Legacy in the making
By Tahnee Hopman

"Once I get into a song," he says, "that is my comfort zone." Amila Gunasinghe, or AJ as he is more often known, dabbled in music from the time he was just a step up from a toddler. Having begun to play the piano at the age of five, he began voice training under Nanda Malini, learning oriental music and playing the guitar, drums and keyboard on the side. He consequently joined the Marianne choir of which he was a member for a few years.

"The love of music is something that has been with me ever since I was a kid," recalls AJ. "I would say that the main source of my inspiration is my mother (who is featured in the album), but that feel for music was in me already."

In 2004, after teaming up with DJ Semu, AJ began composing his own music, and went on to form his own band, Legazy. The duo worked well from the word go, recording some great tracks and performing in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. "Aawege," their first single was released in 2005, followed by "Digu Gamane" and "Menike" in 2006. Legazy's latest album 'Hedakara' was released on May 26. These singles had all been released in Sri Lanka, and AJ hopes to release a few more in the near future, in addition to shooting videos for the singles.

From oriental music to rap, R and B and hip hop, the band has it all, for both local and foreign audiences. "In fact, we're better known in Australia than we are in Sri Lanka," smiles AJ.

Breaking into the music industry had not been easy. "And it is still not easy," he adds, "though it is even harder in Sri Lanka because the music industry has improved vastly over the last few years, and so the environment is now far more competitive than it used to be. Also, there is more of a challenge in the Sri Lankan context, because most of the time, people tend to judge music by its video, and this is something that we, as musicians don't want to have happening."

Considering the positive response the band received in Australia they hope to have a couple of concerts here in Sri Lanka as well. For live concerts, AJ and DJ Semu are backed by Viraj on drums, Chandima on the bass guitar, and Tiran, Shehan and Gihan on vocals.

What does the future hold for this young artiste? "Apart from my own music, I hope to start a school for young and upcoming musicians, hopefully a big one!"

"People sometimes think that I am really quiet, and occasionally proud, but that is not who I am. I don't believe in first impressions. When I get onto stage, I am a different person; I just get into the song, I perform, and I love it."

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