It’s not every day you get to meet someone who has sung and played for Royalty and, without ever having visited a Royal Palace or, for that matter, ever appeared on the stage of a London Theatre .. but, if you sit and talk to Singer Songwriter Kevan Sahai – and ask him the right questions .. You will find a cast list of ‘Pop’ as well as ‘blood’ Royalty who have actively enlisted his vocal and musical talents to entertain at their private events – but we’ll get to that later !
Kevan told SongwriterNews “I learned to play at the age of 16, it was before the YouTube era and a friend needed an accompaniment for a practice session so, he showed me some chords to play on an electric guitar and I liked the sound so much, I continued learning from there.”
- Now an incredibly accomplished guitarist and vocalist with a compelling, sometimes husky vocal range, Kevan is a sought after musician for public and private events, but back in the day, Kevan recalls, it wasn’t long after learning those first chords that he saved enough, with a little help from his family to buy his first electric guitar and, by listening to his favourite tracks, he taught himself to match the chords he heard until he could play independently.
Born and raised in Barbados, where he studied fine arts and graphic art at college, Kevan started to play gigs using his new found talent for music and eventually decided to leave college and, equipped with an acoustic guitar he’d purchased specially, he focused on gigging whilst holding down a day job in a copy centre.
“My friend introduced me to the music of John Mayer, he’s been a big, big influence on me – the concept of playing rhythm and lead at the same time was so fascinating – I used to sneak down to the laundry room in our house during the night and practice until I learned how to master it “
Now, performing at more and more gigs, Kevan realised his vocal abilities were improving and his ear was becoming more attuned to the harmonics as the influences of rock, blues and Mayer and Clapton played a greater part in perfecting his style.
Kevan ROCKS THE PARTY FOR HRH PRINCE HARRY
At the age of 22 he became a full-time musician.. and he began to get bookings for private gigs and parties – his popularity and reputation grew and one day he got a call asking him to play at a private party.
“You may get a call just to ask you a few questions – they told me – it’s kind of a security check”, Kevan relates the rest of the story in which he arrives at a private villa and passes through security checks, to be ushered into the party, where he finds himself in the prescence of Prince Harry – ” He requested Summer of 69″ beams Kevan … “It was a great gig, I bought a harmonica for that one too” …
Make, no mistake, He’s a very grounded and humble guy, it takes a while to draw this stuff out of him and with a little more conversation, he subsequently continues relating his list of celebrity encounters to include playing at the home of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber for his Wife’s Birthday Celebration, on stage with Sir Cliff Richard at a charity event, performing alongside Olly Murs and, also while back home in Barbados, he was playing in a local restaurant one day when….
“.. this guy in a baseball cap and bermudas walks up like a regular tourist and says .. Come over and meet my friends . .. We like your stuff … .and it turns out this is Michael Buble ..! They invited me to dinner at their villa ..so there I was jamming with Michael Buble .. ! He told me his uncle would work in clubs in Canada to fix stuff .. and ask them to let Michael play” .. his story certainly illustrates that when you look behind the scenes, even Superstars have to start somewhere .
So – what more of Kevan? He is now working with other songwriters and producers and looking to connect with as many musically creative people as possible in order to broaden and perfect his songwriting skills, Kevan has a full calendar of bookings in Barbados over the winter holidays and, with an EP set to launch in November .. he is bound to catch the attention of an audience as his husky vocal style embraces a range of genres and in fact his cover of Babylon (James Gray) is a testament to his vocal abilities .. he remembers the other great influencers in his life …
“The appreciation of varying musical styles was a very organic experience” he tells us , and lists gregorian chants, opera and the Three Tenors among the influencers of his childhood .. talking of his home island of Barbados, he said “Pavarotti.. performed there” .. and laments being too young to realise the opportunity of seeing him perform, as the rich and famous flew in from the other islands especially for the event. “But, I saw Aida in Vienna with friends,.. We sat over the orchestra pit .. when you consider the sacrifice these people have made to get there.. ” the conversation trails as we both visualise the struggle and the kind of sacrifice it must require to attain such a world-class standard and Kevan talks about his continuing quest to improve and refine his songwriting skills..
“I remember the moment when it felt good and comfortable to write and I liked what I was hearing .. now I always look forward to writing .. and I know that it’s a positive process for sure !”
Now , Kevan is working to establish his own unique style with original music and make a greater name for himself on the music scene – with his exceptional guitar and vocal skills – we’re thinking – that won’t take too long !
EP release .. by end of November
Website: Kevan Sahai Website
Cover : Babylon (see Kevan’s website)
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