The boy from Miami
Catching up with Shiv Sharan, a 19-year-old rapper, ahead of his Pune performance
Meet Shiv Sharan: a 19-year-old Indian rapper based out of Miami, who already has over two lakh plays of his music on Soundcloud and even more on his Facebook page. He’s worked over a hundred tracks and collaborated with Ian Koren, a music engineer from Berklee College of Music, to record the song titled Boy From The East, which soon became synonymous with his name after gaining popularity on social media platforms.
“Ian was working at a studio as a sound engineer where I was trying to crack a deal with the manager who was asking for too much money, so the deal never went through and I just continued making music at home. A year later, he contacted me and told me that he now had his own studio and that he was willing to work with me because he thought that I had the potential to become something. Ian had a lot of experience in the hip-hop from working in several studios in America, and we were sure that we could grab the Asian hip-hop scene by the neck and completely transform it. He became my go-to producer and we’ve now recorded over 15 songs together,” says Shiv, who will be performing in the city for the first time on the December 31 at AllRounder Shots, Phoenix Marketcity.
About the ‘Boy from the East’
In the track that got him a lot of attention, Boy From The East, Shiv expresses the angst about not being taken seriously as a hip-hop artist due to his origin. “People will never take anybody seriously if they’re all talk and have nothing to show for it. When I had initially started releasing songs from my bedroom, everyone doubted that I was someone who was capable of becoming a rapper. They laughed and told me that I’m not even from America and that I haven’t been through any hardships, and that I would have to have struggled to become a rapper,” says Shiv. He shares that he was one of the firsts to see the landscape of hip-hop shifting which gave way to new genres such as trap, dancehall, RnB, and autotune.
Though the artist has received several offers from record labels, he prefers to remain unsigned. “I’ve read up a lot about artists who regret signing to a label because of loss of creativity, loss of master recordings, and the inability to keep track of their own money. I started making music because I want to say anything I desire without someone else trying to limit my emotions, and signing up with a label would do just that,” says Shiv, who knows that his journey will be much tougher as an independent artist. “Right now I’m doing everything myself — recording, promoting, and marketing. I have plans to sign up with a social media/PR company, but I do not want to give away any of my musical ownership and creativity,” he says.
Getting into hip-hop
Shiv was introduced to hip-hop by his elder brother. “When he was 13 years old, jamming out to Eminem on the way to school, I was only six years old listening along. I asked for an MP3 player when I was seven and loaded it up with every Eminem song I knew. I played it on repeat for two years,” he says, adding, “Eminem is a legendary artist who has mastered the art of hip-hop: he can make you cry, laugh, rage, and even relax to his music. It was there that I realised and understood the power of lyricism at such a tender age, and I knew that I wanted to play a role in the future of hip-hop.”
He claims to have learnt everything on his own. “I got a USB microphone when I was 15 and spent hours on YouTube figuring out how to use the recording software and honing my mixing skills,” he says.
Shiv believes in mixing new-school vibes and old school lyrics. “As time goes on, there is a criticism of the newer forms of hip-hop losing the lyricism and artistry that the genre once had. No more are artists speaking about real-life struggles and issues, and now it’s more about ‘flexing’ and showing how much money one has. I want to mix the incredible new-age trap productions with real-life conflicts so people can relate to me but also enjoy the song sonically,” he describes.
With 10 songs ready to release, Shiv has his hands full. “All the songs belong to different genres. I want to be known for versatility, and I think my fans will really appreciate that because they’re going to get something new from me every time,” he says, adding, “Year 2018 is mine. I plan to keep releasing singles and videos until I gain enough traction to release an album. I’ve already figured out my strategy, and if I keep my head down and keep working I’m sure that the fruits of my labor will be sweet.”
ST Reader Service
Shiv will be performing at AllRounder Shots, Phoenix Marketcity on December 31, 8 pm onwards