When my 12 year old first heard Sheena Melwani sing, his response was, “I never knew an Indian American could sing that well!” Sheena’s clear, dulcet voice, once reserved for friends and family, is now broadcast worldwide thanks to YouTube.
Sheena Melwani has been a singer “for as long as I can remember.” After singing in competitive choir while in school, Sheena joined a jazz band in high school and later went on to do her graduate studies in music. “I was singing all the time,” she says, “at choirs, weddings, functions. It never occurred to me to look for a professional gig.”
When her husband’s job took them to Tokyo, Sheena fretted because of the inactivity and decided to get a keyboard so she could resume singing and songwriting. She got herself a Macbook and a special microphone and decided to record some of her songs so she could send them to friends and family back home.
“When I uploaded my songs to YouTube, I was suddenly discovered by strangers,” says Sheena. YouTube has been responsible for the discovery of singers like Mia Rose and Esmee Denters, with the latter now being offered a contract with Justin Timberlake. Will the medium take Sheena to such dizzying heights? Here is an original song by the talented singer.
“You have an amazing voice” goes one comment. “and such amazing talent… You are great. Keep up the good work… I will be looking for your album in stores… ”.
A song recorded in Japanese prompted the following comment – "OK! Let's break this down Sheena!! You are not only gorgeous, you sing, play the piano, you seem to be a very pleasant individual. Most people would settle for that but you have to raise the bar by singing in another language. Are there any limits to your talents?? How do we mere mortals compete?? Lol…"
“The power of the internet is amazing,” says Sheena, “I just didn’t give it enough credit.” Within days she had a steady listenership and a fan offered to set up a website for her. “I don’t want to diminish the work involved,” insists Sheena. “When we found people were responding positively to my songs, we started sending emails asking people to spread the word. Sometimes we would be working the emails a couple of hours every day.”
Sheena set up a MySpace account for her music. She also started broadcasting live on Yahoo! Live 3 times a week. She has fans that log in every single time. “They may have jobs or homework but they are there every night. I have such close relationships with people I have never met.”
Many of Sheena’s fans are young girls and Sheena is very conscious of the fact. “I would never wear immodest clothes, use inappropriate language, wear sleazy make-up,” says Sheena. “The message I want to send is that it is possible to be cool and hip and pursue your dreams without disrespecting yourself.”
Her internet outreach has brought her very close to recording a CD in New York. She is also looking into making her original songs available for download on ITunes soon. Meanwhile, “this is my ideal job, I’m singing every day. If this is the end, fine. If I can go ahead, then great. I don’t have to make any sacrifices, compromises that I don’t want to. I’m already having the time of my life.”
Sheena’s music can be found on Youtube. Her MySpace page features all her original songs. Her live show plays at 5:30pm PST / 8:30pm EST every Wed/Fri/Sun at:http://www.live.yahoo.com/Sheenatv. To keep track of all her new music, she offers a facility to subscribe to her newsletter at her website.