Gig of the week: Oval Office

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Smooth-voiced Sacha Vee is taking small steps rather than giant leaps along the path to success, but you get the feeling she knows what she’s up to.

The 24-year-old graduate of the Christchurch Jazz School fronts Oval Office, an eight-piece soul-funk band who play the Dux on Saturday night to promote the release of their self-titled debut album. But that’s not all the singer of Dutch West Indian descent has on her agenda.

Having recently relocated to Wellington from the Garden City, Vee (real name Van Beek) is focusing on a masters degree in music therapy while self-managing a solo career.

Industry hounds are sniffing at her door as she prepares for her first solo release.

“I’ve had meetings with various music execs, and they’re very much about ‘Don’t do an album . . . Not yet’,” says Vee.

“I’m really just trying to figure out the best attack in this music industry, and I think at the moment it’s about having one or two really good songs out there and spending your money on videos and promotion.

“In two years’ time I’d see myself with a masters degree, an EP, a couple of videos and probably heading for Europe or Canada.”

Vee was raised in a household that favoured jazz, calypso and South American music over contemporary pop.

She counts Jill Scott and Erykah Badu among the artists who pushed her buttons in more recent years.

“The biggest thing for me at the moment, to really extend and excel in my profession, is to be involved in a lot of groups and to collaborate with different people in different styles,” she says.

“This Oval Office band is all about the music and having something really exciting that we can all be proud of.”

Several of Vee’s Christchurch-based bandmates tutored her at jazz school.

They roped her into the Oval Office project because they were “looking to use their collective talents to create something funky and original”, she says.

“We have such a good time when we’re playing that it’s really exciting to have this album finished, and to be touring. We really cherish our gigs.”

Catch Oval Office at the Dux on Saturday from 10pm