Her bandmates in Pulse & Soul were busy tuning their instruments when she arrived. They have gotten all the preliminary sound checks done and was just waiting for her to begin. At noon, the traffic outside was in a haywire and no one except for the people inside the branch of Tunes in Al Khuwair knew that Thanae Pachiyannaki is providing Oman Daily Observer an exclusive look and access into the two songs from her album.
It took weeks to arrange for the said meeting. Understandably so as here is a woman who manages a music store, oversees the operations of Classic Music & Arts Institute at the same time, doing regular band gigs all over Muscat. Pulse & Soul has been consistently tapped by big brands to provide elevated, classy entertainment and they are running from Muscat to Salalah to perform even doing international performances every once in a while.
She apologised profusely for making everyone wait. She was flustered but was rearing to go.
Dressed in a soft pink-purplish pastel, her curly hair brought out her Grecian feature. She said she was Omani-Greek when she introduced herself — and she emphasised the former with a hint of pride in her voice. She is proud of both her heritage and from each one, she celebrates what makes her different from the rest.
“Between2Doors,” the album she launched a year ago, is a celebration of both of her heritage.
“My goal has always been that before I reach 30, I should have an album. And I did it,” she said.
Thanae’s father can be considered as one of the music moguls in Oman. Tunes has been in operation in the country for 30 years providing various music instruments, gears among other things and it has manage to stay and thrive despite the many changes that happened in the last 30 years.
Thanae, therefore, is herself part of the musical legacy of her father. And with a scene like Oman, she definitely can be considered a music royalty.
“I always loved music. My father — my parents in fact — actually always loved music. When we opened Tunes, it grew into something more. We had been operating a music school for years now. So in my home, there was this perfect blend, an environment surrounded by music and I’d been singing all my life,” she explained.
While many may think that she had it easy cause she has connections and her family is already engaged in music, Thanae has to put in a lot of work to succeed just like everyone else.
As she shared on her website, “Oman was not the most popular countries for live bands” however this was not going to stop her from pursuing her dream and realising her purpose of spreading music through the country.
For 13 years, Thanae on her own, with the support of her band and the people she knew, tried to break into the country’s music scene.
“What is interesting is that I’d been singing since I was 13. In Oman, in my country, everyone only started to recognize me after the video of me joing Greek XFactor became viral,” she pointed out. Which led her to the thought that to be recognised locally, “you have to break into the international scene first.”
“Greek X Factor felt like yesterday. There were 4000 contestants, and out of those, I was in the top 10 of my category. For me, I really considered it as an achievement,” she shared.
“Usually, I am not very optimistic. But I think, from everyone’s comment, I realised that it’s quite a nice thing. It was a good experience,” she added.
The album for her is not the end-all goal but rather a beginning of another chapter. While it is a fulfillment of a dream, it just yield an even better and bigger one — one that Thanae is excited about.
“The album is completely written and recorded by myself. Bringing Pulse & Soul into the mix, we created a really great team and collaborated with other musicians and fantastic music arranger. As a singer-songwriter, this was a big deal of a dream,” she said.
“In the album, I have eight original songs. And I have two bonus tracks. It’s influenced by my favourite singer Joss Stone — soulful, jazzy which I came to understand is who I also wanted to be,” she shared.
“The inspiration behind it is a lot of love, passion and I tapped into a lot of experiences growing up. I have my first song called ‘Why’ which I included in the album. It’s one of the first songs I ever written — I think I composed it when I was 14. I have to make a lot of changes to the lyrics but it came out nicely,” she added.
Her personal favourites are the three songs, Fast Forward, the song behind the title — Between 2 Doors and Seeing You Again.
“They all have different connection with me. The first one urges people to not miss on life by living in the moment, Between 2 Doors because it speaks of who I am and my heritage and Seeing You Again because as a romantic, it talks about love and letting go of someone cause you don’t want to impede the person from becoming who they are. It’s a blend of everything I like — jazzy and soulful with a mixed of everything else. I was trying to to showcase my repertoire and my journey,” she explained.
“The album can be downloaded for free on my website thanae.com. I made it free because I want people to have access to my music. I’d want people to listen to it and provide me feedback of how they feel about,” she urges.
“I am so excited to get the local fans the opportunity to see my music being performed live. The concert is November 1 at the Crown Plaza Exhibition Centre and it’s on a Thursday. I hope people will come and see the music produce by an Omani for the Omanis,” she said.
YERU EBUEN & TITASH CHAKRABORTY