SHOHINI SENGUPTA is a Singapore-based singer-songwriter who came here from India four years ago. Having started singing at age four, Shohini’s recent release of her debut single “Day Before A Monday” sees her come full circle in her music career. We chatted with her about her passion for music – and finding time for singing in Singapore with a busy job at Google.
Does your Indian background influence the music you make?
Absolutely! I grew up learning Rabindra Sangeet. It’s a semi-classical style of music from Bengal which is all about evoking emotions through lyrical poetry. Although my music is more Western-style and in English, I enjoy having a similar kind of movement in the melodies I write, especially blending Eastern and Western styles together. My songwriting is also lyric-driven. I usually start with the story or emotion I want to share and then write the melody.
Where do you record your music in Singapore?
I recorded the vocals for my original song “Day Before A Monday” at 3dB Productions in Chinatown and The Music Parlour at Owen Road. I had a great experience singing in both studios in Singapore! I also have a home studio setup, which I use for recording demos, covers and fun stuff for my office.
Tell us more about “Day Before A Monday”, your first Spotify release.
The song was born from an attempt at creating some uplifting music from time spent in lockdown in Singapore, far away from loved ones. I wrote the lyrics just when we were heading into the Circuit Breaker. At that time, every single day before a Monday was blurring into the next, with stress and worry, and a need to make sense of the sudden upheaval in our lives. I wanted to find a way to force myself to stay hopeful and remind myself to make the most of everything I’m grateful for in the present. It’s funny how two years down, this still feels relevant!
Who are your top three musical influences?
It’s hard to pin down three but I’ll try! I’m a huge fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury. I performed “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my Google bandmates at an event three years ago and it was a magical musical memory! I adore Lady Gaga for how unapologetically experimental and versatile she is. And, among more contemporary acts, I love the modern retro vibe of Silk Sonic and their album An Evening With Silk Sonic.
Juggling a full-time job at Google and a music career sounds challenging. How do you make time for singing in Singapore?
It definitely means less time to watch Netflix! Jokes aside, I’ve learnt to be extremely intentional about managing my energy. I carve out an hour every day for music no matter how busy work gets. Also, this might sound funny coming from a creative person, but I rely a lot on productivity apps. I’ve made my peace knowing that it helps me get more out of my day, even if it’s less spontaneous than I’d like. Finally, I’m one of those souls who equally favour their left and right brains. I used to feel very conflicted thinking I’d always have to choose one over the other. Over the years, I’ve learnt to appreciate the way the two sides crosspollinate ideas and help me show up better as a whole person. This is my “why” behind making the effort to juggle and nurture both my job at Google and my music career equally; it’s what makes the journey worthwhile!
“Day Before A Monday” is out on Spotify and Apple Music, and Shohini’s second single, “I’ll Never Ask You To Stay”, is due for a November release. Find out more at facebook.com/shotunes and beacons.ai/shohini.
This article first appeared in the October 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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