Music Is In My Blood: Piyush Shankar

The young multi-instrumentalist talks about working with Prince and Yuvika and why he knew he was destined to be a musician

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Facebook/Piyush Shankar

Piyush Shankar is a 21-year-old student at Thakur College of Science and Commerce, Mumbai. He is also a drummer, percussionist and a music composer for Bollywood. He has already collaborated with Prince Narula and Yuvika Chaudhary and his YouTube views have garnered millions of views. At an age where most young men his age are busy with their studies, Piyush has made a name for himself in the music industry. He tells Bayside Journal about his illustrious background and his future plans.

1. When did you start playing instruments and singing?

I started playing instruments at the age of 4 and my first instrument was the tabla. After that, I started playing all the other instruments like chamba, darbuka, dhol, dhuff and drums etc. I started singing at 13 and I came first for three consecutive years at the Gandharva Institute.

2. You belong to a family of musicians. Was that the reason you chose it as your career? 

We belong to the Jaipur Gharana. I was born into a musical environment as my grandfather Pandit Bhima Shankar ji is a Khatak exponent and my Dad, Jitu Shankar, is a tabla master and percussionist. Yes, music is in my blood and I always knew somewhere or the other I would pursue a career in music.

3. If not music, what would you have chosen? 

If not music, I would have definitely chosen football as my career because I’m a diehard football fan.

Facebook/Piyush Shankar

4. Who did you learn music from? 

I have learned tabla from my nana, Pandit Prem Shankar Gangani, and my dad Jitu Shankar. I have learned kathak from my uncle Pandit Dayal Shankar. I was always a rhythmist. I was always interested in and played the tabla, drums, and percussion. I uses to do concerts and classical shows but for the past year-and-a-half, I started producing and composing music. I have got a lot of support and learning experiences from my family. My uncle, Raju Shankar, is Bollywood’s biggest music producer and has provided me with guidance. My dad has taught me a lot; so has my mom who has an MA in tabla.

5. You play all over India and abroad. Have you ever encountered any technical glitches during a live performance? 

So, there was a show in Bangalore, where I was performing solo on the drums and whole percussion set. I had put everything on tech writer list. I had taken a few instruments with me: a darbuka which I had bought from Dubai and a chamber that I bought from South Africa. The others were supposed to come but due to some problem, I was not able to get them on time. So I made a setup. I was playing on trash cans, the bong, plates, spoons, and buckets. I started experimenting with different sounds!

Facebook/Piyush Shankar

6. Have you ever encountered an unruly audience? 

No, I never have experienced an unruly audience. I have always got immense love and support from them and that is what helps me to do better the next time.

7. You bought yourself a BMW with your hard-earned money. How does it feel to achieve so much at such a young age of 21?

I’m very fond of cars and so does my Dad. We already have 5 cars but he always wanted to buy a BMW or Mercedes. Whatever I am today is all because of my parents. In a way, it’s his car and I have given my best in whatever way I could do for them.

8. How was your experience working with Prince Narula and Yuvika Chaudhary? The album crossed over 9.6 million views on Youtube.

It was an amazing experience working with Prince and Yuvika. They are one of the humblest human beings I have ever met.  Prince is like an elder brother to me; we had fun at the studio and the jamming sessions were amazing. The views have now have crossed 10 million, which is like a cherry on the top. Everyone has given me so much of love and support and I’m thankful to the God and everyone who has watched “Hello Hello” and loved the song. The song was appreciated all over the world; I have received emails, calls, messages from London and the US. This inspires me to do better and better with every passing day.

9. Your recent video, “Kuch iss Tarah” has also met with a good response. It was also your debut on screen. How did it feel?

I recently did a cover song of “Kuch Iss Tarah”. I was just jamming on my piano and the song came to my mind. It has got such a beautiful melody, I thought of recreating it. When I started working on it and I’m already getting such a good response for its audio and visuals. This is my first proper debut, not exactly a debut, but yeah a proper on screen debut as a singer on YouTube.

Facebook/Piyush Shankar

10. What are your future plans? 

For my next project, I’m working on my single with Prince. It’s an EDM track which will be releasing in July. I’m also working on another single which would be coming up in mid-August. I’m also working on a lot of projects with Zee and T-Series. So, yeah, a lot of good stuff is coming up!