Kollywood calling




Singapore-based singer Shabir on debuting as composer with Sagaa, and how new media has helped break barriers

‘Sevulu Kizhiyum’, the promotional music video of upcoming Tamil flick Sagaa opens with a bang. Featuring Sreeram and Kishore of Pasanga fame, the video has metal and rap influences, and the former child actors sport a new, edgy look.

Singapore-based Shabir, who debuts as composer with Sagaa, due to release in July, says he visualised the soundtrack as a Linkin Park-style music that would define the onscreen characters (thugs). The film’s director Murugesh is Shabir’s friend and he gave him the freedom to experiment. The album also features acclaimed Tamil rapper Dr. Burn, singer- actress Andrea Jeremiah and gospel singer Alphonse.

Shabir, who has an established fan base in Singapore, explains how versatility is appreciated there. He recalls how he would go in for a Malay recording on Monday, an English recording on Tuesday and a Tamil recording on Wednesday. In comparison, he calls the Indian music scene “soundtrack-driven”.

Asked how new media platforms such as YouTube have helped his career, he says they have renewed the intimacy (that had gone missing with the advent of labels and recording companies) between the artist and audience. At a tea stall in Virugambakkam, he was recognised by a group of boys who had seen his work on YouTube. “Such instances reaffirm how new media helps you go global fast.”

Shabir calls Rumi, Tagore and Bharatiyar as the trinity who inspired his work. “My songs should act as a narrative tool for the film yet have an identity of their own,” he explains. In one of the tracks in Sagaa, he uses the Chinese stringed instrument Erhu, which sounds like a human cry. “It transports you to another plane, standing in for what the grieving character cannot say.” By opening himself to a wide range of influences, including the philosophical works of Nietzsche and Sartre, Shabir says he’s learnt to empathise. “Empathy allows you to inhabit a space outside of yourself, and it is very important that an artist realises this,” he adds.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2018 12:07:06 PM |

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