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Himachal Artist Shubhank Sharma Goes from Ghazal to Psych Rock on ‘Khali Khali’

The seasoned rock artist is prepping to release his debut album ‘Dastak’ this year

Anurag Tagat Feb 09, 2021

Multi-instrumentalist rock artist Shubhank Sharma in a still from the video for "Khali Khali."

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Amidst the verdant and white Himalayas, rock artist Shubhank Sharma tells a tale of yearning on his latest release “Khali Khali,” the first track off the Rohru, Shimla-based multi-instrumentalist’s upcoming debut studio album Dastak

One of his first compositions as a solo artist that began taking shape as early as 2007, Sharma performed the song often through the years, making it a set staple that many gig goers in Himachal Pradesh are familiar with. He says, “I had never thought that my first composition would make it to an album. I had never approached it that way, but I am really happy the way things have fallen in place.”

Sharma goes from meditative ghazal-like vocals to a soaring Robert Plant-esque wail in the ebb and flow of “Khali Khali,” which closes out with a trippy guitar solo section. He sums up his range of influences by saying that he’s got favorites from “almost every genre” and cites ghazal veteran Ghulam Ali as well as French metallers Gojira. Sharma adds, “I grew up listening and crooning to my father’s cassette collection of ghazals, old Hindi film songs and in my high school, I was introduced to Silk Route, Lucky Ali, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Eagles… and by the time I reached college, I was listening to Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Yes, Pink Floyd and Led Zep.” 

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In the video directed by Rajiv Thakur, there’s a story of a much older Sharma (greyed and sedentary) who thinks back to his performances as well as the spark he shared with a woman who continued writing letters to him. Interspersed with incredible views of the Himalayas, we find that Sharma has lost correspondence but decides to write a new letter. The artist says about the music video, “Initially the idea was to film a story of an old man in his 60s and for that we wanted actors around the same age group who could play this, but our budget constraints forced us to change a lot of things in the story and eventually the director saw the old man in me.” 

Dastak will be a six-track album that will clock in just over the 40-minute mark, with Sharma telling us that each track averages at about seven minutes. “The overall sound that you’ll come across would be somewhat progressive, bluesy rock kind of combo,” he adds. There’s two more music videos in the pipeline, followed by the full release later this year.  

Watch the video for “Khali Khali” below. Stream on Spotify, Apple Music and JioSaavn.

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