Praveen Yadav | Nov 14, 2021 | 0
Shubham Semwal a.k.a. Sémwal – a Singer-Songwriter from the Dehradun
Shubham Semwal a.k.a. Sémwal is a Singer-Songwriter from the Dehradun currently based in Chandigarh. A self-taught guitarist/producer, he started writing songs and making YouTube covers in 2016. Hailing from an Army background, he has spent his entire life shifting from one city to the other across India. He grew up listening to his father’s prized cassette collection of artists like Michael Jackson, ABBA, Bee Gees, Boney M. etc. He fondly remembers how a chance encounter with a piano teacher in Kolkata (circa 2002) led to the beginning of his journey in music. He credits all the various cities and cultures he’s been exposed to for the diversity in his music and production.
Although being a musician since childhood, the songwriting path chose him after college while he was going through a difficult phase in his life. He turned to songwriting as a way to express himself. Picking up the electric guitar for the first time in 2019, he quit his job as a data analyst to pursue his lifelong dream of being a performing musician and began work on his debut EP – Elephant in the Room (for which he successfully raised money through Wishberry in a record time of 6 hours). Citing John Mayer, Tom Misch and Charlie Puth as his biggest influences, his original music is an amalgamation of Neo Soul, R&B and Pop. He released his first single Through These Years from the EP in November 2020 in collaboration with his younger brother Sparsh Dangwal. The song has amassed 25k streams on Spotify till now and currently featured on Radar India.
Here is Shubham Semwal in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your journey as a musician begin?
I’ve been a musician from childhood since my mother is a Hindustani classical singer. I started learning piano when I was 8yrs old while my dad was posted in Kolkata. Since then music was a constant part of my life, it was only after college that I started songwriting and finally decided to take the plunge to become a full-time musician.
2) Which was your first song?
I released my debut Single “Through These Years” in Nov 2020 in collaboration with my younger brother Sparsh Dangwal.
3) Hailing from an Army background, how used to be your childhood?
My childhood was a lot of time spent close to nature living in isolated military bases. Back then, music was one of the only source of entertainment for me. So playing and listening to music is pretty much what I used to do with all my time. I remember when my dad got me my first Roland Keyboard in 2002, I would literally spend hours every day exploring what every button did or what every beat or patch on the synthesiser sounded like.
4) Who has been your inspiration?
My biggest source of inspiration as a singer-songwriter has been John Mayer. My approach towards music changed completely after I started listening to him. In the recent musicians, I’m highly influenced by Tom Misch and Jacob Collier. Listening and transcribing their music has made me a better music producer and composer.
5) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself amongst the most respected Indian Musicians. I see myself taking English music from India to a global stage.
6) Which has been your most memorable performance?
My most memorable performance was at Horn OK Please Music Fest in JLN Stadium, New Delhi. It’s one of the biggest and most appreciative crowds I’ve played for. They completely grooved to all the English music I was playing. I was completely taken by surprise when they all came backstage to take photographs with me after the show. I had seriously not expected something like that. Experienced the “star” feeling for the first time in my life.
7) Tell us about your latest track.
My latest track, “Tishnagi” is my first Hindi release. The song talks about that feeling of desire/thirst within you when you’ve fallen crazily in love with someone.
8) Which is your most preferred genre?
I’m trying to not box myself into genres. I have tried to make my debut album as diverse as possible. The 5 originals I have released till now have all been from different genres. I will say though that I have an inclination towards Jazz, R&B and Neo-Soul.
9) How was life in quarantine?
Life in quarantine was pretty great actually. For the first time in my life, I could concentrate on my songwriting. I completed a bunch of songs and got down to producing them. Since then, I’ve been regularly releasing my original music.
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