Sometimes discovering one’s passion turns into a mammoth task, perhaps because we hardly pay attention to things that we are naturally good at or possessive about.
I believe that every artist should have the freedom to showcase their talent and also given space to inculcate creativity. Don’t restrict us, and we shall show you the best of us.”
Shaili Shah was just five when she first sang to her mother. As naive parents, her mother and father were thrilled to see their little daughter sing so well. But well, that was it.
Shaili grew up to be an active student in school with an all-rounder interest. In 2001, when a massive earthquake shook Ahmadabad, her school remained closed for good three months. During this time, she joined a neighbouring summer camp where ETV Gujarati got enamoured by the talented Shaili and asked her to anchor two of their shows, when she was just eleven.
She continued for as long as four years but when her class 10th approached, she gave it up all. Being an all rounder, Shaili nailed her board exams with 92% and as it goes with most of us, she conveniently chose science for her plus two and later for graduation. However, meanwhile, she lost her mother to liver cirrhosis. Her mother’s last wish was to let Shaili make music a part of her life forever.
During third year of college, Shaili realised music to be missing from her life. She felt burdened with excessive responsibilities and also felt the pressure at work taking a toll on her.
I went home and told my father that I don’t want to study science anymore. The usual question came back from my father. What will you do, instead?, I said, anything but not science. To this, he jokingly replied, why don’t you try for an arts course at St Xavier’s?
The arts course had already covered four months, and despite that she went and spoke to the Principal at Xaviers. He told her they could take her if she studied one year of and topped in some other college. Shaili readily agreed and worked hard persistently to make this come true.
After being admitted to Xaviers, she won a singing competition in her college, the ”Voice Of Xavier”. This was a turning point in the singer’s journey. She got recognition, appreciation and a number of offers to sing.
My first official paid show happened at Samrat Dave’s Club where I sang A R Rahman’s songs. Soon after, I started working with a guy, who unfortunately, exploited my talent. Every time the audience would say “Once More” he won’t let me perform because he wanted to keep the limelight for himself. He never paid me for working overtime. He exploited me mentally and monetarily and didn’t give me a platform that a singer needs.
Soon, she left the group as she realised she loved experimenting. After all, she wasn’t like just another singer, who’s creativity could be limited. She wanted to sing through her soul.She was stranded at home for the next six months, having no clue on what to catch up next, when YouTube caught her attention. She observed how people sing minus one track and that’s where her true learning began.
IIM Chao happens to be one of the highlights of Shaili Shah’s singing career. She even opened the show for Shankar Mahadevan.
I already had “Dhunki” song ready with me and practiced it for the whole day. It was Showtime and I opened the show for Shankar Mahadevan with “Dhunki” … the video got an unbelievable number of views on YouTube, it was a smash hit. I went to Shankar Mahadevan complemented my voice and praised my performance too. They said, it was just awesome.
Since then there has been no stopping for Shaili. She has opened shows for a host of singers like KK, Tochi Raina, Shilpa Rao, Arijit Singh, Euphoria amongst others. She has also started singing at weddings, her own creative fusion way. Three years ago, she experimented with ‘selfie videos and even though she was apprehensive about putting them out, she anyway did- and what response she got!
From singing just to make my mother happy to singing for thousand of people, I have come a long way.
Shaili’s story represents the ups and downs of all of us who strive to find our purpose and somewhere lose it when the failures knock us down. However, Shaili never gave up and kept clinging to her passion of singing in her own eccentric way without compromising on her creativity.
Isn’t this exactly what all of us artists strive for?
Check out her soulful voice in her YouTube cover for ”Main Tenu Samjhawan’‘.
Source: Humans Of Amdavad