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







Unlike 1981, Sheila’s profile was sky-high (the mainstream now knew what a sitar looked like and how long a sari was!), and Indipop had a little more experience of being a label, Indipop realised that if they owned their own studio as well as their own recordings, they could spend the maximum amount of time and energy experimenting musically on the albums and the minimum of time and money in business administration because Sheila had a ready-made and eager audience waiting.

Sheila signed to Indipop for four albums, which were to be recorded and released throughout 1984 and 1985. There were to be no singles. Indipop was up and running again!

Sheila and Steve, with the invaluable assistance of collaborator Martin Smith (and many musicians), threw themselves into the task ahead. In many ways it was a dream situation, and Sheila exploited it to the full:

Unlimited studio time, a pre-defined musical direction to develop, an eager world-wide record-buying public, very few business constraints of marketing considerations (Sheila has never taken on a manager), and no gruelling singles promotion or tours. The playroom was charged!

Indipop felt they had pulled off quite a coup by signing Sheila. Here was a unique artist whose first single (at 16 years old) had been a top ten hit. Monsoon were highly respected for their ground-breaking sound. Sheila was the first Asian singer to have mainstream chart success in the West. You could see Indipop’s glee in Kanya Kumari!

It was agreed to limit the pressing of each album to 5,000 (Sheila personally signed each copy of "Out On My Own!" — her first Indipop album).

The personal touch and independent cottage industry approach was used whenever possible on Sheila’s four Indipop albums. For instance, Steve’s brother and brother-in-law did the artwork, Steve’s sister answered the phone (usually baby in hand), Martin Smith was studio engineer and photographer etc. Of course Sheila would assist in mail-out sessions for promo copies with each album.

It was a hectic pace and Sheila in particular was learning fast about all aspects of the business. At Indipop she had complete control over every aspect of her creativity and the business decisions surrounding it. (All this was fertile ground for Sheila, which she was able to draw on when she ‘outgrew’ Indipop in 1991 and started her own production and publishing companies, and negotiated her own contracts with Real World).

During this time Indipop took on one license — MNW Records — an independent/co-operatively run label in Scandinavia. They had considerable success with Sheila’s albums throughout the 80s.