From starting at a very young age to reaching musical heights at an age when most teens are just starting to explore the grown-up world, Shyamoli Sanghi’s journey is one that is full of hard work, determination, dedication and a mix of all the right notes.
Was music always an interest? Who inspired you when you first began your journey in music?
I’ve always had a keen interest in music – singing particularly. I began training in Hindustani Classical music at the age of 6. I come from a family of academics, but they all have a keen sense of music and encouraged me to pursue this art. I completed a Visharadh Dwitiya examination in Hindustani Classical Vocal from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. I’ve also finished Grade 5 in Piano from the prestigious Royal College of Music, UK and can play musical instruments including the Tabla and Harmonium.
Any early memories from when you were learning?
My early memories of learning are all about trying to balance my studies and music, something I continue to do even now! I’ve always accorded equal importance to both.
Does learning classical music help shape the base for any kind of music in the future?
Learning classical music definitely set the foundation for my musical pursuits. It helped me with intricacies such as voice modulation and control, improvisation and breathing techniques. It also inculcated a sense of appreciation for the rich musical history of our country and also made me more disciplined towards everything in life. It gave me the flexibility to attempt various singing genres – something that’s evident in the transition from my first solo Tu Na Aaya, to the second song Dorr, and the most recent Ahida, which is a Sufi song.
Did learning to play various musical instruments help with your singing?
I was interested in knowing more about music and everything surrounding the art form. It has improved my sense of melody, harmony, and rhythm and made me appreciate music at a deeper level.
How did you get your first break in the industry?
Image Credit: YouTube
After my first semester at Stanford University, where I’m pursuing an undergraduate course in Mathematics and Philosophy, I came to India on a break to explore the music industry. That’s when I met music director Mr. Ravi Singhal, who would go on to compose my first single! We decided on a song appropriate for my age and came up with Tu Na Aaya. Zee Music loved the song the moment they heard it and released it on their platform. I received a tremendous response to Tu Naa Aaya — over 11 million views in the first month of its release and over 15 million views now! I think I’ve been fortunate to have met the right people at the right time. After the success of my first song, I teamed up with Mr. Singhal again for Dorr and now Ahida – both songs have crossed over 11 million and 12 million views, respectively. All of this is extremely encouraging.
You have your own group that shares stories through music in different languages – how did you pick up so many languages?
As a part of an acapella group called Talisman at Stanford University, we perform songs from various cultures all over the world to share some lesser-known stories through music. I have to sing in languages such as Zulu, Zhosa, Spanish, Mandarin, and Shona – this helped me in picking up different languages. My diction and pronunciation have also improved.
You’re pursuing an academic course that’s completely different from music – how are the two blending in?
I’ve always been sure of giving equal weight to studies while pursuing my passion for music. Even at Stanford, I’m studying subjects that are very vast. I’m extremely passionate about both and try to strike a balance. What helps me is the fact that I’m aware of what to prioritize. Focus on your goals and what you want to achieve. This will help in taking things forward more efficiently. Take your family and near ones into confidence and work hard to make your dream come true.
How did Ahida happen?
Ahida is an out and out Sufi offering, a genre that’s very close to my heart. When Mr. Ravi Singhal came up with the idea of Ahida, I connected with the song instantly. Ahida is our interpretation of Sufi, with a classical touch – I feel that youngsters today are really catching on to Sufi music and it’s exhilarating to see Ahida resonate with them. In fact, I’ve received some amazing feedback from people across all age groups.
Is Bollywood the next step?
I’ve always been a fan of Bollywood movies and it’s been my dream to become a playback singer. I hope to sing in movies someday. I also have some more singles lined up with Zee Music.
How has life changed post the release of the music videos?
It’s been one rollercoaster of a ride till now. My three singles are very different in their approach and I’ve been able to push my benchmark higher every time. Life has changed for the better with all the attention and accolades, but I’ll continue to work harder and try out different genres. My aim is to become a playback singer and each of this is a stepping stone towards that goal.
Hard work, dedication, some amount of networking, and understanding your priorities are some of the mantras Shyamoli swears by and can help you get ahead in your chosen path of a career as well.