Unearthing local talent

By Megara Tegal and Adilah Ismail, Pix by Suda Shanmugaraja

Every year hopeful musicians and music enthusiasts await the advent of TNL Onstage - possibly one of the most anticipated events in the music calendar. Onstage, now well into its tenth season, has carved a name over the years for unearthing local talent and providing an opportunity for bands and musicians alike to experience the thrill of performing to a live audience.

With new innovations added to the semi-final rounds and with a host of guest performances lined up for the night, the finals of TNL Onstage promise to be nothing less than electrifying. The night will feature the likes of Chitral Somapala, who will be coming down to Sri Lanka with his band Civilization One, Nemesis – and the backing band The REbels – Runners up of TNL Onstage 2008. A special Onstage album with the best of Chitral’s Music will also be launched at the finals.

This week the Mirror Magazine features the soloists who’ve made it to the finals of Onstage.

Name: Hiran Seram. Age: 22

I’m an old boy of at St.Joseph’s College-Colombo. Currently I’m an Undergraduate of University of Colombo- Faculty of Science and a strategic level student of CIMA, UK. My musical career started when I was in school where I was a member of the School choir, and subsequently the College western band and I have participated in many musical school events.

In 2006 I was adjudged the ‘best male solo performer’ at the CIMA voices event as well as ‘best group performance’. Currently I’m a member of the male voice choral ensemble, “The Revelations”, which is ranked 6th in the ‘top 50 male choirs in the world’.

I’m hoping to build my own solo career after taking part in Onstage Finals. My performance at the finals is going to be a total surprise for all the music lovers out there!

I would like to thank my family, all my friends and members of the revelations for all the support and encouragement. My musical influences are artists like, Josh Groban, David Cook, Mark Anthony, Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

Name: Dushantha De Silva, Age- :17 years

I am a student of Asian International School and I’m doing my London A Levels next year. First of all I must say that music has always been a major part of my life. By the age of 12 I was well established in the school choir and took part in many choir competitions.

The last 15 years changed the direction of my singing in the forming of a band and being the lead vocalist/bassist was a dream come true. My friends Sherran, Tavish and Sanchitha are the other band members playing drums, lead guitar and rhythm guitar respectively.

We have been taking part in many concerts there on and hope to take part in TNL Onstage next year.

My musical influences , its true to say that I’m not particularly influenced by any ONE musician but in one way or the other influenced by all great musicians but it wont hurt to say that my favourites are ACDC, ZZ TOP, ROLLING STONES, BEE GEES, and For me, “winning isn’t everything but the desire to win is”.

Name: Shenali Guneratne, Age: 25 Years

I simply love singing. I started singing at the age of 14 mostly in school and church choir. I love songs with meaningful lyrics and soothing melodies.

Some of my musical influences would be Mariah Carey- not the new and improved Mariah J, Sarah Mclachlan, Colbie Caillatt, I simply love Jason Mraz and the Corrs! I would say my genres would be Contemporary and Pop.

Emotionally connecting with a song is really important to me when singing and I try my best to sing emotionally so the audience gets the meaning of the song as well.

I am glad to have made it to the finals of Onstage, and look forward to performing well in the finals.

Name: Nadisha Wickramathilake, Aged: 25

Like everyone else, I’ve loved music ever since I could remember. From school choir to school band to singing competitions later on, I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid.

I play a little bit of piano, recorder and saxophone, although singing has always been what I enjoyed the most. Just as the often-on-air punch line of TNL goes” - Life without music would suck”.

As for musical influences Alanis Morrissete is my all time favourite artist. I love artists who believe in meaningful lyrics. Sia, Eva Cassidy, Ingrid Michaelson, Rachael Yamagata and Dido are among artists that I truly respect and draw inspiration from.

There’s no particular genre that I love in particular, I love music in any form that I feel speaks to me.

Of all the TNL Onstage Finals that I’ve been at so far, I promise you that Onstage Season 10 Finals will be one to look forward to! See y’all there!

Name: Sameera Dayaratne, Age: 18

What oxygen is to lungs, such is singing to the meaning of my life. I can’t thank my mother enough, for constantly reminding me of the fact that I was born in to this world crying musical notes. I’ve been trying to sing ever since.

To say a few things about me, I’m a proud Royalist and I’m even prouder to be the only son to my parents.

I can’t thank the both of them enough for all the support they’ve given me all throughout. I’m part of a band called Arkanum and I’m happy to have all my band mates backing me up through the course of this competition.

My musical influences include Jon Bon Jovi , Freddie Mercury, Steven Tyler, Brent Smith and Caleb Followill.

I take a little bit of every artist and I put it out through my own sense of originality. I tend to not stick to one genre. I like to experiment and I try my best to make the outcome a wholesome success.

Name: Kavisha Mutucumarana, Age: 18

Well I study at ANC (American National College) and I’m doing a degree in communication. I plan on transferring to Monash, Australia in February. When it comes to hobbies, I love singing, it’s practically all I do and also play a little basket ball.

When it comes to music, there are a couple of artists that have influenced me. These artists are Neyo, J.holiday, Usher and Akon. So as you can see from my influences I’m more of the R&B/Blues kind of artist.

My aim in the finals is to put up a performance that people will remember, and I will not play it safe because taking a risk and performing to my best would make a bigger impact on the people watching me.

This is a great opportunity to show the people what I can do and try and improve my skills by listening to criticism.

Name: Sanjeewa Weerasinghe, Age: 21

I am currently reading for my degree in business administration at APIIT and I’m currently in my last year of study. I schooled at Ananda College Colombo.

A lot of my musical influences are from the classic American and British rock and roll genres. Ranging from Guns ‘n Roses, Jimmy Hendrix, Eddie Vedder to even the Beatles.

One of my most favorite artists of all time would be Bob Dylan, simply because of his unmatchable songwriting skills.

He has single handedly written many world class songs that have been covered by many bands through the generations.

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