Eastern Eye (UK)
British singer Shama takes Bollywood fans back in time with 90s music show
BRITISH singer Shama is at her very best on stage in front of a live audience and regularly headlines sold-out shows.
She is teaming up with terrific music talents Chirag Rao, Joy Bhowmik and The 515 Crew for a Bollywood concert celebrating songs from the 1990s. The Back To The 90s show at Blue Room Sports Venue in Harrow, Middlesex on March 3, which includes a three-course meal, quickly sold out and adds to her impressive list of stage successes.
Eastern Eye caught up with Shama to talk about her live performances, music, and her hit 1990s-inspired Bollywood show.
How much does live performance mean to you?
Everything. Although I sing daily at home as part of my practise, having a live audience in front you, smiling, interacting, singing, and dancing to your songs is something else.
What has been your most memorable live performance?
Singing at Trafalgar Square to a crowd of 30,000 people. Being on that stage was a total buzz.
How do you feel being on stage? Happy, nervous, excited, and empowered, ever since I was a nine-year-old performing on national TV in Kenya with my own band of musical kids.
Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?
Absolutely. Anyone who says they never get nervous would be lying. To be honest, I used to treat it as a disability. It is only as I got older that I learned to embrace it because it’s a part of me. Strangely, it doesn’t bother me as much now that I have learned
to embrace it.
Can you tell us about your forthcoming event?
I’m excited to talk about the Back To The 90s tour with my band, The 515 Crew, celebrating the music of 90s Bollywood, an era which has nostalgic memories for so many, including me. Many of us grew up in the 90s, fell in love, and perhaps got married too. Hence songs from that era are weaved into our memories. The tour kicked off in Leicester on February 4 at Maher Centre and it will come to London at Blue Room Sports Venue, Harrow, on March 3. The London show sold out six weeks in advance, with the bulk of tickets selling out within 10 days.
Does your show selling out quickly put pressure on you?
On the contrary, getting such a fantastic response sets the tone for the show. It gives me a buzz to know that so many want to see us perform. I am grateful to our audiences for showing us so much love and support, and many have followed us for decades.
What is the experience of being on stage with The 515 Crew, Chirag Rao and Joy Bhowmik like?
It’s our 14th year together as a band and being on stage with them is always fun, unpredictable, spontaneous, and occasionally stressful too. (laughs) But seriously, I really love performing with these people.
What do you most love about 1990s music?
The 90s lyrics and melodies were a lot stronger than Bollywood music today, with the most beautiful songs being composed in this era. Even the occasional weaker musical arrangements withstood the test of time because of such beautiful compositions.
Which of the 1990s tracks do you most love singing?
Too many to mention. I probably have a top 100 list and am excited to be singing quite a lot of my favourites in the tour.
What are your future hopes for the show, and do you have plans to take it to other parts of the country as well? Absolutely. The audience’s love for 90s music has proved itself through the ticket sales. We would love to work with more organisers in UK and abroad, who are interested in bringing the show to their cities. If anyone is interested, please reach out to us. We want to share this nostalgic experience with as many people as we can.
What kind of music dominates your own playlist?
It all depends on my mood. I can go from complete silence with no music, to ghazals, to English or Bollywood classics or songs in languages that I don’t even understand. The one thing I never actually listen to is Bollywood dance tracks. I prefer to sing them on stage instead.
‘It’s our 14th year together’
What does music mean to you today?
Everything. Music not only allows me to communicate in the most powerful way with people but also have a connection to the almighty. It’s also taught me humility, respect, acceptance, love, gratitude, creativity, appreciation, maturity, and tolerance in a world where we need it so much. It’s taught me to get to know myself and grow not just as an artist, but as a person too.