This up and coming musician wishes he had a cool moniker but hopes just “Sooraj” should suffice too.
You know how we introduce you to some musician and just expect our views about them will express how they view themselves too but it hardly happens. Yeah well, here’s a musician who sees himself as he is. There isn’t a surface to scratch; you just have to ask.
We gave him a choice to let his work do the talking and here’s what he wanted to be introduced for. “Nemesis” is a song by Sooraj that recently got its official music video on Valentine’s Day! It had over 1 lakh views on Facebook and over 50k views on YouTube, in a week.
With a heart that lies with the acoustic genres, he tries to work with “everything, from pop rock to country, jazz, blues, funk and alternative stuff.” He is currently doing a Masters degree in English Literature from Mithibai College, Mumbai but aims to be a full-time musician soon with “singing/songwriting/performing, and music production and recording.”
Ex St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai student has always been into music and he started playing the keys when he was just 1.5 years old. He adds, “I went on to give my Grade 8 exams in keys at age six, and it was smooth sailing from there, learning the guitar, the violin, the drums and the piano. I think I seriously decided on music as a career when I learnt the basics of music production in a five-week summer program at Berklee College of Music, Boston.”
Sooraj and The Shades is his live five piece band consisting of Hansel Dias (Bassist), Calvin D’silva (Drummer), Pranav Kamat (Guitarist), Nishat Chadha (Keys) with Sooraj on Vocals and rhythm.
The professional busker (street musician) with the NSPA – the Natural Streets for Performing Arts can handle himself comfortably on any stage and in front of any audience. He has played at Tuning Fork and blueFROG, Mumbai and at gigs by Sofar Sounds, Bangalore; playing at other places in the country and in Boston. When asked about what his most memorable performance was, Sooraj says, “when I sang a few originals at an open mic in the US last year, and a completely random guy who heard me actually bought me a beer later to commend my performance. I swear, I could’ve cried at that moment.”
Sooraj talks about his future goals ,”I want to perform at music festivals across India (and later the world!) and have people sing along and groove to my originals.”
We all have some people who drive us forward and keep us inspired, dedicated towards our goals. The life and determination of Steve Jobs made an impression on Sooraj’s mind, so strong, that it drives him every single day, as an artist. John Mayer has been his “idol for songwriting and musicianship since the past six years now,” and he enjoys listening to independent artists like Raghu Dixit and so on.
Sooraj crafted some beautiful words to use as his advice to budding musicians, everything he has learnt from his journey that led him to perform for the masses. He explained, “It’s been a combination of ups and downs but at the end of the day, music as an art form makes you trust in yourself and believe in what you’re doing and you realize where it takes you, will be for the best. My advice to budding musicians is to never hesitate to invest in you – no matter what it takes, never stop learning. And never give up on your music and your dreams, even though at times everything may seem like it’s leading downhill. There’s a line from my song ‘Awake,’ that says ‘When your nightmares and your failures are the same, when your dream of love is falling from the way; you know you gotta come awake.’ And that’s all it takes – to take a step back, look at things from another perspective, and remember that even bad times don’t last forever!”
After three long weeks of struggle with tonsillitis, Sooraj performed at the 25th of Feb at Pitaara, Goregaon as part of ennui.BOMB’s Discovery Night lineup. He will play an acoustic set on 18th of March 2017 at BandCamp, Mumbai, with a bassist (Hansel Dias) and percussionist (Calvin D’silva).