“Music has this remarkable way of going beyond where words could go. I can’t always articulate my words quite right during conversation, so for me music is a means to express what I’m feeling in a way I could never say.”
At a time when much of the music we hear is devoid of integrity and merely entertains us, there is at least one emerging artist rooted in the good soil of conviction and passion. The soothing tone, reflective lyrics and fluid melodies of Halifax-bred, Toronto-based singer/songwriter Shobha could not have arrived on the music scene at a better time.
In 2007, Shobha sought to realize a debut album that captures the vision of who she is and who she will be.
Born of Indian descent, her interest in musical “flavors” drew her to diverse sounds from Jamaica to the Bronx. Within her family, her father enjoyed writing poetry, directing plays and composing songs in many different languages native to India; her mother studied and taught Sanskrit, a sacred language rich in poetry, music and philosophy. This deep “world view” laid the groundwork for what would become her sound.
In early January, Shobha teamed up with the award-winning Toronto/L.A based production team jACK. Starting with a writing session in Los Angeles, the next few months would turn out to unlock moments of true magic.
“It’s rare to work with an artist who not only wants to say something but truly has something to say”, professes Chad Richardson, one half of jACK. “Every word on this record was written with care and purpose by Shobha and she was relentless in making sure that her words conveyed her true thoughts within the songs”. Drawing on her influences, Shobha and jACK created a sound that mixes urban, pop, ska with hints of India and is polished to a diamond shine. Lyrically, the album takes us on a journey of self-discovery and the understanding of others.
The acoustic pop gem “Always On Your Feet” is a song about our constant struggle against temptations to do wrong.
The haunting “Letter To A Friend” is not your typical break up song, but one about saying goodbye because you have to; it was inspired by true events but for the record, the “friend” is fictional.
On the other side of the spectrum is “Old Clothes”. “This old school urban track is as close to a girl power song that I’ll ever get”, says Shobha. “I had this epiphany in high school that some friends could be like a pair of jeans; you grow out of them. Years later, I learned the same went for boyfriends. “Old Clothes” is really just a cheeky way of likening our wardrobe rejects to our relationship rejects.”
These and other songs, all written or co-written by Shobha, make up the debut “Work In Progress", named after an album track whose mix of R&B, Soul and Ska perfectly encapsulates her diversity. Says Shobha, “I originally wanted to name the record after a concept which would capture the essence of the whole project as opposed to naming it after a song. However, the song “Work in Progress” really seemed to sum up how I feel about myself and the music. The lyrics depict humility, hope and understanding.”
Shobha is an artist of vision, truth and, as her name means, grace.
"Hailing from Halifax, the second act of the night, Shobha, came onstage and blew the crowd away with her sultry voice and smooth lyrics. And if anyone’s jaws weren’t already on the floor after the first two songs, they definitely were after Shobha announced that she was suffering from laryngitis. Well, you definitely couldn’t notice this in her songs, which were backed by stellar arrangements that quickly got the crowd moving. After a few faster tracks, Shobha switched to a slower gear, telling everyone to grab their loved one and hold them close. “This is baby making music!” she told the crowd. And the crowd responded to her every word. Helped along by her creative lyrics and a very talented, very entertaining band, Shobha had the crowd wrapped around her finger by the end of the half hour set."
-Moya Dillon, Reviewer (Toronto Indie Week 2006 - The Drake Hotel, October 13, 2006)
"Shobha is an extraordinary musical journey. One of Nova Scotia's brightest lights to appear on the music scene in some time, her unique blend of soul, R&B and urban pop rolls out with an unforgettable vibe that holds your attention and leaves you wanting more. Shobha's lyrics hit socially relevant cords. Her graceful stage presence, wit, and a truly distinct voice make her a singer-songwriter with star power that pours from every note."
- Clay Radcliffe, Director
The Music for Good Society
“As an artist, Shobha maintains a level of creativity that inspires those around her. I have always been a fan and I believe it’s time for her artistry and energy to shine. Get ready for a new favorite album!”
-Jill Paquette (2004 Juno award winner - Contemporary Christian/Gospel Recording of the Year)
"It was an honour to have Shobha be a part of the Club Soda Clothing Launch at Pacific Mall. Not only is she beautiful inside and out, she is a true
artistic soul that carries that integrity throughout her performance with every note she sings. Her unique voice is absolutely mesmerizing and she
managed to captivate the crowd from beginning to end - not an easy task for a mall performance. You would think a talent of this caliber would expect to
be catered to, but no diva here - she is as real as the music she writes and a true professional through and through. I have no doubts that her star will rise quickly and I would include her in more events in a heartbeat."
- Cindy Renee Mathieu, Sodaliscious / Club Soda Clothing
Toronto Indie Week 2006 Runner up (Urban/Soul/R&B Category)
Recipient of Emerging Music Business Program Grant in 2006 (Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture & Heritage)
2007 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Winner:
-Best R&B Soul song ("Always on Your Feet")
-Best R&B Soul female artist
-Best R&B Soul Album
Paragon Singer/Songwriting Competition (Toronto) - 2007 Winner (www.paragononline.ca)
2008 Regional (Toronto) WINNER of Canadian Radio Star Competition
2008 National WINNER of Canadian Radio Star Competition
2008 Toronto Independent Music Award Nominee
-Best Song ("Always on Your Feet")
-Best Live Act
2008 Toronto Independent Music Award WINNER
- Best Urban
2008 Music Nova Scotia Awards Nominee for Urban Artist/Group Recording and Pop/Rock Artist/Group Recording
FULL BAND - Toronto
Shobha (Leads Vocals/Accoustic Guitar)
ACCOUSTIC - Toronto
Shobha (Leads Vocals/Accoustic Guitar)
Doug Lee (Rhythm Guitar)
Nick Londono (Keyboard)
Reid Hendry (Percussion)
The Halifax Complex; Big Little City (2006): "Unattached," "Bad Investment," "Can't Deny"
The Music For Good Society Vol. 1 (2006): "Disaster"
Anokhi CompliAsian (2008): "Work In Progress"
Work in Progress: Debut album (2008) Graced with appearances by Eon Sinclair of Canada's Bedoin Soundclash, glam-rocker Sean Kelly of Crash Kelly (www.myspace.com/seankellyguitar) and legendary funk/soul/r&b drummer Shamakah(www.myspace.com/shamakah).
-"Always on Your Feet" - 104.5 (CHUM, Toronto), C100 (CHUM, Halifax), 95.3 (Virgin, Vancouver)
-"He Said, She Said" - 93.5 Flow FM (Toronto)
- "Always on Your Feet" and "Work in Progress" CBC Radio
- "Can't Deny," "Always On Your Feet" - CJLU 93.9 (Halifax)
- "Over For Me" CKDU 88.1 - (Halifax)
- "Tug of a War" MVY Radio; Local Music Cafe (www.mvyradio.com/local_musicafe)
Shobha Announced as Canadian Radio Star Winner For "Always On Your Feet" (www.cmw.net)
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March 25, 2008 Astral Media Radio proudly announces Shobha as the grand prize winner of Canadian ...March 25, 2008
Astral Media Radio proudly announces Shobha as the grand prize winner of Canadian Radio Star - the 15th Annual National Songwriting Competition. Representing Mix 99.9 FM, the Toronto native beat 11 other finalists with the song "Always On Your Feet" as chosen by a panel of industry experts and fans voting on-line. First runner-up was John Boswell, representing C98 from Saint John, NB, for the song “Believe”.
Sponsored by Astral Media Radio in association with participating radio stations and the Songwriters Association of Canada, the finalists performed their songs in front of a live audience Friday, March 7th at the Canadian Radio Star showcase, which took place at the Gladstone Hotel.
The grand prize included $10,000 in cash (first runner-up received $2,500); TASCAM 2488MKII Digital Portastudio; NEUMANN U87 Professional Studio Microphone; 30 hours of mixing and mastering time from METALWORKS, Canada's No. 1 Recording Studio; Complete Website Design, One Year Web Hosting & Customized Enhanced CD Package from J.E.T. MEDIA AND DESIGN; $5,000 National Radio Promotion Package from dB PROMOTIONS & PUBLICITY INC.
Both the Grand Prize Winner and the First Runner Up received one free Digital Radio Station Upload to any format of choice by RDR MUSIC GROUP in conjunction with DMDS.
Astral Media Radio, an Astral Media Property; Astral Media is a leading Canadian media company, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and iMedia. Astral Media’s solid and dynamic presence in the country’s major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences.
Canadian Music Week is Canada’s leading annual entertainment event dedicated to the expression and growth of the country’s music, media and entertainment industries. Combining two information-intensive conferences; a trade exposition; four awards shows and the nation's largest New Music Festival, CMW spans a four-day period from March 5 to March 8, 2008 at the Fairmont Royal York and various downtown Toronto venues, attracting participants from across the globe. For more information, visit www.cmw.net.
For media information, please contact:
Planet3 Communications Ltd. • Joanne Smale/Sarah Etherden
t: 647.346.4101, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Canadian Radio Star information, please contact:
Bessie Bullard – Communications Director
t: 905.858.4747, e: Bessie@cmw.net
Listening to her HEARTBEAT (The Statesman, India)
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April 2008 Listening to her HEARTBEAT Singers of Indian origin living in the West no longer need...April 2008
Listening to her HEARTBEAT
Singers of Indian origin living in the West no longer need to mix bhangra with hip hop to attract mainstream audiences, proves Shobha in Work In Progress. The singer refuses to be boxed into a category, writes Mathures Paul
Asians may be entering a bigger music market in the West, but they still have miles to go before calling the shots. The trend among most Indian artistes living on both sides of the Atlantic is to present music that’s influenced by the genres prevalent here ~ bhangra with hop hop, baul and jazz, etc. Taking the fight to Western artistes in genres made popular by them are a few musicians and one is the promising Shobha... Just Shobha and no surname to go with her music. Consider her Indian, American, Canadian... the choice is yours but surely her music is not bracketed by geographic proximity. Instead of being rooted in India, her music thrives on conviction and passion. For the Halifax-bred, Toronto-based singer/songwriter, music is just a medium to describe experiences. Born of Indian descent, her interest in musical “flavours” drew her to diverse sounds from Jamaica to the Bronx. Within her family, her father enjoyed writing poetry, directing plays and composing songs in languages native to India and her mother studied and taught Sanskrit. Her debut album, made successful by Dammien Alexander and Howard Beye of Live Village Records, captures the vision of who she is and will be. Her collaboration with award-winning Toronto/Los Angeles-based production team jACK has paid off.
“I wanted to represent myself honestly. Being my debut album, I wanted it to convey the passion behind my writing, the ‘relatability’ of my experiences and the significant yet subtle influences of my cultural background. I consider myself an acoustic based, singer/songwriter type who is very conscious about lyrics. But when you hear the album you will notice a big production with urban, pop and soul genres. I think the combination of thoughtful songwriting and a contemporary sound brings out the best in me.”
The album takes us on a journey of self-discovery and the understanding of others. The acoustic pop gem Always On Your Feet is a song about our constant struggle against temptations to do wrong. The haunting Letter To A Friend is not your typical break up song, but one about saying goodbye because you have to. On the other side of the spectrum is Old Clothes, born out of the concept that “some friends could be like a pair of jeans ~ you grow out of them. It is just a cheeky way of likening our wardrobe rejects to our relationship rejects”. Work In Progress sums up what to expect from Shobha in the near future ~ songs that linger a little longer than the last few.
“My Indian heritage has played a significant part in my music, however, it might not be easy to tell by listening to it. My music consists of Indian ‘flavours’ for sure, but mostly my heritage plays a role in my development as an artist. Growing up in Canada, my Indian culture was passed down through my mother, who was a teacher in India and my father, who composed Indian classical music. I remember listening to music my parents liked ~ Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi; and watching all the latest Bollywood movies (my childhood favourite was Silsila (because there was a character named Shobha in it). What stuck with me is the discipline that Indian singers/musicians possess to maintain their characteristic high quality of singing. They work hard to learn complex scales and rhythms. For me, this translated into working hard and learning how to use my voice. I took it seriously from the very beginning. There isn’t a large Indian population where I grew up, so it’s amazing that my parents were able to instil a solid foundation of our cultural values and beliefs. I truly embrace my heritage. It’s important to me and I do my best to incorporate it into my music without misrepresenting who I am.”
Her mother was born in Kasganj, Uttar Pardesh, and her father in Naushera, Punjab. Because of her grandfather’s services in the army, her father moved around a lot. In 1947 he moved to Rawalpindi and then to Calcutta (Fort William). He finally moved to Canada while stationed at Ludhiana in 1969. In 1978 her parents got married and her mother moved to Canada soon after.
“There were definitely many reasons for wanting to be a singer. For one, my older brother sang and played the guitar. I would sing with him just for fun and before we knew it we were being asked to sing at family functions, weddings and local events. When he moved away to college I realised how much I missed having a guitar around so I eventually saved up and bought one. I always enjoyed writing poems and stories and pretty soon this flair for writing spilled over and I started composing songs. It helped that I grew up in an environment that welcomed the arts. My school, church and family were all very supportive of my aspirations to sing. It was just natural to make singing a big part of my life. While living in Halifax, I was given many opportunities to perform and showcase my songs and my passion for music continued to grow. Pursuing music as a profession was an easy decision especially after feeling how great it is to impact people through songs. I just want to be able to do that on as large a scale as possible.
In the West, most promising Indian singers are categorised ‘desi’, a word that really doesn’t go down well most artistes who are trying to defy boundaries. “It’s true that being a musician in a diasporic context can be challenging, and even confusing. When people hear my name or see my face, they don’t expect me to sound like I do. Similarly, if they hear my music they don’t expect me to look like I do. It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it has actually been beneficial to me, being Indian and Canadian. For example, my music is able to reach different places and touch a large demographic of people and I have the option to fuse elements of Indian music with my own to create something unique. I’ve already been able to make waves in both realms, being interviewed on Canada’s most watched South Asian entertainment show Bollywood Boulevard on one hand, while winning the National Canadian Radio Star Songwriting Competition on the other. The amazing thing about Canada, particularly in Toronto where I currently live, is the cultural diversity. Some people like to call it a mosaic of cultures and some like to describe it as a melting pot. In terms of music, I think it’s more of a melting pot because there are a lot of artists blending styles from their different cultural backgrounds, which is becoming normal and is received well by everyone.”
The lyrics come from her experiences and she could write a song about anything. “Those are the songs that turn out the best, for it comes from my heart. I think part of the reason people connect with my songs is because I write about what I know and have lived, so it’s real. I enjoy sharing my experiences and feelings with others through music and hope to continue to reach people that have gone through the same emotions.
With festivals such as Toronto’s Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival or Desifest, the future looks bright for singers of Indian origin. Though the pressing of Work In Progress is complete, ready for release this spring, you can listen to the CD on iTunes. “Also, I have some remixes of my song called Letter To A Friend happening in the UK,” she rounds off.
Scarborough Resident Wins National Radio Contest (The Scarborough Mirror)
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BY DANIELLE MILLEY March 17, 2008 02:52 PM Singer/songwriter Shobha is on a winning streak. ...BY DANIELLE MILLEY
March 17, 2008 02:52 PM
Singer/songwriter Shobha is on a winning streak.
The Scarborough resident in no longer just the Toronto winner for the Canadian Radio Star contest - she's the national winner.
Shobha was named the winner after the showcase featuring all 11 regional finalists at the Drake Hotel in Toronto on March 8.
Having recently relocated from Halifax, the artist (who prefers to be identified as just Shobha) was confused at first as to who the winner was.
They said the songwriter of the year is Halifax's Shobha, she recounted days after the concert, but all she heard was Halifax and thought the winner was the regional winner from Nova Scotia.
"I totally didn't get it until every else reacted," she said, the news still not feeling entirely real to her. "All I could say was 'thank you' and "oh my gosh'."
The winning song, Always On Your Feet, was dropped off at the Toronto radio station sponsoring the contest just 15 minutes before the deadline.
"We got it in just in time and I'm glad we did," she said in a previous interview.
She describes her music as "pop with an edge." A mix of pop/soul/urban/acoustic.
As the grand prize winner $10,000, studio equipment, 30 hours of mixing and mastering time, a complete website design, one-year web hosting and customized enhanced CD package, $5,000 national radio promotion package and one free digital radio station upload to any format of choice by RDR MUSIC GROUP in conjunction with DMDS
"I don't know if it's totally sunk in," she said.
Shobha was planning a small tour for later this year, but now she can tie it to radio promotion of her song and go to more cities.
"(The win) helps me to do more that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise," she said.
Shobha Wins National Radio Star Contest (The Chronicle Herald, Halifax)
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Following her recent relocation to Toronto, Halifax-raised singer-songwriter Shobha’s single Always ...Following her recent relocation to Toronto, Halifax-raised singer-songwriter Shobha’s single Always On Your Feet earned her the title of Canadian Radio Star’s national singer/songwriter of the year at this year’s Canadian Music Week.
Working with Toronto/L.A. production team jACK, Shobha’s debut CD Work in Progress is a sophisticated and passionate mix of pop, R&B, soul and Jamaican grooves, displaying a range that branches out far beyond her East Indian roots.
The country’s biggest music festival, Canadian Music Week, wrapped up over the weekend with over 500 bands performing across Toronto. As part of the Canadian Radio Star competition, Shobha was crowned the winner out of 12 regional finalists.
For more information, go to www.shobha.ca and sample music from Work in Progress at http://profile.myspace.com/shobhamusic
Shobha, 'Work in Progress' (CD Review in The Coast, Halifax)
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Published February 28, 2008. Shobha Work in Progress (indie) Shobha (pronounced Show-BAH), a Hal...Published February 28, 2008.
Work in Progress
Shobha (pronounced Show-BAH), a Halifax native but Toronto-based singer-songwriter, just released her debut album, Work in Progress. Comparable to Nelly Furtado and Alicia Keys, Shobha’s style mixes urban, pop, jazz and ska sounds. For the first single on the album, “Always on Your Feet,” the artist won a regional (Toronto) award for the Canadian Radio Star National Songwriting Competition, which puts her in the running as finalist in the national round of the contest. The album’s 11 tracks lead listeners through a funky journey of self-discovery, one that flows together as a reflective, relatable story.
categories: Canadian artist
Local songwriter finalist in Canadian Radio Star contest (The Scarborough Mirror)
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BY DANIELLE MILLEY Singer/songwriter Shobha’s music might be hard to define, but it may soon be fa...BY DANIELLE MILLEY
Singer/songwriter Shobha’s music might be hard to define, but it may soon be familiar to a lot more people thanks to her being named the Toronto finalist for a Canadian Radio Star contest.
"It has to be described with a lot of slashes - pop/soul/urban/acoustic," she said of her music. "It’s like pop with an edge."
The Scarborough resident’s song Always On Your Feet was dropped off at a Toronto radio station just 15 minutes before the contest deadline.
"We got it in just in time and I’m glad we did," she said.
Shobha (she prefers to be identified as an artist by just one name) was in New York City doing some shows when she found out she’d made it to the finals in the national contest.
"One time I checked (my e-mail) and I had all these messages with people saying congratulations," she said. "I was really excited. It’s a big deal. It’s the first big thing that I’ve won."
For someone who has been singing since she was a little girl and writing songs and playing guitar since she was 16, the accolades confirm she’s on the right track and not crazy for pursuing her musical dreams.
Shobha, 26, is a transplanted East Coaster of Indian descent who moved to Toronto from Halifax. She stumbled upon the contest online while looking for funding for musicians.
"I thought, ’Hey, why not?’," she said.
The timing couldn’t be better. She has just completed her first album, Work in Progress, which is available on ITunes. She will be having an official Toronto CD release party in the spring.
When it comes to musical influences, Shobha said she likes musicians who tell good stories and have a way with words including John Mayer and India Arie.
"I love any music that moves me," she said. "Lyrics do it for me."
For her, the writing process can vary from song to song.
"I’ve had ideas I’ve been carrying since high school that I can finally get done now," she said.
While other times she’s inspired and puts pen to paper right away, which happened a week or so ago when she wrote a song on the subway on her way home from work.
Shobha and the 11 other regional finalist, who were picked by participating radio stations and public online voting, will play during Canadian Music Week at the Canadian Radio Star Showcase on March 7 at the Gladstone Hotel; the winner will be announced at the show. Public voting, which closes March 6, determines the winner. For more information or to vote, visit www.radiostar.ca. For more information on Shobha, visit www.myspace.com/shobhamusic.
Desi With a Voice (Ego the Mag, NYC)
Almost Famous, Nova Scotians to Watch (The Daily News, Halifax)
TYPICAL SET LIST
Always On Your Feet
Over for Me
Tug of a War
Letter to a Friend
Work in Progress
Can't See Straight
Over For Me
Tug Of A War
Can't See Straight
Letter to a Friend
Turn Your Lights Down Low (Bob Marley/Lauryn Hill)
Gimme One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
Fallin (Alicia Keys)
If I Aint Got You (Alicia Keys)
Make Me Wanna Holla'/Inner City Blues (Marvin Gaye)
Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
Ex-factor (Lauryn Hill)
Delicate (Damien Rice)
Blower's Daughter (Damien Rice)
Not Myself (John Mayer)
No One (Alicia Keys)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.