I don’t see 'big popcorn blockbusters' at cinema halls coming back anytime soon: singer Shayan Italia
'Warriors', a song about the relentless fighting spirit of mankind by Shayan Italia is streaming now in 200 countries on various platforms including YouTube, Spotify , Amazon and many more
Tell us about your background. What influence has your family had on your music and philanthropy?
I, Shayan Itala, was born in India; Secunderabad city, to be more precise, to a Zoroastrian Parsi family. My Mum loves reading and my father was a PhD in Engineering. My musical journey stems from my late Mum who told my Dad to buy me a piano before she died. She never lived to see me play it and lost her life to Multiple Myeloma or Cancer of the Bone Marrow. My Dad lost his life to Multiple Sclerosis exactly a year later. I learnt a lot from my Dad and during the time when I was taking care of him while he was sick. Both my parents form an equal stem of my philanthropic efforts. I have a long uphill ladder to climb to make any sort of impact on humanity.
When did you decide to become a singer and if you were not a singer what would you aspire to be?
I started to write songs very early. I hired professionals to also sing my songs but none of them emoted in a way that I wanted them to. It was then that I decided to train my voice and sing my own songs. If I wasn’t a singer I would still be a wellness entrepreneur and perhaps a pianist/songwriter.
“Warriors” is a very uplifting song. Tell us about your creative process with this track.
We’re all going through incredibly trying times, and very unpredictable periods lie ahead for all of us. Warriors is the kind of track anyone can relate to, especially what life has undergone this past year, and where it is headed for each of us. Warriors, through its uplifting and empowering lyrics seems to connect with people on a deep level, a personal one at that. “We are Warriors, we don’t back down. Forces of good, bound by truth aloun. We stand, we rise, we fight, we fall. We get back up as if nothing happened at all”. It does make you want to rise up! People have been sending me their incredible covers from the world over which I have started to feature on my new YouTube channel. I wrote Warriors in April 2021, and within 3 weeks of writing and recording it, I put it out. It’s very early days, but the song seems to be obtaining steady movement.
Is there anything specific that you hope audiences get from this track?
I think with any artist or songwriter, if the audience connects with a song on a personal level, that’s the jackpot really. If Warriors can help brighten someone’s day, empower someone who’s feeling down, or uplift someone who is about to give up due to personal hardships and has no hope left, and the song can add even a little “hope” to that tank, then the song’s purpose is achieved.
How has the pandemic affected your work, and how have you adapted?
I’ve always been used to working from home, but lately, I’ve become busier than ever. The days are flying by as I have much to do with projects now starting up. The pandemic and lockdown has taught us to reflect internally in ways we never thought possible. In the world we live in today, it’s “adapt or die” literally now. People are also developing alternative skillsets and streams of income. I’ve always been a disciplined individual and so, I map out my day and my things to work as efficiently as I possibly can.
Do you have any future projects you would like us to know about?
I’m about to launch a flagship wellness app focused on Intermittent Fasting, my chosen lifestyle of wellness. Beta testing has proven immensely positive results for some. I’m truly excited about this project and the foundations are being sowed as we speak.
What is your take on the culture of remixes in Bollywood?
The focus on the “songwriter” as opposed to “something fitting in film for the director” needs to come back for the industry to grow than throw out remix-after-remix due to the lack of original content. At the end of the day it is the hand in glove partnership between the producers of the content and the audience consumption of the content, that matters. Streaming and OTT in the last year have also shown that Good Content is worth seeing till the end, and rubbish content is not worth seeing till the end. Many BIG films have tanked due to this CHOICE people have now, both at the palm of their hands and in the comfort of their homes.
How do you see OTT affecting the future of big-budget cinema in India?
Before it was: pay for the ticket, go to the cinema, find out the movie is bad, then realise you’ve paid for the ticket, so sit through the entire movie and suffer! But now, it’s like you open a movie at home on Netflix or Amazon Prime or other OTT platforms, find out it is rubbish in just 5 minutes, close it immediately, don’t ever think about it, go on social media instantly to tell others how awful it is, and spare someone the same suffering. And let the stars of the same hide in shame for 2 weeks. I don’t see the big popcorn blockbusters coming back anytime soon. I also don’t see those INR 100 crore movies making their money in a weekend anytime soon. The dynamics of films have drastically changed. This will lead to better content being produced than nonsensical: both for film and music. So in a way the pandemic has prioritized quality over quantity, substance and meaning over popcorn entertainment and longevity over short-term gain. Let’s see what the future holds. Exciting times!
What are the differences you have observed in international music industry and Indian Music industry?
The Indian music is large by volume but tiny by revenue when compared to the International Music Market. The copyright system still doesn’t robustly exist here and a majority of the audience still believes “music is a free medium” and only a promotional element tied to films. Without going into detail, I would definitely say that if people were to pay for music, and music existed in isolation of film, the music stars would be a lot bigger, and a lot more financially rewarded than the Bollywood ones, hands down. Who knows, the dynamics may change someday.