Get to know Sheila Chandra's career in 3 minutes or less







Indipop Records was formed by Steve Coe in 1981 as an outlet for Monsoon’s first recording track EP. Their lead singer and spokesperson was Sheila Chandra.

Neither Steve nor Sheila had any experience in pressing up their own records before, but they knew Monsoon’s originality, urgency and unusual acoustic sounds were running counter to the ‘synth pop’ style which was dominating the charts in the early 80s. The ‘do-it-yourself’ plan worked. It was reviewed well in the rock press (New Musical Express, Melody Maker etc), played on alternative rock radio (eg BBC’s John Peel), and — unusually — picked up by a few of the UK’s Asian press and radio (catering to the UK’s two million south Asian population, who at the time still looked to India for their musical inspiration on record).

Phonogram/Polygram decided to take a risk on Monsoon, and re-recorded a track from their EP, ‘Ever So Lonely’.

It was a remarkable hit. Sheila and Steve spent most of the rest of 1982 producing and promoting Monsoon’s three hit singles (only ever available on export for their north American fans). The Indipop label was happily ‘retired’.

It was only after Monsoon disbanded at the end of 1982 (and Sheila went back to college to finish her studies) that Steve re-activated the Indipop label to release the infamous 12" single for the Ganges Orchestra called "The Dream".

The first 2,000 copies had individually hand-painted sleeves, and each contained an incense stick.

Maintaining Indipop’s cottage-style industry approach, but following up on the groundswell of interest Monsoon had generated for Indian-influenced pop music, Indipop put together two compilASIAN albums to represent other groups and artists who were inspired to experiment with this fusion of styles. (‘Indipop’ was becoming a generic term for the Rock and Asian media alike by now).

The second of these — the Indipop Music and dance compilASIAN — (released late 1983) contained two tracks from Sheila Chandra…

Sheila had finished her studies and decided she wanted to develop and deepen the rich musical vein Monsoon had opened up. But she wasn’t ready for the dinosaur-decision-making, 50 page contract, singles-led major label approach again (God bless ‘em!)

Sheila and Steve were itching to go back to their musical playroom with all those new styles and new ideas to experiment with.