Collaborations with singers across borders, performing at the world’s most prestigious venues, and now a footing into playback, Indo-Canadian singer Shweta Subram is enjoying a purple patch in her career. Today, she has became a popular concert name, on both Indian and international frontiers.
Talking about her early beginnings, Shweta says, "I was born and grew up in Dubai until my teenage years. Being an only child, my parents were very determined to make me an all-rounder. So they got me involved in multiple activities like learning Carnatic music, Bharatnatyam, drawing and Bal-vihar (spiritual classes). My mom specially was keen that I learn singing, but only as a hobby. I would hate going to classes as a kid as it took time away from my playing hours!"
After her family moved to Canada, she participated in a North American-wide singing competition organised by Sangam Kala Group and won it — that changed it all and as they say, the rest is history!
How does she stay true to her Indian sensibilities? "Although I lived in Dubai and Canada all my life, my household had everything going to keep me in touch with the Indian culture. My dad would play bhajans every morning, I would partake in activities by Indian organisations and also went to an Indian school in Dubai. It can’t get any more Indian than that, can it?" she laughs.
Shweta’s first big break was when American musical group Piano Guys asked her to feature with them — "The Piano Guys actually contacted me! Steve Sharp Nelson (cello player) called me one day and said they came across my videos and loved my work. It was so amazing to work with them. I am so glad they decided to experiment with Indian music or we wouldn’t have worked together!"
And then of course, playback beckoned. "I was visiting Mumbai early January 2015. A friend of mine, Bharat Goel, is an excellent programmer and has worked on multiple Bollywood films. I was in touch with him and visited his studio one day. He was working on Ayushmann Khurranna’s movie, Hawaizaada and there was a song that needed some female vocals. I dubbed those lines and the entire team loved it!" she recalls, with a smile.
Listing her favourite career memories as performing at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in NY with The Piano Guys, at the IIFA awards with Salim-Sulaiman in Toronto, and at the reception of PM Narendra Modi during his reception in Canada, Shweta concludes with her plans for the future – "I recently lent two of my songs ‘Ajooba’ and ‘Raja’ to Sunny Leone’s documentary ‘ Mostly Sunny’. It is currently aired on Netflix USA and HBO Canada, as well as The Movie Network. I am also working on my own singles Rasiya/Rasigha that is going to be released both in Hindi and Tamil very soon!"