Shashaa Tirupati’s first indie single, Un Tholil Naan Saaya, is all the rage online
She broke into Bollywood with this big remake hit from OK Jaanu (2017) and is still known in most parts of North India as the Humma Humma girl. Down South however, she’s more famously known for Paranthu Sella Vaa and Naane Varugiraen, immensely popular tracks from OK Kanmani (2015) and the insanely sung Ninnu Kori bit from Rasaali in Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada (2016) — a vocal feat that catapulted her into fame even within hard-to-please classical circles. Shashaa Tirupati has now released her first independent single featuring Keba Jeremiah and we just can’t hear enough about it! We catch up with the singer for a quick chat. Excerpts.
Your new single has an incredibly unique sound but sticks to a genre we associate your voice with; how did this collaboration with Keba Jeremiah come about?
Un Tholil Naan Saaya was written quite a while back and with a lot of love. The initial version was produced with a vintage, earthy arrangement under a rural backdrop as the premise of the song. I ended up losing the hard drive containing that audio session and that is where the intent to revisit the arrangements partially originated, ie keeping it acoustic, minimal, intimate and real — something anyone with a voice and/or guitar can sit and hum/perform. The collaboration with Keba Jeremiah was an opportunity in adversity to say the least, if I may, as I’d been meaning to work with Keba for years, and the previous lockdown led to our first collaboration on an original! And I suppose the wait on releasing the song was in anticipation of the right platform for the right reach towards the intended audience, which presented itself in the form of maajja.
Tell us a little bit about the single.
In terms of the arrangements of Un Tholil Naan Saaya, I’d briefed Keba on what the dynamic progression of the song entails in my mind, considering we were limiting ourselves to just a voice and guitar, and he soared in his execution of the sentiment. Girish Kalyanaraman, an old friend and IIM (A) pass-out, has written the lyrics, our second after Yezhundhu Vaa (ft Chinmayi Sripada). In addition, Keba and I have been working on an EP in its entirety; due for release in a couple months’ time, and Un Tholil Naan Saaya sets the perfect stage for what’s to come.
What does ‘Un Tholil Naan Saaya’ mean to you personally?
I owe a significant part of my identity as a playback singer to my Tamil audiences. As a songwriter myself, the least I could do was give back with something that represents me in my entirety, with of course more to follow. I really want to collaborate with the incredible amount of talent in the Tamil music industry, both independent and film, to create compelling music and sound and to touch and portray our artistic worth to listeners globally. Personally, there’s been an entirely new sentiment and attachment to the song. A lot has transpired emotionally with the making and within the process of re-visiting this song and I believe people will feel that love when they hear it as well.
Will this song be a single or will it be a part of a larger album?
I’m open to the various possibilities out there with this song. For example, if a director deems this fit for a segment in his film, I’d be thrilled to put this out there. Or if I’m prepared with a few more songs in Tamil in the near future, I’d be equally keen to release this as part of an exclusively Tamil album. For now, I’d just like people to enjoy the song how it is.
What can we look forward from you next?
I’m ecstatic about my upcoming EP ft Keba Jeremiah. There are a lot of talents on board from Tamil Nadu on this project, on the audio as well as video. And with maajja on board, I’m sure it’ll be a project worth the wait. Quite a few film songs are in the pipeline as well.