A National Award winning young singer, the voice of Shashaa Tirupati carries a charm that can sweep off even the most discerning listener. For someone who’s barely 30, her career has been illustrious and replete with creativity and opportunities galore. At the moment, she is basking in the success of her latest collaboration, ‘Raat’, with friend and producer Sid Paul.
On behalf of Radio City Freedom, I chat with the songstress about making more music during the lockdown and how it has made her self-reliant.
What was it about ‘Raat’ that instantly connected with you?
ST: The first thing that I instantly connected with was the overall vibe of the song and compositional beauty. Sid (Paul) and I have been friends and collaborators since a while now, having worked on several projects together, such as ‘Tere Bin Nai Lagda’, ‘Rasaali’ and ‘Gurus Of Peace’ (covers) and the upcoming ‘Siyaahii’ (Ft. Papon, an original of mine), but when I'd heard ‘Raat’ I resonated with his songwriting on first listen. It's honest, personal and conversational. Furthermore, the song is in a range I am most comfortable singing in, that hasn't been explored much, so I was very keen on working on this track with him.
You’ve released multiple singles during the lockdown, including your English single, ‘Leprechaun Love’ and even shot music videos too. Do you think the pandemic has made independent artistes/musicians more self-reliant in order to outsource their work?
ST: Lockdown has been a blessing in disguise, to be honest. It has given me the time to focus on my independent music as well as various recordings for other artists/ film/collabs. It's facilitated me getting around to songs that have been pending for the longest time due to shows/ shoots and constant travel. It's also opened up opportunities to explore and discover so much about my sound and musical inclinations.
In a recent interview to The Hindu, you said that you were teary-eyed while singing ‘Vaan Varuvaan’ from the Tamil film, ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ for which you won the National Award. Would you like to elucidate upon the same for our readers?
ST: I'd been going through a rough patch at the time. Vaan strung chords that triggered a lot of bottled emotions to emanate. That's the magic of AR Rahman Sir. His music is perhaps my deepest emotional indulgence! Haha.
You’ve done an illustrious amount of work commercially and independently, having worked with the likes of A.R Rahman, Anirudh Ravichander and Tanishq Bagchi with over 200 songs across 13 languages to your credit. Where do you stand then on the viewpoint that there is hardly any representation of women in music?
ST: I've been fortunate to get some enviable female solos and female-oriented songs: Kanha (Shubh Mangal Savdhaan), Soja Soja (99 Songs), Chal Kahin Door Chalein (Mom), Vaan Varuvaan (KaatruVeliyidai), to name a few, are songs that we as singers dream of being part of. So we definitely are represented in music. I guess it's more about the script of the film on which our representation on soundtracks relies. So if you feel we are under-represented, its perhaps because there aren’t sufficient situations where the female shines. Which is why I have tremendous respect for directors like Anand L Rai, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir, the late Yash Chopra ji and Mani Ratnam sir, amidst others, who offer a lavish foreground for the female leads in their films to shine, which imparts us opportunities to stand out as lead singers as well.
We hear a new EP, which is slated for release in September/October is in the works. Do you wish to throw light upon its developments?
ST: I'm at the finishing stages of my EP, titled ‘STITCHED’, due for release this September/ October. I've produced most and written all the songs on the EP, including a collaboration featuring Chinmayi Sripaada. Other collabs in the pipeline feature artists like Vishal Dadlani, Harshdeep Kaur to name a few. I've been recording quite a bit for other composers and films from home. Then there are covers, which I prefer rearranging myself, including the recently released ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’ (sung originally by Mohd. Rafi Saahab) and ‘Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhulegi’. I'm also working on a single (tentatively) titled "Medieval Minds" that I'm writing and will be directing and editing the video of, after "Leprechaun Love". Online concerts are ongoing, till things are safe to hit stage/ studios full throttle.