“I might not be brought up in a musical environment but I always had access to different kinds of music,” says Shankuraj Konwar.
Born and brought up in Jorhat, Assam, VibesMojo caught up with the 27-year-old singer, songwriter, composer, and producer recently. “I like listening to all kinds of music. I grew up listening to a variety of music,” he says.
Growing up with 3-4 cousins together with different tastes in music, Konwar had a brush with the classic rocks starting from The Beatles to Backstreet Boys and pop music of the likes of Michael Jackson from one of his cousins.
“My other cousin was a total metal freak who would bring pirated CDs from Shillong and he would make me listen to all those songs. My cousin’s sister was trained in Hindustani Classical and I would always sit beside her during her rehearsals”. Konwar also grew up listening to Assamese artistes of the ’80s and the ’90s like Charu Gohain, Ridip Dutta and Loknath Goswami, among others.
Encouraged by his parents to perform at various functions and concerts due to his soulful voice at a very young age, Konwar initially never saw music as a career option. “It has always been a hobby and I have always tried to keep it that way,” says Konwar.
He further adds “I was totally into academics — bookworm to be precise. It’s hardly been a year that I have taken up music professionally.” Completing his Bachelor’s of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Jorhat Engineering College, he went to Mumbai in June 2016 to pursue a Master’s degree in media and cultural studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Even though he produced his first single, Ki Bedonate, in March 2017 as a part of his album Baartalaap along with the celebrated poet Maitrayee Patar, which received appreciation from a niche of listeners, his major break came when he collaborated with Rainforest Records and featured his vocals on the song Jolopropat. This song shattered the glass wall ushering in a new era of electronic sounds to the Assamese music scenario.
Currently residing in Mumbai, Konwar had a few things to say about the ‘City of Dreams’. “Mumbai doesn’t discriminate anyone. It serves everyone equally and if you are coming to Mumbai, you have to work hard to earn money here. You need to be disciplined,” says Konwar. He further says that every vocation is a profession here. In a way, it gives one the freedom and space for self-development and takes something as a career path, he adds.
Konwar doesn’t limit himself to drawing inspirations from music. He believes that inspiration may come from anything apart from music. “My experiences are my major inspiration for songs,” says Konwar. He further adds that cooking, painting and even gossip sessions with friends inspire him to create new compositions. He is also the founder of the band, Project Baartalaap, which is a six-piece band.