keralite meal while at Inn at the Green.
I had a veg thaali and the rest dug into the non-veg one!
I know…I look like I’m high…don’t ask…and I wasn’t!
That Friday, we left for Birmingham for a family wedding.
The bride’s uncle drove to the ceremony in a rickshaw.
Not sure if that is a Punjabi thing, but it was damn funny!!!
After, we met up with Swami and his wife at the famous Mailbox.
Old post office distribution center they turned into a mall.
It appealed to Harpal’s real estate eye!
Speaking of the eye…check out the London Eye.
Harpal and I celebrated our one-year anniversary on July 28th.
The next day, we walked 15 miles through Central London
before heading to a play and Lebanese food at Noura.
We barely got sun that day…so sad for two Cali folks.
On my last day in London, it rained of course, but that did not stop me.
Neither did the nasty cold I had.
I met up with Helen at LSE and then…
Meet my new friends, sisters Reema and Diya. Reema writes for Rolling Stones India and Diya is an avid music lover/party-girl beauty. They are really too cute for words.
This was our self-portrait.
We drank blossoming tea. The tea leaves turn into flowers in the hot water!!
So there you have it – in brief. That night, I happily packed my suitcase and guitar. I missed LA and Harpal and was thrilled to be going home the next day. My flight left London at 11am on Wednesday. Harpal picked me up that night from LAX and we went straight to Wahoos for nachos. Is there a better way to get back to being a Los Angelino?
So a while back, my booking agent, Chris, got me and Harpal a couple of tickets to watch Moby perform at Yahoo! Live Sets. Guess who got to ask Moby a question?!? You guessed right if you guessed me!!! Video below…proof that I chatted with Moby. Yup…it was a good moment! (I’m about half way through…)
On Friday, my girlfriends and I did what all girlfriends did on Friday, May 30. We took our advanced tickets to Sex and the City and waited in line for hours to get good seats on opening night.
Mind you, it was fairly civilized as these type of mob events can be. After all, we were for the night attempting to be hot, Manhattanites worldwide transplanted into our city of habitat. For me and mine, we were the LA version. You can decide who you think we 4 represented, but Pavitra already called Miranda and we told Heather she was at least part Samantha. I believe Heather is turning around to check out a boy. A cute boy, of course.
All that being said, this post is purely a nod to all the women who patiently waited 4 years to find out what happened to our girls. In all fairness, there was one man in the theater Friday night. I suspect he also could not wait to find out what happened. Most other men were banned from the theaters by girlfriends and wives for they did not have the appropriate amount of reverence for these women. Truly, Friday was best shared by women because only we can truly dissect the endless dating calamities, the heartbreak, the relationship rollercoaster and of course, sisterhood to a point that we end up confusing and consoling ourselves all at the same time.
Welcome to the new shaheensheik.com site. Very auspicious day to welcome you indeed. It’s Samata’s birthday! (For those of you who don’t know, Samata is my manager.) Happy Birthday, Sammy!
We had a chance to meet up with our dear friend Akshay last night at the Roosevelt and celebrate. A toast to Sammy. A toast to Akshay for his first time in LA. He’s a New Yorker via Louisiana. Unfortunately he drives a truck and wears cowboy boots, but we try not to hold that against him. Somehow drinking beers makes Akshay like to eat my face. Harpal took a picture of that.
It’s perfect that Akshay’s in our midst when we launch the site. Back in May 2006, we tossed around NYC with our friends Riad and Naz. Another very tipsy night that ended at Kati Roll on MacDougal and Bleeker. It also inspired my new album. A spark that ignited my revolution. I memorialized all of this in Night Call, the intro track to REVOLUTION. There’s nothing more inspiring than eating paneer sitting on a NYC street curb at 4am with mice scurrying around. Ahhh…NYC. I miss you.
But I digress. Back to my welcome message. Here I am…in all my new, green, pink and purple glory. Hope you enjoy the new home for my music and musings. I also hope you break through your computer screen shells and bust out a comment every so often. It helps me know that people are out there listening to my ramblings and after all…this website is all about making me feel loved. 😉
Welcome, welcome, and welcome again. Browse, listen, look, converse. Step into my REVOLUTION.
Be happy. Be alive.