By Sukhdeep Bhamera ©
Sometimes in life, it is during the darkest of times that a Ray of Light emerges; far off, but still in view. You start walking towards it and the closer you get to it, the bigger that light gets. Getting to the light isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that in the journey from darkness to light. It was that small Ray of Light that acted as a lighthouse in the storm. This album ‘The Ray of Light’ for me has been that lighthouse, to aim towards, during the darkest days of lockdown and pandemic.
The Ray of Light is the culmination of 18 months of writing, recording, mixing and creating. During this 18-month period, I was influenced by many new sources, and these were incorporated into the songs and the production. The album kicks off with ‘Love Is Love’, a song about love, breaking humanly defined barriers of race, gender, sexuality, caste and creed. Inspired by a placard held during a Pride march, which stated the words ‘love is love’. The song takes its influences from the harmonies of the Beach Boys and the production of OASIS, with acoustic guitars weaving around a solid and thumping drum loop, like a heartbeat.
Firefly is written about the feelings and experience of becoming a parent for the first time. A metaphorical approach in the lyrics, to keep it universal at the same time. The third track, ‘Chamomile’, is possibly the most gentle and loving song I’ve ever written. Written for my sister, a ballad consisting of the most basic components, one man and his guitar, not even a plectrum!
‘Little By Little’ has the nautical theme that runs through the album, as the lyrics talk to a pinging sonar. It has that feeling of being adrift, at the mercy of the tide, in search of a lighthouse.
The album concludes with ‘God Bless The NHS’, which is a tribute to my colleagues in the NHS, who have battled COVID these last 2 years. This song is a dedication, a hymn in hour of their effort and fortitude. The production reflects my feelings for this song, as the harmonic choir gives the song its celestial feeling.
May the Ray of Light shine upon you all.
My name is Sukhdeep Bhamera, and I’m from Birmingham. I first began playing guitar in 2003. I write record, perform and produce all my own music. I’ve always liked to write my thoughts down, and sometimes these took the form of poetic verse. So, I was always comfortable expressing myself in written form. I didn’t get into musicianship until comparatively late in my life. I picked up a guitar at 23. This was the time of Britpop and Oasis, Blur, The Verve - all were at the peak of their powers. I was one of those who was swept away by this fantastic guitar music being produced which became the voice of my youth. I got myself a guitar from a second-hand shop, got it restrung and taught myself to play over the course of a weekend. Within two weeks I was writing songs to my melodies. Being from a deprived inner-city area, finding and affording guitar lessons wasn’t an option, so I learned things as I went along, but I started writing songs very quickly.
The song ‘Love Is Love’ was inspired by a slide in a PowerPoint presentation on diversity. The slide was of a Pride March, and had a young lady holding a rainbow-coloured placard, with the words ‘Love Is Love’ painted on. The message is very simple and articulated simply, and that’s what made me pick up my guitar and write this song. Although it's no political statement, the essence of the song is a celebration of love. We end up judging people and scrutinising relationships, which is irrelevant detail. Regardless of gender, race, caste, creed or country, love Is love! The song is driven by acoustic guitar and a drum line, and various vocal harmonies, with which I wanted to create a summer, Beach Boys-esque sound, as the song is about happiness and celebration.
Having the ability to make music and express myself has been a godsend during lockdown. I’ve been able to dedicate more time to my music and writing, and the new single ‘Love Is Love’ was written and recorded during lock down. I was able to write a song of positivity and hope during the darkest of times and I hope that the song brings smiles and joy to everyone who hears it.
Music has that ability to change your mood and your feelings in a matter of seconds and minutes, which is why making music is a form of therapy, not only for myself as a musician, but sharing that therapy with the listeners.