British-Indian musician Shayan Italia’s new song Warrior gives hope in the time of crisis
British-Indian pianist Shayan Italia talks about his new song Warrior, coping with the lockdown, and why he can’t collaborate with Bollywood musicians
Ten years ago, when British-Indian musician Shayan Italia came to India from the UK, little did he know that his experiences in the country would become his inspiration for the songs he would create in the future. Once he was surprised to find himself standing up for the National Anthem with a bucketful of popcorn in his hands at a theatre in Mumbai. This inspired him to create a complete new rendition of the song which eventually became one of the most viewed versions of the anthem with over 100 million views. This singer is now back with Warrior, inspired by the present COVID-19 situation.
The song is a metaphorical representation of the current situation as the pandemic has caused millions of deaths and despite the present political and social conditions people are fighting and surviving. “It was written with the sense that we all need a push and this song is that force. I needed one song for people to relate to. Warrior is adult, contemporary melodic pop,” says Shayan, who hails from Secunderabad and has lived in the UK since he was a teenager.
“People remember songs no matter what situation they are in. I thought if I can create a song which eventually grows and people remember it, then it has the possibility to live. Warrior might reach that tipping point,” hopes the singer.
Born in a Parsi family, Shayan’s journey with music started as a teenager when his mother asked Shayan’s father to get him a piano. “I wanted to play anything I listened to,” he recalls. Shayan, at a very young age lost his parents and had to move to London to live with his elder brother. “There I got to learn more music and opportunities to work with a lot of musicians. I have been recording and writing in the shadows for a long time,” he recalls.
Driven by purpose rather than fame and money, Shayan is protective of his catalogue of work and despite living in Mumbai, he doesn’t want to collaborate with Bollywood musicians. “Bollywood is not my language of choice. I don’t think in that language and won’t be able to do justice with my music,” asserts the composer. Asked if he has plans to move back to the UK, he says living in India is tough but, “I love Indian food and there are some good things about India that keep me going. But, I can’t live anywhere else other than in Mumbai.”
An avid traveller, Shayan has explored more than 100 countries and believes that his exposure to the world helps him make good music. As of now, Shayan is celebrating the success of the song, and leads a private life focusing on his music and his philanthropic endeavours. However, this lockdown has hit him hard. “A lot of things are happening with my project but I am not able to gather resources,” he concludes.
Quick 5 with Shayan Italia
Your favourite musician:
Last web series you watched:
Superman & Lois
Favorite Bollywood song:
Kehna Hi Kya from the
Hindi version of Bombay
Rome, Barcelona, Athens and Los Angeles
Warrior is now streaming on YouTube.