The internet has opened the floodgates for independent musicians and global artists like "Gangnam Style" singer Psy, says Indo-Canadian independent singer Shweta Subram, who feels it has now become easier to take music beyond one's own region.
"The independent music scene has nose-dived in India and music labels aren't pushing out independent music the way they were in the late 1990s. However, the Internet has opened up opportunities and this has worked wonders for many artists," Shweta told IANS in an e-mail interview from Toronto where she is based out currently.
"Now anyone can put their music out there and become famous. The most recent example that I can think of is 'Gangnam Style' by Psy," said the singer who doesn't want to reveal her age.
Born and brought up in Dubai, Shweta also got her training in music in Dubai before moving to Toronto.
She has two singles - "Jee le live life" and "Ajooba" - to her credit. In the last two years, she also managed to collaborate with Indian composers like Salim-Sulaiman, Shankar Tucker and Pravin Mani.
"I was contacted by Salim-Sulaiman to perform with them at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Rocks event in Toronto in 2011. Shankar Tucker also reached out to me and we collaborated on 'Mere saajan sun sun'. Following my performance at IIFA, Pravin Mani expressed his interest to work with me for the song 'Piya', which will be released soon," she said.
A romantic number, "Piya", is a result of a friendly Skype conference between Pravin, Shweta, and playback singer Karthik. An urbanised world-fusion song, it incorporates smooth classical singing with drums and bass grooves.
Shweta, who wants to sing for Bollywood films, will always remain an independent artist at heart.
"Singing for Bollywood or other film industries does not mean I can't pursue my career as an independent artist. I would be excited to work on film projects, as it has always been my dream to be a playback singer. At the same time, being an independent artist allows me to experiment with my own work", she added.
Asked why she couldn't find a strong foothold despite being part of television shows such as "Voice of India" (VOI) and "Sunsilk Gang of Girls", Shweta said: "I featured only in one episode of 'VOI' and then I chose to exit the show because of the backstage drama and politics. However, VOI helped me get picked for 'Sunsilk Gang of Girls', but soon after the show I returned to Canada, when ideally I should've stayed back and capitalised on the opportunities."
Do you feel TV music shows help aspiring singers?
"I haven't heard of many that have found a major foothold in the playback scene. However, there are lots of reality shows out there, and there is some phenomenal talent coming out of these shows. The contestants definitely get an exposure and become household names," said Shweta.
As an artist, she believes in pushing her creative limits.
"I enjoy writing and producing my own tracks as it poses new challenges and pushes me as an artist. I am also critical of the songs I write. When I write a song, I go through about five to six drafts of each part of the song," added Shweta, who is a commerce graduate.
She believes a complete singer should have a "good voice, needs to be highly confident to perform at shows and if he or she can play an instrument, it is an added advantage".