Watch Shashaa Tirupati’s Simple Piano-Aided Debut Indie Release ‘String of Air’
The Mumbai-based Indo-Canadian playback singer, active for more than a decade, talks about writing her own material
Indo-Canadian singer Shashaa Tirupati has been the voice behind several film music hits over the last decade, even winning the National Film Award for best female playback singer in 2018 for the A.R. Rahman-composed Tamil song “Vaan Varuvaan” from the romance movie Kaatru Veliyidai. She’s sung in several languages and worked with everyone from Pritam to Anirudh Ravichander, but 2019, she says, “will be predominantly about songwriting.”
To start off, there’s her debut self-released track “String of Air,” a song that’s under two minutes, but captures Shashaa’s reflective voice over a simple cinematic piano melody produced by Siddhu Kumar, J.C. Joe and A.K Priyan (known for their work on Tamil film soundtracks). She says about the lyrics, “It’s based on vulnerability, a constant state of confusion, self-protection and realization. I guess we’re a little hard on ourselves. It’s about letting loose.”
Although she’s written songs since she was 16 while living in Canada, her unsureness led her to hold on. Shashaa cites two things that have recently helped her overcome these apprehensions. “What matters is playing your work to the right people, to get the kind of motivation and inspiration.” She sent her lyrics to singer-composer Vishal Dadlani and the track to composer-singer Kannan Mohan (vocalist from rock veterans Agnee). “These are people who have been in the independent scene since forever,” she says.
The other bolstering factor was her weekly video series #Tunesday, where she uploads a clip singing “rare songs or songs that went unnoticed” – everything from Pakistan’s fusion/rock veterans Mekaal Hasan Band’s “Sajjan” to “Aayat” from Bollywood period drama Bajirao Mastani. “Last week, I decided to put up an original for my Tunesday. It was very interesting, because so many people from the independent scene were very supportive,” she says.
She’s now writing more songs to be self-released, in Hindi, English and Punjabi. “I’m working towards fine-tuning five songs I’ve written that I intend on releasing this year. I’m looking into creating an identity for myself in independent music,” she says.
Watch the video for “String of Air” below.