The Sax Sensation: Elton Shera

by Kristian Harrison

Mon, 10 October 2022

bahrain saxophonist elton shera

Bahrain’s burgeoning music scene caters for all genres, tastes and instruments. Kristian Harrison spoke to pioneering saxophonist, Elton Shera, about his love of woodwind and turning talent and passion into a successful career.

Elton was born and raised in Bahrain to a Pakistani family, and has cultivated his love of music since his formative years. Now aged 25, he has forged a career as a full-time musician, writing his own material while freelancing as a saxophonist.

“Growing up with two elder brothers who had a passion for music, I was always surrounded by music in my home as a child,” Elton says. 

“I first started learning to play the drums at my church when I was 13 years old. However, I’ve always been intrigued by the sound of the saxophone but didn’t quite believe that I could ever play it. Finally, one day when I was 17, I managed to convince my parents to buy me the tenor saxophone and I’ve never looked back since. I instantly knew that my horn and I were in perfect harmony.”

Aside from the sax, Elton plays other woodwind instruments like the clarinet, which requires a similar technique with the reed mouthpiece. He also plays the aerophone, which is a digital sax and MIDI instrument which focuses more on music production. 

Focusing on different instruments and style is a philosophy Elton shares with his music taste.

“I actually listen to various genres of music as I think it’s important not to restrict myself to only certain styles,” he explains. “Branching out and listening to other genres helps you to discover new sounds and allows you to fully appreciate the art. There is a genre for every emotion you’re feeling.”

“My favourite artist is a tough one but a few I can think of at the top of my head would be Tom Misch, Masego, Snoh Aalegra, Billie Eilish, Leon Bridges and Hozier. As saxophonists go, I have a lot of appreciation for Michael Brecker, Paul Desmond, Gerald Albright, Kenny G and Dave Koz,” he says graciously. 

To fine tune his skills, Elton makes it a habit to practice every day at his home studio. “Even a little practice is good practice. It comes very naturally to me as I genuinely enjoy it. I always like to experiment with different genres and create a fusion between them; I believe flexibility is important as a musician,” he says.

Considering Bahrain’s small size and slightly limited opportunities compared to other countries, it would be easy for a budding musician to be pessimistic about their opportunities or to keep musicianship strictly as a hobby. Elton sees it differently, however, and he is happily performing across the Kingdom regularly every week.

“Performing in Bahrain undoubtedly has both: its strengths and challenges,” he argues. “Nonetheless I love performing on this island I call home amidst so many supportive and loving people. I’ve been quite fortunate to have my work appreciated by international celebrities like Grammy award-winner Carla Morrison, Masego, Bruno Major and Foushee. It is always such an honour and a privilege to put this beautiful country on the map as we have such amazing talent here but they don’t often get the recognition they deserve.”

“My plans for the future are to simply keep working hard on myself as an artist, keep growing and most importantly inspire others, especially young kids, to keep working towards their dreams despite the naysayers. Do what you love and the world will follow,” he says.

You can find Elton on all social media platforms including Instagram (@eltonsherasax), YouTube, Tiktok and Spotify.