Written by Daniel Stad
“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 in East Indian, grace.
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