Ahead of our event at The Antwerp Arms on Thursday 26 July we had a chat with one our performers, Bahar Dopran. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite and see an array of musical talent from in and around Tottenham.
When did you first get into music?
I’ve always loved music. I came out the womb and music would be playing I’d be doing this (makes dancing action) and dancing all the time. I’ve got a recording of me singing on a tape from the age of three. I’ve always sung and I went and did musical theatre for a long time. Then I grew up and became a little emo, joined a band and learned how to play guitar.
When did you join the band?
I was about 16 – I was in that band for about four years. We played pop rock music, we used to love Paramore back in the day. That kind of scene.
I was writing all the music, recorded a couple of EPs, and we used to gig all the time. Throughout the summers we’d be gigging at least three times a week, it was a bit mad. It was a great experience and made me a lot more confident.
I studied music at uni. I was quite reluctant to go to uni ’cause at that time I was like, ‘I’m in a band, we’re going to make it, I don’t need to go to uni, I’m already playing music’. Nothing was happening so I was like ‘right, ok, I should go to uni, meet new people and musicians and start getting better at singing and music in general.’
Can you tell us a bit about your current music career?
It’s still in the back of mind that I want to be more of a session musician. I love doing backing vocals. It’s one of my favourite things to do and that’s kind of where I started… I came back [to London after uni], met a few people and started doing back up vocals for different bands. I’ve always written my own songs, so it’s a bit of both, my own stuff and I do stuff for other people. I do drum and bass sample packs as well. From that I have met producers all around the world and done hooks in their songs which has been quite successful.
I remember a guy contacted me ’cause he found the pack and he was like, ‘I really like your voice but I don’t like what you’re singing’… Everything I used to write for that was really cheesy stuff because I had to write to a certain criteria. I was like ‘ok cool’, looked his stuff up and his production was really good so I wrote something for a track that he had written. I sent it over and he said ‘I like it but it’s not right for this’ so I thought ‘ok cool, I tried.’
A year later he messaged me, this guy is in Australia as well, and said ‘I used the vocals that you sent me and wrote a song around it’, which was really cool. It got onto a big drum and bass channel on Youtube called Trapcity. It’s a completely different genre to what I’m used. It did really well and then got picked up by a drum and bass label in the states. The label now contact me when they have producers and songs that they want to sign.
What’s your relationship to Tottenham?
I have a lot of family around here. I grew up in Enfield but because my family were here, I was in Tottenham a lot… It’s an area that I know very well and I really like it around here. I moved out of Tottenham and it was really weird. It’s quiet where I am now, it’s nice, but it’s not Tottenham. It hasn’t got that personality.
What do you most enjoy about performing and making music?
Making music is something that I need to do. I feel a bit empty when I’m not making music… It’s something I really enjoy – it’s the only thing I’m really good at. It’s the way I get my feelings out. I can be quite a closed off person but it always ends up coming out in my music.
Performing again is something that I really enjoy doing. I really enjoy making people feel things. I know it sounds really lame. I would say my songs can be quite emotional and I like it when someone comes up to me after and is like ‘what you sang about really related to what I’ve gone through.’ Most of the time it’s about a break up or someone in your family or whatever. I find it difficult to write happy songs. I like the feeling of being on stage and it’s very freeing to just be able to play.
Why do you find it hard to write happy songs?
It’s my outlet for my deepest, darkest emotions. I always think if you write it in a song then it’s a lot easier than if I’m sitting here talking to you and telling you about how I really feel.
How do you get into mindset for a gig?
I get quite nervous but once I’m up it’s fine… I won’t drink before I play a gig because I always panic, I’m a typical singer, ‘uh, my voice…’ I guess I have to psych myself up and make sure I’m practised… I get more nervous when it’s a small venue and it’s people that I know whereas if I’m singing to random people I treat it as a bit of fun, a bit of banter on stage.
What can fans expect from a performance?
I want them to enjoy it and not come away thinking ‘oh god, she’s a bit flat.’ Even though my songs can be quite emotional, I still want people to come away thinking that they enjoyed it rather than feeling really depressed. I want people to go away thinking that they’re happy.
Can you tell us about your next track?
I’m recording at the moment… I’ve done a few live videos of my next song, Save A Place. I’m getting a whole band set up so it’s a bit of a bigger sound… I’m looking forward to it coming out and for people to actually hear the production of what I’m aiming for.
At the moment my music is very acoustic and I want to go in a slightly different direction. I want a bit more of a soulful feel… Jazz and soul is my favourite thing, and hip hop, so I want to incorporate a little bit of jazz, a little bit of soul, a little bit of hip hop. It’s a bit of everything really because I listen to so many different types of music… I like to write things that stick in your head. A proper hook line is what you will expect – having the chorus stuck in your head and then you’ll want to come and see me again.
You also have plans for an EP later this year. Can you tell us a bit about that?
It’s going to be four tracks – it’s going to have Save A Place on it. I want to release it track by track and I’ll have a big launch in November. The aim to have bigger vocalised sound – something a bit pretty.
What are your plans for the next couple of years?
I want to do some collaborative work with other artists. There’s a lot of musicians that have featured singers so that’s the kind of thing I want to get into. There’s a lot of musicians in the states that I’ve been in contact with. I want to become a featured artist in my own right so that people know who I am and then it makes music a bit different as well.
You get to experiment with different genres…
Yeah different genres, different musicians, different styles and I’d like to do a tour. I’ve never done a tour before. I’ve done loads of gigs but have always wanted to do a tour, maybe get a support slot… for a musician that I really like. I’m open to everything.
What are you most looking forward to about the DT gig?
I’m looking forward to seeing the other artists and going to the actual festival. Obviously I’m looking forward to playing, but I love hearing new music and meeting new people. I’m quite looking forward to hearing some local rap.