Ever wondered which non-Bollywood track would be ruling the airwaves this summer? Perhaps one should look Avina Shah’s way. The talented British Asian singer’s new single, ‘Dil Deewana’ releases today and is tipped to be the tune to be on everyone’s lips in the summer months. Shah first came onto the British Asian music scene in October 2010 when her debut single, ‘Tere Bina’ wowed music lovers. However, the lady’s talents don’t end there. With a flourishing beauty career complimenting her musical flair, this is one woman whose creativity speaks for itself. I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with Shah on the eve of the release of ‘Dil Deewana’. Read on to find out more about this wonderful British Asian singer who is all set to impress the audiences all over again…
Tell me a little about your family/musical background.
I come from a very musical family, who have always supported my music and encouraged me to pursue this field. I started very young – I even have pictures of me playing the keyboard before my first birthday! My first stage performance was a dance I did when I was 3 (although that didn’t quite go to plan because I decided to run off stage half-way through!). I’ve taken part in many stage shows throughout my childhood & teens and it’s helped me to build up experience and stage confidence over all the years.
Did you always want to become a singer?
I actually started out as a dancer before I decided to pursue singing. My elder sister is a professional singer, so she was the one who got me into it. I’ve been singing professionally since I was 16 and the last few years have taken me all over the world performing with the group Eastern Illusion, which has been a great experience and made me realise just how much I’d like to take it even further.
You are also a beautician. How do you manage two careers so successfully?
My weekends in particular are so busy, it’s just go go go and no time to stop! My manager keeps my diary super organised so that helps a lot, although I do wish there were more hours in the day! But the passion & love for what I do is what keeps me going, as well as the amazing support from everyone.
What/who is your inspiration for your music?
I’m inspired by anyone or anything I see and hear around me. It could be something as simple as a conversation I have with somebody or a TV program. I also like to draw upon subjects that people can relate to. I’m inspired by so many artists within the mainstream music industry, as well as Bollywood and Indian classical artists.
Your debut single, ‘Tere Bina’, was a very hard-hitting topic. Can you share any inspirational stories about it?
‘Tere Bina’ was inspired from the story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia after I watched the movie Provoked starring Aishwarya Rai. I recently read the book as well, which was incredibly moving and had me in tears. I also came across so many other stories about people who had suffered domestic violence and this is what inspired me to create ‘Tere Bina’. The proceeds from this single will be going to a charity called the Southall Black Sisters and I chose them as I really admired their hard work and dedication in Kiranjit’s case.
What made you want to tackle a social subject with your first offering?
I believe that music can help spread messages and has the power to make a difference, even if it’s in the smallest way. And that was always my main inspiration for doing music and launching myself as an artist. I hoped ‘Tere Bina’ would empower listeners who were going through similar problems or simply trying to move on from a bad relationship. I wanted the song to also raise awareness of how common domestic violence is and that there is always help out there.
‘Dil Deewana’ is a stark contrast to your debut, ‘Tere Bina’. Was it a conscious choice to make it different?
I’ve promised everyone that each single I release will be different and show a new side of my personality! I like surprising people & adding a twist on things, so I want to bring that out in my music. You’ll certainly get to know me more with time!
What are your personal hopes for ‘Dil Deewana’?
To get everyone in the party mood, and ‘dance like no-one’s watching’!
The video of ‘Dil Deewana’ comes across as very fresh and eye-catching. Did you have a particular concept in mind for it?
‘Dil Deewana’ is a very girly video and we’ve been quite adventurous and done 6 different image changes in total! I’m quite visually creative, which is what comes as part of being a makeup artist aswell, so I like to play around with image and try new things every time. I was looking forward to bringing out the dancer in me, so we decided to do a choreography based video to try and get the audience moving at the same time!
Do you have any funny stories to share when you were shooting for the video?
Apart from the fact that my body was about to collapse at the end of each take, it was generally a very smooth running shoot! I had rehearsed a bit too much that week, so my muscles were super sore and it was incredibly hard to do the moves…but I tried my very best to keep up!
What is next for you?
As I said earlier, I’ve always believed that music can help spread messages and touch people in a very special way, so I plan on bringing out some more meaningful songs with a message behind them. I would also like to support other charitable causes too and help make a difference. Things have taken off very well so far and there are quite a few performances coming up that I’m looking forward to. I just found out yesterday that I’ll be performing in The Netherlands alongside Shahrukh Khan, Kumar Sanu and a few other Bollywood artists so I guess the future’s looking bright!
Are there any artistes you would love to work with?
There are so many artists that I love and admire and so many whom I would love the opportunity to work with. If it could be anybody, I would love to collaborate with a mainstream artist like Usher or Beyonce and create a crazy track with a totally new flavour! There are talks of a few future collaborations, but I’d want to keep it as a surprise!
Do you have any advice for those wanting to become singers like yourself?
The best thing I could advise is:- go for it, don’t give up, be prepared to work very hard and always stay grounded.
“Be true to your heart in everything you do… & the world won’t be able to take its eyes off of you.”
Well it seems this lady’s humility is yet another thing that makes her unique. ‘Dil Deewana’ releases today. Check out a sneak peak in to the making of the song video:
The BollySpice team wishes the singer much success with her new single and we are confident her name will be one we see more of in the coming years.