BORN TO SING
Shashika is born a natural singer. She embarked on Hindustani classical training only after completing her university education but she loves to experiment with different styles.
As a ‘conscious’ artiste she does not restrict herself to any genre. Rather she aims to not just entertain but to create a positive shift in the consciousness of her listeners, hence her performances range from classical to pop, kirtan to folk to Bollywood, in fact she allows her voice to roam as a free spirit singing from her soul.
She had an interest from childhood to spread a message of peace through her music. Her first performance was at the age of 8 and by the age of fourteen, she had sung to some of the largest audiences in South Africa raising funds for old age homes, orphanages, charitable trusts, missionaries, spiritual organisations and various fundraising initiatives. Apart from achieving gold and silver medals for her vocal performances in 1974 and 1975 at the eistedfods organised by the Hindi Shiksha Sangh, Shashika also received a silver for gaining the highest aggregate in the intermediate division of the Speech and Drama Eisteddfod from M.L. Sultan Technical College in 1976. In the same year, she also performed on stage in Durban with two renowned recording artistes from India viz. Shri Kishore Kumar and Shri Mahendra Kapoor.
In fact, it was her meeting with the legendary playback singer Shri Kishore Kumar that changed her life. He remarked to her father upon hearing her sing, that she was born in the wrong country and should be in India in the music field. As the years passed, Shashika felt the deep desire to find herself more in her music and her desire to travel to India for further training increased. In 1987 she finally enrolled at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai for training in Hindustani Vocal and Sitar.
Honoured at the World Hindu Conference in S.Africa 1995 for her contribution to Indian Music in S.Africa alongside Indian artistes Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pdt Hrdaynath Mangeshkar, she also received the South African Hindu Dharma Sabha’s Honour award from the Indian Consulate General Mr Anil Sharma in 2011 for her sterling contribution to the advancement of Indian culture in S.Africa through her music and performed at the welcome reception of Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi in S.Africa in 2016.
She has worked with prominent artistes in India such as Shri Anup Jalota, Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan and Adnan Sami. She has completed Sangit Visharad l in Hindustani Vocal under her guru Pandit Sudhindra Bhowmick and sitar under Smt. Stuti Dey from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, affiliated to University of Lucknow.
In 2003, she launched her independent music label URJA MUSIC. Her interest as a music producer, songwriter and recording artiste increased hence she spent less time as a stage performing artiste and produced more than fifteen successful albums and singles that enjoy popularity worldwide. 'I was not happy just singing covers, I wanted to have my own songs which is what really makes a singer apart from the rest. I started my label and never looked back.'
The track Govinda Madhava from album Swagatam Krishna was nominated at Just Plain Folks Music Awards, USA in Indian music category in 2006. In 2015, her single Manzil Tu Hi was at no. 29 on iTunes SA Top 100 in World Music. The album Krishna, The Flute Player received rave reviews in USA and appeared at no. 14 on the US Billboard Chart in September 2016. It was also included in the Music Appreciation and World Music classes at Emerson College in Boston in October and received a Silver Certificate for outstanding achievement at Global Music Award, California. In 2017 it was again nominated at Global Peace Song Awards while a track from the album “It’s SA GA SA GA MA” was nominated in Best World Music Song at the Roundglass Music Awards 2018, New York, USA.
Shashika has achieved a great feat in not only singing but also overseeing her original music in detail from production to designing the artwork to marketing!
In December 2018, YouTube declared her channel an Official Artiste Channel by adding a music note next to her channel name.
She has also designed a unique and holistic method of teaching voice culture based on the ancient scriptures that not only helps vocalists improve their technique but also discover themselves. In short, she trains her students to receive music in their voice as a means to the path to Divinity. Through her online classes she reaches out to students from India, Ukraine, Russia, USA and UK.
Received the International Achiever Award on 2nd June 2018 from the President of South Africa, Honorable Cyril Ramaphosa at SAMA24 (South African Music Awards) organised by The Recording Industry of South Africa RISA at The Superbowl, Sun City, Johannesburg, South Africa.
She also became the first South African of Indian origin to receive the award.
The Lifetime Achievement Award and International Achiever Award are two highest awards at the SAMA ceremony.