ACCLAIMED BRITISH SINGER SHAMA ON THE ART OF PERFORMING LIVE
by ASJAD NAZIR
LONDON-BASED singer Shama regularly lights up the live scene with winning performances in a variety of commercial genres.
She has formed an impressive team with acclaimed band The 515 Crew, and they will be part of a strong line-up at Hotel Sofitel Heathrow in London on New Year’s Eve. The grand event will add to the massive number of concerts
Shama has to her name and once again show just why she is so in demand. The
super singer was in high spirits when Eastern Eye caught up with her to talk about her music, performing live and resolutions for the new year.
How did you feel being on stage for the first time?
My first proper performance was at the age of nine with my band on Voice Of Kenya television. It was an incredible experience. We walked out of the studio feeling like stars.
How much does live performance mean to you?
Live performance gives me the opportunity to connect to an audience, touch their lives in some small way. Knowing that through music you made a difference to someone’s day is a priceless feeling.
What has been your most memorable concert?
Trafalgar Square in front of 30,000 people. It was a cold rainy day. I doubted if anyone would come, but they came in droves and danced in the rain. Many people said it reminded them of dancing in the monsoons back home. The buzz I felt on stage with 30,000 people singing along with every song we sang, will always stay with me.
What songs do you enjoy performing live?
Although I do like singing slow songs, I actually enjoy performing faster songs more. I love seeing a packed dance floor, the band going crazy on stage and people having a great time. I do not like audiences that are serious. They are scary.
Who have you most enjoyed seeing live?
It’s hard for me to watch a performance like a normal audience member. I am constantly listening out for things, observing the body language, intricate details, their energy on stage and visuals. What I have learned through watching various artists is that no matter who I watch, I learn something valuable from each performance. You have something to learn from every artist.
What is the secret of a great live performance?
I am not sure if I have mastered that yet. I feel I am constantly learning. What I do know is that it’s several elements rather than one. Preparation, practice, connection with an audience, spontaneity and humour. It is also about enjoying yourself on stage.
Tell us something about your New Year’s Eve gig?
The show is organised by Rock On events and Madhu’s at Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow. We have the incredible Nitin Kumar, Indian Idol finalist, performing with us. His high-energy performances at O2 Indigo had audiences wanting more. What better night than New Year’s Eve to have him back with us? The band will be performing a mix of Bollywood, English and bhangra. With a thousand people on the dance floor, this promises to be one hell of a party.
Will you be making any resolutions for the new year?
Yes, of course. It’s another thing whether I stick to them. I want to lose weight and get fit. I want to make more time to travel and enjoy life with my loved ones. I want to push my boundaries in music and work on new projects.
What can we expect from you in 2020?
The year 2019 was a super busy year for the band, beating the previous year’s record. Next year promises to beat 2019. I organised two successful consecutive 1990s Nights earlier this year. Next year, I am planning to go bigger. I am also planning to record more regularly.
Why do you love music?
We all love music for different reasons. It’s often not the music itself, but our emotions at the time that makes it special and creates a memory for us that we reconnect to each time. I love how the simple combination of a few notes allows you to access emotions deep in your core. I am often left in awe of a composer’s creation or a lyric writer’s thoughts in penning the words to a song. For me, a song is melody, words, plus a whole bunch of emotions, all so cleverly captured and entwined in a few minutes. How can you not love that?
Why should we come to your New Year’s Eve gig?
Simply because there will not be any other party like it. Nitin Kumar, myself, Chirag, Nimesh, The 515 Crew, DJ Sound Curious, Rock On Events and Madhu’s is going to be a super combination of music.