Fierce and unfiltered: Toronto-based Tamil artist Shan Vincent de Paul's releases new single ‘Savage’

Toronto-based Tamil artist Shan Vincent de Paul is ready with Made in Jaffna, his most compelling project yet

Published: 27th June 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2021 04:44 PM   |  A+A-

Shan Vincent de Paul; (left) screenshot of ‘Savage’

A gateway to tap into a darker side without having to keep up the facade of a glossy and perfect world that one often sees on social media” is how Toronto-based Tamil artist Shan Vincent de Paul describes his recently released single, ‘Savage’. Known for his razor-sharp songwriting, skilled rapping and strong visual aesthetics, this is the first of 12 singles from his upcoming album, Made in Jaffna. Leading the global South Asian arts renaissance in Canada, SVDP’s works are fierce and unfiltered. ‘Savage’ is a case in point. 

An intense experience, both sonically and visually, the song was written to release one’s anguish during a dark time, says the artist. “I wanted to write something strictly for myself. I think sometimes those can be the moments that people connect with the most,” he explains. The song’s title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the term colonisers used to describe Indians for eating with their hands. In fact, SVDP had performed it on his India tour last year and was taken aback by how much the audience connected with it. 

Four years in the making, Made in Jaffna, says SVDP, is “his most personal album till date”. At the same time, he believes that anyone can relate to its universal thread of redemption and resilience. The album will be released on the AR Rahman-led artist-centric platform and label, maajja. When asked about the most memorable moments in its making, he says it was his return home to Jaffna in 2018 and reconnecting with his origins. His previously released singles, the powerful ‘One Hundred Thousand Flowers’ and ‘Heaven’ featuring fellow Canadian Tamil artist Navz-47, have also been included in the album.

Matching his vocal ferocity, the ‘Savage’ video uses Paris-based hip-hop dancer and Bharatanatyam enthusiast Usha Jey’s choreography. Shot in Berlin, the video with the hybrid mix of the two dance styles adds its own unique touch to the song. SVDP remembers first seeing Jey dance to Da Baby’s ‘Bop’. “I was floored by its pure innovation. Moreover, her East-West hybrid avatar also connected with my work,” he says. According to him, Jey’s style was the perfect way to respond to the derogatory title of ‘savage’ that was often used against the actual citizens of the land. Though the pandemic prevented SVDP from being on set to direct the video, Berlin-based cinematographer Arsenij Gusev co-directed it and brought the concept to life.

Always looking for newer ways to connect with his audience and work on his creativity, SVDP recently entered the cryptocurrency world and the non-fungible tokens (NFT) space with an artwork related to his single, ‘Amnesia’, which centres on forgetfulness around toxic relationships. He collaborated on the same with fellow Tamil-origin Canadian singer Ami aka Amirthregan Wijayanathan. Happy with the NFT platform, he believes it is an entirely different way to experience art and the art market. “Visual art and directing is what I’m focused on a lot these days,” he says. And the more creative and innovative it is, the better.

India Matters


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