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(S)haan: Daddy Issues

Nineteen-year-old Shaan Singh shrugs off nepotism accusations and says he’s trying to make it on his own in the big, bad world of EDM

Rolling Stone India Nov 21, 2014
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Dj Shaan performing at Tomorrowland | Photo Credit: Pao Duell

Dj Shaan performing at Tomorrowland | Photo Credit: Pao Duell

Among the slew of electronica producers who have popped up on our radar over the last few years, only a fortunate few have man­aged to perform at festivals abroad and even fewer have name checked superstars such as American tech house producer Funka­genda, German progressive house DJ Miss Nine and Swedish dance music trio Swed­ish House Mafia. Only one among them has performed at the Mecca of EDM: Tomor­rowland festival in Belgium. Mumbai-born Shaan Singh has done all of this and more impressively, before he turns 20 next year. Says Singh, “It’s tough, but it’s pure adren­aline.”

Before he hit big, Shaan was content pro­gramming music at his father’s birthday parties. As the son of Percept’s head honcho Shailendra Singh, Shaan met some of the biggest names in the industry and heard a lot of insider business talk. For those watch­ing from the sidelines, Singh’s ascent seems almost too quick ”” in the span of four years, the young producer has gone straight from school to the dancefloor, performing with electronica giants such as Swedish EDM DJ Avicii and Belgian DJ Yves Van Geert­som, among others. Says Singh, “My first gig was something that I got because of my dad, that’s not something I try to hide. But before that show, he said to me: ”˜If you’re shit, you’re done.’ He isn’t the kind of person who will tell you that you’re good if you’re not. It doesn’t matter if the crowd loves it or not, he’ll tell me if I play a bad set.” Of course, Shaan con­tinues to score some of the best sets, opening for A-listers such as Dutch dance music proj­ect Dash Berlin and Canadian trance pro­ducer Arnej by the virtue of being the son of Sunburn mastermind Shailendra Singh. He adds, “Networking can get you the first con­versation. After that it’s what you do with it.”

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Singh’s first major break was in 2010, per­forming at the Butterfly Stage, after elec­tro house producer Anish Sood, at Sunburn festival in Goa. Says Singh, “I had these ter­rible Senneheiser headphones so I wasn’t even sure if I was mixing properly and I was so nervous that I dropped my CDs.” In the years since, Singh has evolved from an inse­cure teenager with a set of rented decks to an adept producer, obsessed with reinvent­ing himself and his sound. But the young art­ist still has a long way to go before he can be taken seriously.

Known for his distinctively upbeat blend of progressive and tech house, Singh is now concentrating on perfecting his style, build­ing brand (S)haan and making sure his music is distributed to the right set of elec­tronica junkies. He adds, “I was 15 when I played at Sunburn, there must have been 50 people there and all I was thinking was ”“ this is the biggest gig of my life, this is it. Now, I try not to think about who I’m play­ing with too much because if I do, then I’ll start to overthink. What I do think about is the audience and whether they’re having a good time.”

Although he grew up listening to rock and popstars such as Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams and Michael Jackson, Singh quick­ly developed a passion for dance music after he met Mumbai-based DJ Hiren Bhawsar. Singh learned the basics of mixing and expe­rienced first-hand what it took to engage an audience from Bhawsar. Says the producer, “I owe my skills to him. I was 12 when I first jumped behind the console to watch what he was doing, I thought it was so interesting. That’s where it started.”

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Currently studying Event Management at the University of Greenwich, Singh in­sists that music is still his first priority ”” but juggling the two can be complicated. Says Singh, “I’m here for two shows [with Swed­ish electronica producers Axwell /\ Ingrosso] this weekend, then I need to fly back for class on Monday morning. Sometimes, someone will recognize me in the food court, but for the most part no one really knows who I am there, at least until they add me on Facebook.”

Singh is currently putting the finish­ing touches on four new singles, including “Light Up The World” which features Amer­ican singer Lauren Evans and which pre­miered this year on Armada Music’s Ruben De Ronde’s show on Tomorrowland Radio. The other tracks, “Mumbai,” “Fire” and “Rajah” are slated for release this month.



This article appeared in the November 2014 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

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