Bringing laurels to India and her hometown Meerut in the field of music, singer Shreya Sharma performed in the finals of Voice of Astana, an international contest for variety performers in Kazakhstan, last week. Shreya’s performance won the hearts of the international audience on the foreign land as she chose to sing in the local Kazakh language in one of the rounds.
The Voice of Astana was organised by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the capital city of Astana on June 15-16. The international contest for pop singers of the age group of 18-35 years saw 500 performers participating from about 20 countries, including Kazakhstan.
The other participants were from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Britain, USA, Italy, Bulgaria, Estonia, China, India, Mongolia, Turkey and Israel.
Shreya Sharma, who is from Meerut, is a singer, performer and “occasional writer”, according to her Facebook page.
While her parents are based in Meerut, Shreya currently lives in Mumbai to pursue her dreams to build a career in music.
Representing India at the contest, Shreya performed on a song, “Astana Kesi…” in the local language.
“I took the challenge of singing a Kazakh song about Astana (we were allowed to sing a song about Astana in any language) as I wanted to pay respect to the thoughts and emotions that were experienced while making the song and stay authentic,” Shreya told The Statesman shortly after her return to India on Sunday night.
Shreya sang a Kazakh song in the semifinal, which confirmed her berth in the finals. The performance of an Indian girl in Kazhak language attracted the local media too as many had questions for her at the press conference.
While she was “overwhelmed by the love of the audience in Astana”, Shreya said it was not easy to perform in their language. “Kazakh has complex rhythmic patterns and often a lot of key changes so her ear training was pushed,” she said.
In the final, Shreya scored 60 out of 66 marks while the winning score was 64 /66. In the final, she sang an Opera-style original song that had been composed by Debarpito Saha. Her song received wide appreciation and applause though could not win her a title, her elder sister Yasha said, adding that her achievement was great considering that the fact that she was the only participant without a producer or a sponsor.
“The whole experience was good and I enjoyed interacting with other contestants like Bao Lin from China and Serap from Turkey. I got to meet some amazing women who have had such a fabulous musical journey,” Shreya said, adding that she was proud to have represented her country at an international level.
The parents of this young singer are also elated. “I am proud of Shreya who represented her country at an international platform of such a huge scale and excelled there,” said Dr Mridula Sharma, her mother who is currently in the US.
Shreya is the younger of the two daughters of Dr Mridula, a professor in psychology, and Dr Malay Sharma, a well known doctor in Meerut. Dr Sharma is confident that his daughter would make it big in the music industry soon.
“It is a great feeling of nationalism when someone represents your country at any international platform, and this time the honour is mine that this one is my daughter, who not only was the only Indian flag holder in the competition but also performed well,” said Dr Malay Sharma.
Shreya is a trained opera and musical theatre singer. She has a Bachelor’s degree with concentration in musical theatre and opera from the United States. She is also trained in Indian classical music under the tutelage of Ustad Iqbal Ahmed khan, Rupan Sarkar, Rupi Mahindroo, Dr Sunita Saxena, and Sulochana Brahaspati. She also mentioned her music teacher from school, “Mrs Chatterjee”, from whom she got her initial lessons.
Shreya can sing in French, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, English and Hindi. She is now working hard to make a career in Indian music industry, and has already released some of her singing videos on YouTube.
Shreya has recorded two singles that are yet to be released and has been working on jingles. She has also sung background vocals for Phillauri and another Marathi film and record scratches for music directors.