“you don’t pay my bills honey so I’m not listening to ya”
4th October 2018
“The thing is back home they knew me as a Musician first, so a lot of them were really pissed off I wasn’t singing again, so they were like when are you going to sing? I was always accepted for doing both acting and singing back home, touch wood. The amazing thing about London is, except for maybe the Indians here, no one knows who I am. I am just some random brown girl who can sing in English, and it’s so fun to know that.” Shruti Haasan
Great energy, talent and a real fun vibe will always make me love you. Que Shruti Haasan an acclaimed and successful Musician and Actor from India. She has worked her butt off to now be in a position where she can truly focus on her passion which is making music while being in the fortunate position to have millions of adoring fans support her every step.
“It’s a worldly creation that I became an actor completely by accident. Someone was kind of like, do you want to do this movie, and I was like great, I could use the money to get music equipment. So that’s how it started. And I have to say today, I can’t imagine my life without movies and the experience of being an Actor contributed to writing my music and expressing myself in a way that I probably would have done if I were not an actor.”
Shurti oozes confidence, sass ( need to use that word more) and humility. She has spent over a decade on the big screen starring in over thirty Bollywood movies. I know there can be snobbery, a lack of understanding and appreciation from the mainstream film world when it comes to Bollywood …..BUT… and this is a big but do you understand how hard these actors and filmmakers work to churn out so many films a year and how much support plus love they receive in their home countries?
I have a lot of respect for all creatives and the fact Shruti is incredibly successful at home but has this passion for sharing her music to a wider audience and potentially go up against pre-conceived notions of who she is and what she represents makes me want to see her win even more. Plus she is literally starting from the bottom in a new music market, so that is super humbling and says a lot about how much it must be truly a passion project.
“I’ve been singing in English since I was a kid, accept for training in Indian classical music, and singing in movies, I have never, accept for maybe one or two composers listened to Bollywood music. Which I shouldn’t say, but I haven’t heard like a lot of my own movies albums either, unless I really like it.
“I love Metal music, I am inspired by the honesty, and a lot of people misconstrue it as aggression. I find that music is very powerful and technical and I seek a lot of influence from the technicality of metal.
“Two of my favourite artists are Trent Reznor and Tori Amos and that coupled with my Indian classical training has come out with a very weird scrambled egg. But, it’s got a lot of influences, I would say it’s nearer to pop rock than classical.”
She currently lives between India and the U.K although I think the U.S is also a huge part of her life right now. Recording, writing and performing is her mission at the moment while connecting with awesome Producers and Musicians she can collab with.
“I’ve kind of put together my EP. The thing is I’ve been writing music since I was 19 properly and I made an EP then, but that was like a secret EP, for me you know? And I got back to India and there was no scope for anything I had studied, like music production or song writing in English. I mean there is an industry, but it’s very hard, you’re very broke. It was always inside of me, but I decided to be able to do the kind of music I wanted and to fund my own career, but I needed to kind of keep holding back until the timing was right. There was another thing I felt was that I wanted to have enough experience for myself, just as a human being.”
We caught up in London at The Ned Hotel ahead of her debut show. She looked every inch a total star, glam, glam glam with tons of charm. Also surprising to me she gave off no nerves instead excitement and an urgency to get her music out.
“Panicking, always panicking in different unique ways. But definitely panicking. I started 6 years ago. My first performance was to like 80 thousand people. But after I finished everyone was like, oh my god you’re so good. And I was like, oh, I should be doing this.”
I found her smart, funny, stunning and very focused. Also no big entourage, a few friends, PR peeps ( shouts to Tom) and her devoted British boy-friend fan-boying side of stage. I asked her playfully if being in love meant it was harder to write deep meaningful songs as most artists say their best work is written when they are nursing a broken heart.
“I think I’m over that phase, and I’m over those songs as well because I was one of those people, panicking being in a happy place, because I was like, shit, what am I going to write about now, being happy? It was a very personal journey with my own demons and overcoming certain things and to accept the fact that you don’t need heartbreak to feel a questioning of life and all its great mysteries.
“I think it’s important for people to be positive, sunshine, all of that’s fine but I think the most important message is to know that you can’t be happy and selfie perfect all the time, it’s not real.”
Shruti has always been under the glare of the press at home and fans obsessing over her every move online. Yet she has managed to for the most part keep her love life private with new man British actor Michael Corsale.
“Yeah, you know prior to this erm situation haha. I was quite a lone wolf if that makes sense. I was very comfortable, going back to myself knowing yeah, yeah of course ultimately it’s just me and my story. But I met someone who I was really really good friends first, it’s so much fun and it has made everything so much easier and better and it’s made me look at life in a completely different way. I think I’m more accepting of myself and my vulnerabilities as a woman, I’m a bit more mature now.”
On stage she commands the room, playing songs that have catchy hooks and well written relatable verses. She is not a puppet instead a woman in total control. The confidence and experience has moulded her into a very determined kickass performer. The music sounds like it could be on radio right now and her performance worthy of a full tour. I feel like the only obstacle Shruti has is her own ambition. I know that sounds like a strange thing to say right?… But hear me out, she is currently a highly in demand actress at home in India also has aspirations much like Priyanka Chopra to delve into Hollywood. Will she have enough time and energy to fully dedicate time to her music too ??
“Priyanka has done amazing things on a global level, I have so much respect for her. It’s also been about sacrificing the career at the level it was at in India for me and I’m okay with it. It’s a choice I made. I stepped back from everything for a year to reassess. You have to clear some things out to make way for new things. I have opportunities in the U.S which I’m looking forward to pursuing in acting …
For me though it’s not about Bollywood, it’s about going back to the girl at the back of the class, who felt really weird listening to Nirvana and Iron Maiden, because everyone else was listening to Boyzone. I felt really out of place, and it’s really a tribute to myself this music.”
That’s where the ambition side can sometimes be overwhelming and pull you in so many directions. Having said that we are living in a time now where you can do multiple different things successfully. Guess you just need a great plan, good people oh and a great therapist lol!
“I love good advice, but I also say, you don’t pay my bills honey so I’m not listening to ya. Apart from that as an artist you always have to be humble. We are all under the blessings of God as long as we value that, the minute you think that you can mess with that equation and the equilibrium you’re going to get a kick and I love starting again and again and reinventing myself. I really really love it.”
Watch this space, Shruti has so much talent as a Singer/Songwriter. I chatted with M.I.A recently and she spoke about the lack of brown faces in mainstream culture especially music let’s give Shruti a seat on the table she deserves it.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.