Sheer passion and dedication towards the arts have brought back musician and singer Shafraz into the limelight. Music has always been a calling for the Sri Lankan expatriate who now resides in Qatar, but the success of his 2007 single ‘Train Song’ never fazed him.
“I started my career in music at the age of 23 and the ‘Train Song’ was what brought me popularity. People still refer to me as the ‘Train Song’ Shafraz which is a pleasant recalling. This was at a time when social media wasn’t a common platform for marketing and the only way to share music was through cassette tapes, then CDs and so on. My generation grew through press, television and radio, so it was a challenging time and way to market yourself in music,” shared Shafraz.
When his song became a success, it hit every music chart and channel across the island. Shafraz recalls performing at concerts – sometimes as many as three shows a day. “It was amazing and a feeling of contentment when people accept you for doing something, even as simple as music. I always believed, if I intended to become popular, I would stick to my values and ethics. I made sure not to resort to indecency to gain popularity,” he added.
After relocating to Qatar, Shafraz quit music to focus more on his career, as during that period, Sri Lankan music did not provide a significant financial return. It was his wife Mahdiya, who however encouraged him to pick up the strings and microphone. Though he remained sceptical about a ‘return’ to music, he trusted in the quality of his songs and his ability to connect with an audience through new and improved social media platforms.
“I didn’t think I’d ever make music again,” admitted Shafraz. “My biggest strength has been my wife who has continuously encouraged and supported me. If it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would have returned to music. When I began my career in music, I was sceptical about how to start. Still, with the immense support of my incredible family and friends in Doha, who is my constant source of support and inspiration, I was able to pursue my passion.”
“My favourite project after my comeback was ‘Rajina Obai’. It was not done for any commercial benefit but to simply create awareness of women’s empowerment. As artists, I believe we should invest and create work around social causes. When we have the power to influence many, we should use it consciously,” Shafraz stated.
The initial fear was also due to much time passed since his last release. “I was worried people wouldn’t accept or recognise me. I was proved wrong. I think it’s the music that truly speaks for itself, without any prejudice, without any fancy jargon. If it sounds good, and the audience enjoys it, they will accept me.”
Shafraz, now an entrepreneur and working on a few new ventures, blends the likes of RnB, Hip Hop and Pop. He toyed with a few Tamil and Hindi covers with a Doha-based Sri Lankan studio – WhiteRock Studios and shot the music video featuring popular South Indian star, Shweta Mohan in ‘Vaalkai Poriley’. He then transitioned to making a few Sinhalese original songs and dedicated a track to his wife as well. His recent work ‘Bande Ketu Tattoo’ performed extremely well. Shafraz’s song ‘Rajina Obai’ was shot in Doha, highlighting the importance of women in society.
Currently, he is working on his new project ‘RAGUDE’, which is to be released soon together with his childhood friend Aaryan Dinesh Kanagaratnam (ADK), who is currently in Big Boss Tamil Season 6, which is telecasted on Vijay TV and hosted by the legendary Kamal Hassan. The lyrics of ‘RAGUDE’ has been penned together by ADK and Shafraz. The video is directed by Rocky Jonz from Whiterock Studio. It is produced by P.A Deepak who is a two-time Grammy Award winner and works closely with maestro and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman.
When asked about his new venture, Shafraz admitted it was a surprise that will be announced soon. “As an artist, I am focused on attracting a diverse audience. I can only hope that true talent will be given the right platform to perform in time.” Shafraz has all his songs on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/ShafraZ and promises many more singles. Keep following his Instagram page www.instagram.com/ShafraZofficial to stay updated.