A lot of soul and a little bit of music
The 28-year-old singer sure looks smaller for her voice. Shefali Alvares was three when she first learnt how to sing from her father and musician Joe Alvares. Based in Mumbai, she sang in his band Joe Alvarez Collective till she was 21, after which she started Distil Souls, along with a group of friends. Eight years down the lane, she is not only gaining popularity for alternative form of music, but is also a part of a major share of the Bollywood limelight.
“Striking a balance between both the forms of music is chaotic. Everytime I get into the Bollywood mode, it is very difficult to get back to singing in English and other band music. I am trying to do the balancing act,” she admits. She has sung for Hindi films like Desi Boyz, Student Of The Year, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge and many more. She will also be singing for Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani, Race 2 and many others.
Believing in music beyond genres, Alvares has also made an attempt at hip-hop, rock, pop, Indian classical and blues among others. “I love experimenting and it is good that way. Music is something without a form and which is why I think it should not be limited or demarcated," she points out. Heavily influenced by her father, she follows Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Javed Basheer and Quincy Jones.
Talking about how Bollywood is all about offbeat music now, Shefali says, “Music in films is changing at a rapid pace. Alternative form of music is picking up in movies these days, including Rockstar, Cocktail and many more. People are accepting change.”
In the city to perform as part of Hard Rock Cafe’s Pinktober, Shefali has been supporting the cause of breast cancer awareness for more than two years now. “I think this is a great opportunity of collaborating with music for a social cause. I really believe in the idea and as women, we should raise awareness about the cause,” she opines.
She further adds, “I have also been taking my dad around all through the Pinktober tour to make him support the cause.”
Shefali and her band also performed a special song Haseen Zindagi in Mumbai last year towards an initiative called B Aware for the same cause. The lyrics of the song were penned by Javed Akhtar and Sonu Nigam was one of her co-singers.
Work’s fun, if you love what you’re doing, she says. “I’m blessed to be making music for my profession. Life’s so much easier.”
Mentioning her contemporary favourites, she lists Lady Gaga and Adele on the top. “They have amazing voices. I just love them.” She has also done quite a few ad jingles for various corporate companies and is also on the faculty of Garodia International Music School in Mumbai as a vocals instructor.” She is also the lead singer of the All Girl Band: The Real Thing, produced and managed by her Dad.
One unexplored side of her perhaps is that she is a painter. “I do paint often. But I have never displayed them at an exhibition or anything.” Shefali and her band are next headed to Jodhpur for a festival, organised by Sabir Khan, son of Ustad Sultan Khan. “It’s a seven-day festival and I will be singing Hindustani music there,” she reveals. Apart from this, she is going to participate in a Blues festival at the Liberty Theatre in Mumbai.