SINGER SHREYA SHARMA ON HER SONG, HOPES AND HEROES
by ASJAD NAZIR
SHE may be most known for her breakout hit The Prada Song, but Shreya Sharma has done a lot more beyond that and added to her impressive list of songs with newly released single Ladka Baiman.
The rising star is trained in both Hindustani classical and opera, but has drawn inspiration from contemporary singers like Neha Bhasin, Rihanna, Sunidhi Chauhan, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez. She has combined those commercial influences with a naturally singing ability to become one of the most exciting new artists in Indian music.
Eastern Eye caught up with Shreya for a free-flowing conversation about music, her empowering new song, inspirations and future hopes.
What first connected you to music?
I guess it would be when I really started learning music. My first music teacher was visually impaired and even though he pressed my fingers too hard on the harmonium, I could still feel his passion. I could sense that music had kept him alive and happy. Since then, it sort of became my safe place and that’s how I got connected.
Which of your songs is closest to your heart?
All of them are! I guess Prada will always have a special place in my heart because it got me noticed. But I love all my songs. I am especially fond of Ladka Baiman, because the track has so many emotions compressed in one song.
You are a versatile singer, but which genre do you enjoy the most?
I’m a sucker for Indian r’n’b pop. I also love Latin pop influenced Indian songs. I think those are the genres where I really enjoy myself.
You have done some amazing cover versions, but which has been your favourite?
It’s got to be Tip Tip Barsa Pani! Rishabh and I worked on this track closely, and the vibe of it was so cool! It had this kind of retro theme and the guitars worked really well. Plus, it’s a 90’s song and you really can’t take 90’s music out of a 90’s kid!
What is the plan going forward?
I’m working on another track called Tera Nasha, which draws some influence from the house music genre. There’s a saxophone in it and sonically, I think it’s very interesting. The video is also really cool, so I’m very excited.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a young artist?
Social media is a bit of a challenge. I’m an old soul and forget to post consistently, and it’s my biggest weakness. There’s a huge market there and because of my bad habits, I end up not using it to its fullest potential.
Who would you love to work with?
I’m obsessed with Akull and Mellow D. I think they make a really powerful pair. The production, composition and lyrics are so fresh and cool. I really want to work with them. I am also a die-hard Vishal and Shekhar fan. I’d slay a rabbit to work with them. Well, not really. Rabbits are cute! That being said, each person in our industry has something unique that they bring to the table. Music is a collaboration and I want to work with everybody who wants to collaborate and create music with me.
How did you feel after the release of your brilliant new single Ladka Baiman?
I felt great, but I was nervous at the same time. My first video had a massive star, Alia Bhatt, in it and now it’s just me. It was nerve wracking, but I’m happy that people like it.
Who are you hoping connects with this song?
I’m hoping young women connect with the song! I think this song is more than just a break-up song. It’s about realising your worth and moving on to something/some place or someone who values you.
What music dominates your own playlist?
Bollywood! Bollywood! Bollywood!
Who is your musical hero?
It would have to be AR Rahman. In every film or album, we see a new version of his genius. It’s truly amazing.
If you could master something new in music, what would it be?
I never learnt production and I think it would be cool to know how to produce and make your own beats and music. So, if I could suddenly master something, then it would definitely be production.
If you could ask a question to any music artist, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you ask?
I’d love to sit down with Kishore Kumar and have a lengthy conversation about his creative process and how he would come up with such lively songs.
What inspires you?
My parents inspire me. My dad is the most hard-working man I know. He’s a doctor and has been working non-stop during the pandemic and my mom has also been putting herself at risk. They’ve also been extremely supportive throughout my career.
Why do you love music?
Because it transcends everything, including language, race and cultural divides. It unites people and heals. I’ve always turned to music when I’ve been dealing with stuff, and I truly believe music is one place where borders have no meaning.