By: Manju Chandran
ACCLAIMED Indo-Canadian singer Shweta Subram has delivered hit songs in diverse genres and languages along with performing globally. The voice behind viral Tik Tok track Jalebi Baby most recently released her own version of the classic Bollywood song Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye from the movie Jurm, in a duet with talented singer Abhay Jodhpurkar. Shweta selected the top 10 musical moments from her journey so far.
Bollywood dreams: In 2010, I released my first single Jee Le on YouTube, followed by Ajooba. Fortunately, these singles caught the attention of Salim-Sulaiman’s management in Canada. They reached out to me a week prior to the 2011 IIFA [International Indian Film Academy] awards in Toronto and wanted me to be part of Salim-Sulaiman’s music release of the then upcoming movie Azaan. The launch was happening on the IIFA stage and they wanted me to sing the track Khuda Ke Liye from the film. It was an ecstatic moment performing on that huge platform in front of an audience that included Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and Hema Malini.
Bollywood playback debut: In January 2015, I was making a short trip to India and enroute I received a call from Bharat Goel (renowned sound engineer), who was working on the music of Ayushmann Khurrana ’s movie Hawaizaada. They were looking for a fresh voice and my cover of Ayushmann’s Mitti Di Khushboo caught their attention. Timing was everything. I landed in India, went straight into the studio and recorded my vocals for the song Dil-E-Nadaan, a duet with Ayushmann for Hawaizaada.
Jalebi Baby viral fever: In September 2020, my friend Maithali Sagar mentioned Tesherr to me and I reached out to him as I had enjoyed his production. Tesherr was working on his original song Jalebi Baby and was looking for a female voice to sing the hook. My voice matched the genre and requirements, and although I was in Dubai, I managed to record my vocals immediately and send it to him. Thank you, technology. A month later Jalebi Baby was released during Diwali to rave reviews. Numerous dance covers, Insta reels and more have been made on this song, and the views continue to grow. Happy to be the female vocalist of the viral Jalebi Baby.
Being the only Indian vocalist to work with The Piano Guys and transform Swedish House Mafia’s Don’t You Worry Child to a Hindi song: While at home at my parents, I received a call from Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys. They had researched Indian singers for their upcoming project and came across my song Mere Saajan Sun Sun with Shankar Tucker. They said my voice stood out and they loved my smile. It was definitely an honour, especially since I am a big fan of their music. Our song Khushnuma transformed Don’t You Worry Child with Indian elements and has crossed 22 million views on YouTube. Shooting the video in the middle of a desert was also tremendous fun.
Being the youngest Indian vocalist to have performed at the esteemed Carnegie Hall in New York: It was a blessing to perform at the Carnegie Hall to a sold-out audience with The Piano Guys. The feedback and accolades I received was tremendous. It is truly a proud moment to receive an esteemed honour of this nature at such a young age. It all started off with touring with The Piano Guys across Pennsylvania, Syracuse, New York, Toronto and Montreal. They are an overload of talent and I got to learn so much from them. My experience has been fantastic and they are now like family.
Anthems and leaders: In April 2015, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was visiting Canada and a grand reception with over 15,000 people at Ricoh coliseum in Toronto was held to mark the occasion. It was such an honour to be the chosen one to sing both national anthems and meet two world leaders – Narendra Modi and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.
Global award: This was a dream come true moment for me. I have always admired Shankar Mahadevanji, as he is a powerhouse of talent. When the opportunity came up to participate in a competition judged by him, I jumped in right away. I was selected as the winner for his global online singing competition by his music school, the Shankar Mahadevan Academy. It was an honour to be chosen as one of the top three from among thousands of entries worldwide. The happiest moment was receiving mentorship and personal one-to-one training from Shankar Mahadevanji himself as part of the winning package.
Making history as the first female vocalist to perform at a Bollywood concert in Saudi Arabia: In March 2019, I was given the opportunity to headline the first Bollywood concert in Saudi Arabia and accompany Shaan. It was an exciting yet overwhelming experience and seeing the dynamics of the country changing was very interesting. It was a joy to be a part of the first-ever Bollywood music festival and see how music brought 15,000 people together for this concert. It was also my first time ever doing a sound check in an abaya!
My Tamil playback debut with the song Mella Mella: I was on my way to Florida when I received a call from music director Ghibran’s management. They had come across my video with The Piano Guys and loved my voice, and wanted me sing for upcoming Tamil film Maayavan, which Ghibran has scored. My excitement knew no bounds as this gave me the opportunity to sing in Tamil (my father is from Tamil Nadu), and I have always been fascinated with the music and culture of the south.
Sunny tunes: Two of my songs – Doli (officially unreleased) and Ajooba – were picked up to be played in a Netflix documentary on Sunny Leone titled Simply Sunny. It was great to watch her grooving to my voice in the film.
Visit Instagram & Facebook: @Shwetasubram and www.shwetasubram.com