music morsels
February 2008


BAND NAME: Vocalist Gina Bandy and guitarist Saatara of Bayadera
MUSICAL GENRE: R&B/World influenced Alternative Rock
BIRTHPLACE:  Orange County, California
CURRENT RESIDENCE:  Orange County, California
CDS SOLD: Approx. 15,000
FAN BASE: 5,000-6,000

MM: With the diverse backgrounds and musical styles of the members, how did you all first get together?

GB: Before I joined the band, they were a quartet. Saatara who is our electric guitarist, Dat (Nguyen) who is our acoustic guitarist and Chris (Payne) our bassist went to music school together. They started the band with a drummer, and later I came into the band when someone told them they needed a singer. I answered an ad and auditioned for them, and that is how I got together with them.

MM: Saatara, did you think Gina was the right fit right away, and what made her the right fit?

SA: We went through about seven hundred people sending us CDs and tapes, and it is such a particular and difficult process when you are trying to find a lead singer. When we first heard her it was like, wow! Not only did she have the voice that we were looking for, but there was this presence in it. We were really impressed and when she auditioned, she was really strong, wasn’t nervous at all, and had a really good entertainers role immediately. Many people don’t have that and it is a tough find to get a good vocalist and entertainer, so we were very happy about it.

MM: Did everything gel the first time you performed on stage together?

GB: The first time we got on stage was about a month after I started rehearsing with them, and I only knew three songs at the time. They had a lot of instrumentals. We played at an L.A. club called The Joint and when they were doing the instrumentals, I have always been both a singer and a dancer. Their instrumentals were very danceable with this Latin root, and I was dancing all the time during the show. It was very fun. I felt very comfortable, secure and safe, knowing that even if I screwed up, I had a net to catch me because the guys in the band were all very supportive. I think we have been very lucky, because there has been that chemistry from the start.

MM: Until Gina joined the band, what did you do to get Bayadera’s name out there and let everyone know that you existed?

SA: We were performing with guest singers and had been doing quite a few performances, including some shows with Disney Entertainment. But it wasn’t really until Gina joined that it started to take off. After the gig at The Joint, our next gig was a this huge fest that was televised, too. It was a friend of a friend who let us know that this TV station was setting up this fest, so we just submitted to it and they called us back right away. We have worked with a number of managers and agents over the years.

GB: They had these shows booked before I came on board. They could have done those shows instrumentally if I had not been able to do the shows, but luckily I was able to get up there and handle them.

MM: Are there other more grass roots methods that you employed to cultivate your fan base?

GB: Certainly. Since we are based in Orange County, we got involved with the Orange County Music Awards, and showed up at the shows of other people we knew who were in bands. We interacted with the local bands and the people who are interested in going out to see live music. Bringing flyers and CDs, and just getting ourselves known in the community.

MM: Do you think that kind of networking has given you an edge and that is why you have had some things happen that are a bit bigger than your average local band gets?

GB: I think that definitely helps, it sure never hurts. Part of it is also based on the backgrounds of the people in the band, our uniqueness and the sound that we do. We are all different ethnicities. We all bring that to the music. We can also go into about any environment and people can relate to someone in the band. That brings more of an edge to what we do. Also the people in our band are more business minded, and they keep coming up with ideas and throwing things out there and seeing what sticks.

MM: What else have you done over the years to progressively grow your marketing strategy and your fan base?

GB: We are always brainstorming and trying different things. We have worked with managers and agents are always trying to develop our team, because the more people we have working towards a common goal, the more you progress. We continue to frequently stay in touch with the people who have helped to make some of the things happen for us.

SA: Also we try to make every song as best quality as we can. We try to make every song unique in itself, and we think it is very important nowadays that when people buy a CD they can connect with every song on it. We are very critical of what we write, but we always want people to bring their ideas to a writing session, so we can make sure the songs are of a caliber to go on the record and to connect with those who buy it.

GB: A couple things that also help us are that we are a very democratic group. Everyone has input in the songs and we try to stay open minded and take constructive criticism on our work. Then we mesh it out until we all like it, and if you have five people who all like a song then you feel pretty confident about the music. Getting a producer that we really resonated with has helped us moved forward.

SA: That’s Matthew James Walin, and it was great working with him. He was like the sixth member. I felt good doing the record with him, because he brought everything together and tied it up.

MM: How did you meet Matthew?

GB: We had a mutual contact who we had been networking with discussing our goals. He suggested Matthew and one other producer and we talked to people about it. It took us about a year and a half, but once we sat down with Matthew, we all agreed he was the right one for the project.

MM: Have you done much live performing outside of SoCal, and is this something you want to do more of?

GB: Yes, we have performed in northern and central California and Lake Tahoe, as well as some spots on the East coast. We are talking to our PR and national radio campaign people right now, and we feel that would be a good way to pave the way for a national tour. We hope to get that going sometime this summer.

MM: I see that you performed on stage with Stevie Wonder. How did that happen?

SA: We performed quite a bit and started building a level of trust with the entertainment community out here in the Los Angeles area. One of the agents who worked with us called us out of the blue about the Media Access Awards, where they were giving recognition to Stevie. He said it was appropriate because Dat our acoustic guitarist is blind, and we will always do charities and things that bring positive acknowledgment to the disabled community because there are so many incredible artists in that community, and they thought it was appropriate for us to come out and do that show. So we did and it was incredible, and Stevie was just amazing. He was very cool. He hung out and was a totally amazing person - very down to earth to work with.

MM: You said you have a number of team members helping, like your PR and radio people, but you also seem to still do quite a bit of work yourselves. Do you feel that is important, that you keep working hard along with your team members?

SA: You do really need a good team, but you also need to do your homework to be able to move things forward.

GB: We are trying to make it grow. So it is not like it is "instead of us" working someone else is, it is "in addition." We all need to work together to make it happen.

MM: Do you think Bayadera will become successful in your own definition of success, and what will it take to get there?

GB: I think we are successful already, We’ve accomplished quite a bit. We can become even more successful and I do think we have what it takes. I think we are successful because we are doing what we love. It keeps getting better and we are creating more opportunities. We respect each other and the music that we create together. Our creative talents are changing all the time, and it gets more interesting and exciting to create songs together. All of those elements add up to personal satisfaction. When it comes to financial, it would be nice if we could all make a comfortable living at this. That comes with time, perseverance and diligence, and I know we are all capable of that. I feel like the success gets a little better every day.

SA: It’s like you can have a gold record and everyone wants a gold or platinum record. We want it to go as far as we can. I think as long as people are buying the record, thinking it is cool, going out to our shows and supporting it, that is pretty incredible. You feel so happy when people go out and listen to your music. Our goal is to continue to make records, putting them out there, expanding, and whereever it expands to, we’ll find out.

MM: Do you think that is a better attitude to have then people who think they are going to become rich, famous rock stars, and then when it doesn’t happened, they are crushed and bitter and disappointed?

SA: If you get quickly disheartened by things, this will be a tough industry for you, because there are a lot of challenges. This is an industry you are going to hear a lot of “no’s.” But the “yes’s” are so incredible that it will help you progress through all the “no’s.” If you don’t have a strong belief in yourself and a good attitude about it, then you are going to find yourself in a bad position real fast.

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