Hear Shannon Donald’s Optimistic Debut Solo Single ‘Happy Place’
The Mumbai singer-songwriter’s track has been produced by Gulraj Singh
Mumbai vocalist Shannon Donald has had quite a meteoric rise as a performer over the years. The musician began singing at the age of four at talent shows and moved onto college festivals and slots at the now-defunct Blue Frog. In 2011 the artist was a backing vocalist for Coke Studio India and that’s when her stage was set. “It was then when I met everyone from [composers] Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, to KK.” That introduction opened many doors for Donald who found herself on tours with artists such as Salim-Sulaiman, Chauhan and even a performance with Farhan Akhtar at the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai in 2016. “Global Citizen was quite a big deal for all of us,” she says.
Even though Donald has cracked the Bollywood music space, she tells us that she’s always been in limbo and is “neither fully into Bollywood nor completely in the indie scene.” However now she’s proud to call herself an indie artist with her just-released hopeful debut solo single “Happy Place.”
For someone who has been so heavily involved with music from a young age, what has taken her so long to release her own material? Donald says, “I’ve just been overthinking it.” Even though she has performed her songs live in the past, the artist explains that she wasn’t happy with the way they sounded. “I also struggled with major self-criticism, something I still work on,” says the singer-songwriter.
“Happy Place” was penned in 2014 when according to the singer the world wasn’t in the best shape. She says, “Little did I know what 2020 had in store.” The track itself has an electro-pop vibe with bright chord movements, indulgent production as well as Donald’s honeyed vocals. Lyrically the musician sings about keeping the things you love safe “or you could lose them.” She adds, “When someone listens to my song, I want it to become their story. Their happy place could be a person, a pet, or even a moment they treasure. We live in a frivolous world and I feel like the pandemic has had some positive effects, meaning that now we take things for granted a little less.”
The song was recorded at Mumbai’s Audio Garage Studios and produced by Gulraj Singh while Amey Londhe engineered the sessions. Donald explains that she initially reached out to a number of producers to work on the song before settling on Singh. She says, “I knew I wanted a polished sound.” The singer adds, “Gulraj was the perfect fit for me and his production sense is so versatile.” Sound engineer Aftab Khan mixed and mastered the track.
With the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19, Donald has taken her vocal coaching online and even bought art supplies and a ukulele to improve her skills. Although she admits she’s not yet picked up the brushes or strummed the instrument due to her work busy schedule. The musician is quite chuffed to be known as an indie artist now and has more material in the pipeline. She says, “As any indie artist knows, consistency is the key, and I do have more songs lined up for this year.”
Stream “Happy Place” on Spotify below and click here to listen to it on other platforms.