About a decade ago, Shashaa Tirupati heard Bon Iver’s ‘Perth’ for the first time.
As a singer trying to make a mark in the music industry then, ‘Perth’ changed her world. “It left a scar. The guitar riff had me damaged, in a beautiful way of course. It had my heart in the first listen,” recalls Shashaa, “The accompanying visual was just raindrops on the window pane of a train. For me, it was a perfect moment, and ended up haunting me.”
Shashaa’s fascination for the popular American indie folk band (Bon Iver) and its founder, Justin Vernon, has only grown over time. Recently, the singer went back to her favourite track, ‘Perth’, to do an Indianised version, which was released recently. The cover version includes Tamil lyrics, penned by Muthamil, which combine with the sound of Indian instruments.
‘Perth’, said to be conceived by Justin Vernon in memory of Australian actor Heath Ledger, appealed to Shashaa not just in terms of musicality but also lyrically. “After I started learning music, I also started appreciating songwriting. After re-hearing the song, the lyrics and the story behind the song kind of hit me.” Adds Shashaa, “I’m not just a die-hard fan of Justin Vernon and Bon Iver. I feel that he has been a teacher, mentor and guide for me. The vocal arrangement of my first EP ( I’m sorry, Heart) was massively inspired by his work.”
Come this October, the singer, well known for her songs in AR Rahman’s Kaatru Veliyidai and OK Kanmani and several others, will experience a Bon Iver gig live for the first time. “I’ll be flying to Scotland for a concert, and I’m just hoping I don’t pass out in the audience out of awe!”
In the near future, apart from her film songs, Shashaa has multiple musical projects lined up, including one with Shivam Mahadevan, Neeti Mohan, and another where she teams up with a Taiwanese band called Elephant Gym. “There’s also a track with Kanishk Seth and Sanjeeta Bhattacharya that’s due for release next month,” says Shashaa, who is also looking forward to her second EP that she has produced too.