“More than a musician, I think it will be more suitable to call me a musical entertainer,” says 20-years-old Oasis Thapa. To be a musician, he believes, a person has to have adequate theoretical knowledge, which he lacks. “I just know the basics and a little bit of everything,” he says.
Oasis represents a new breed of singer/songwriters in Nepal who’re independently finding their audience through digital platforms. These young musicians who write, record and sometimes even produce their own music, are the nails in the coffin of old-school music companies/record labels that are now on the verge of extinction.
With songs like “Aparichit Bhaavana”, “Juni Vari Lai”, and “Tibra Chahana” gaining in popularity on digital platform, mostly among youngsters, Oasis’ tryst with music began as a teenager almost seven years ago. He took up music just to get some attention at school but as time passed, he started exploring various genres more deeply and was completely mesmerized by what he found.
At the time, the ‘internet talents’ were coming alive in Nepal, and with no serious interest in any other field, Oasis managed to persuade his father to get him a guitar. He started learning the instrument through YouTube and Google.
Facebook would be the first platform for his music in a short while. Since ‘break-up’ songs were really popular at that time, Oasis posted his song called “An Apology to My Ex” on Facebook. The song with an English title was in Nepali. “I was expecting instant fame and appreciation, but it got just 37 likes, and one comment with no words but just two middle-finger emojis,” he recalls. “I must say, I was flabbergasted!”
But that did not deter Oasis. He continued to write, record and release his music, inspired by Rahul Rai from Tribal Rain, Ishan Raj Onta from Elements, and Yabesh Thapa, among others.
The theme for his music is generally sad and melancholic. “I don’t know why but I feel at ease writing sad songs,” he says. “It can be about loss, remorse, break-up and depression. I do write happy songs as well, but with them I am not confident about the quality.”
The self-taught singer/songwriter, who would definitely like to learn music formally if he gets the chance, also records his own materials with whatever equipment he has. As studios are expensive and he could not afford to hire them, Oasis started messing around with recording software and technologies at home.
He taught himself to the point when he was confident enough to produce his own songs, but he had no equipment at the time, not even the basic microphones and audio processors. “So I just recorded the audio with my phone,” he says. “A bunch of trial and errors to get the sound I wanted, and post-production was such a pain. But the job got done.” Oasis still uses the same methods to produce his music.
Oasis continues his musical exploration, writing new songs and producing them from his home. He has already gained a niche but loyal following and it is only a matter of time that he becomes a household name in the country.