A self-described "performer-in-progress", Erik Athavale spent much of the last seven years writing songs he imagined no one would hear. When he began performing his original material in the fall of 2004, he quickly developed a loyal following in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
With no formal musical training, but possessing an uncanny sense of melody, Erik– who performs simply under his family name (pronounced "Ah-Tuv-Lay") – enlisted the help of some of the top players in Winnipeg to refine his compositions. The result is a diverse collection of pop, soul and rock tunes, linked together by Athavale's distinct voice and tone. Athavale's instrument has been compared to luminaries like Jamiroquai's Jay Kay, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Sade, and Shuggie Otis.
Athavale describes his first single, "The Night We Met," as a tale of a romantic encounter that, "leaves the listener wondering... it's a seduction story, sure, but I spare the details." This is a staple in Athavale's writing: the lyrics are revealing enough to humanize the singer and forge a relationship with the audience. Yet Athavale's no bleeding heart, and certainly no kiss-and-teller.
On the strength of the highly-personal tune, "Bounce,” which has been revisited for his upcoming album, Athavale managed to snag the top prize in local radio station 99.1 Cool FM's Project Cool contest in 2006. That honour afforded him the budget to record his forthcoming full-length release, entitled Devoted, which is sure to open opportunities for Athavale across Canada and beyond. Devoted is highly anticipated by both the local audience and national music industry insiders.
Athavale's personable stage presence has been commended by local audiences and performers, and he’s recently shared Winnipeg stages with K-Os, Rob James (formerly of McMaster and James), Roz Bell, Mark Robertson and db Clifford. Athavale has his sights set on reaching beyond his hometown borders following the release, starting with Western Canada, "and seeing where things take me from there."
As he hones his musical abilities and continues to work stages across the country, Athavale will be one to watch. For a 'performer in progress', the progress thus far has been remarkable.