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I can express more: Shirley Setia

I can express more: Shirley Setia – Pyjama Popstar Shirley Setia dropped a cover of Jab Koi Baat from Jurm (1990) with Atif Aslam and DJ Chetas last week. “This is the first time I collaborated with both of them and it was great,” Shirley says about the song shot in Dubai where the trio gives a surprise performance at a wedding. The young singer talks about making her hobby a career and why artistes should make covers and mashups even if they are criticised by a segment of people.


Jab Koi Baat is Shirley’s only second cover in a year, after the rendition of Bol Do Na Zara (Azhar). “I decided to move on and do more originals as I give a part of me to the song and I can express more. My single Koi Shor was emotional and I am like that. Tu Mil Gaya is about being spontaneous. I tend to over-think things. The song is a reminder for me to go with the flow and if I really want to do something, then I should do it,” she explains, informing that she has four odd original songs in the pipeline.


The 22-year-old Indo-Kiwi singer believes that the best things come from being spontaneous. “One of the most spontaneous decisions I made was to enter the contest and upload a video (Tum Hi Ho from Aashiqui 2) on YouTube at 1 am in my pyjamas. If I had thought about what people would think and if they would comment or not, I wouldn’t be here,” Shirley says. Till then, music was just a getaway from the stress of studies, as she found it therapeutic. Since her move to India in 2016, it has been a roller-coaster ride for her. “I didn’t have a lot of time to ease into things. I formed the band and we were doing a crazy number of shows and trying to work on originals while I tried settling into a new place,” she says.


The award-winning singer has had two Bollywood songs so far, including Disco Disco in A Gentleman. She didn’t expect all of this to happen so quickly. “It didn’t happen just because of luck. My team and I have worked nonstop for days and nights. I’m quite persistent and being at the right place at the right time has also helped me,” says the songstress, whose favourite social media sensations are Superwoman (Lilly Singh), LA musician Kurt Hugo Schneider with whom she has done the Ultimate Bollywood Mashup and Justin Bieber Mashup with, and Sanam (Kuch Na Kaho). Priyanka Chopra is another favourite musician. “She is taking India a notch up globally and is an inspiration,” she says.


Many purists look down upon mashups and covers. What’s Shirley’s take on that? “In covers, you try to recreate songs that people still love and will appeal to them. It takes a lot of time and creativity. If artistes want to do them, they should, irrespective of whether others are doing it or not,” she reasons. For her, being herself whether on or off camera is the key. “If you try to be someone else, it may work initially but over time, you lose individuality,” she signs off.

I can express more: Shirley Setia

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