I want Lankan music to go global – Shameel | Sunday Observer

I want Lankan music to go global – Shameel

10 October, 2021

Sri Lankan musician and cover artiste Shameel J has captured audiences with his mesmerising cover renditions of A.R.Rahman and other songs.

He has won several accolades for his work, as he progresses he wants to create good music and strives for Lankan talent to be internationally recognised and performed at various music festivals.

Shameel talks to Youth Observer about music, Lankan Tamil musicians and wanting to achieve more.

Q: From your music, we gather that you are a A.R.Rahman’s fan?

A: I grew up listening to A.R.Rahman’s songs. When everyone was enjoying his music, I was engaged in a never-ending attempt to figure out how to bring the musical content to my small keyboard, desk, window bars, curtains and other items. His music has always influenced me in my songs.

Q: What inspires your music?

A: I could say the songs of Michael Jackson and A.R.Rahman had a direct influence on my music. They both had a unique approach in bringing novelty to their music and A.R.Rahman is still continuing to do that. The song PudhuVellaiMazhai which was featured in the movie Roja was a revolution in the music industry. The bassline in MJ’s Billie Jean song and the hook line of that song always excited me. When I listen to the first song I composed when I was ten, it is obvious that I still sing following the MJ style.

Q: Your songs are unique, yet not receiving recognition, your thoughts?

A: First of all, I’m very happy when you say my songs are unique. The previous answer was my understanding of ‘uniqueness’. The ‘Lyrics’ and the ‘Voice’ give life to a song. A song could be a failure when one is good and the other is not. Moreover, the lines should not only be suitable to fill the melody but also must match the type of the melody and the variations in it. I always focus on the matters stated above when I compose my music, and that is the secret of my music being unique.

Nevertheless, our Tamil music industry has not seen proper growth. The Tamil music industry, which was the livelihood of the Tamil musicians, came to a standstill when the battle against terrorism started in Sri Lanka. Radios are broadcasting only South Indian Tamil songs and they are failing to broadcast and deny broadcasting our songs. It is a good thing that now social media is becoming very popular, where the dependability on the local Radio stations is not so high. However, shouldn’t it be our right to receive the priority for our creations?

Q: Your thoughts on the recent success of Yohani?

A: It’s a proud moment for all Sri Lankans. The great thing is that the world is looking at us. This has raised the hope that Sri Lankan songs will gain global recognition. I hope international music labels and companies will join hands with Sri Lankan artistes. Congratulations to Yohani on behalf of all Sri Lankan Tamil musicians.

Q: Korean music and movies are gaining much popularity, what does the Lankan entertainment industry need to do to gain the same popularity?

A: When it comes to K-POP, they have been training for years to do just that. Starting from dance and song training to appearances, I see the activities being carried out there aiming to enhance their music culture to a world-class standard.

However, there are many talented and qualified artistes here in Sri Lanka, and changes are taking place. It is also a happy occurrence that I am currently working on films with some of the biggest music labels and famous musicians in India. Details about this will be released very soon. We will continue to work with the hope that change will take place and success will follow.

Q: What would you like to achieve in your musical journey?

A: I was introduced to the music industry with the song KanavinKaruvil in Tamil and the song Medium Vesse SeethalaUthaye in Sinhala. Being awarded for the Best Radio Station Jingles out of all three languages at the ‘RejiKhandappa Awards’ is a memorable moment to cherish. I am probably the only recipient of many State Music Awards and State Radio Awards in Sri Lanka. Though I have won 11 State Music Awards (in all categories such as Lyrics, Music and Voice), two Presidential Awards, four State Radio Awards, one State Television Award and a few international awards, I’m more pleased with the fact that my fellow artistes who have worked with me on each of these occasions have also been nominated for awards / won awards. In the Sri Lankan Tamil music industry, I find as many talented people as I can and contribute as much as I can into their lives. After me, a Tamil community with a livelihood of music should be formed in Sri Lanka and spread its fame all over the world. I will do this work until I have my last breath. This is my expectation, and I would consider that event as an achievement.