Student Feature • Vocal • Voice

December 2021

Shivani Nayyar: Music is a Learning Journey

At Aureus Academy, we discover young talents everyday who inspire us with their passion for music and their determination to improve their craft. One such young artist is Shivani Nayyar, who has been taking vocal lessons with Aureus Academy for the last 5 years.

At just 14 years old this year, Shivani has a captivating voice with a unique, deep timbre – coupled with her remarkable musicality, her star power is undeniable. It was no wonder that she took home the Distinction award at Aureus Academy Forum’s Summer Music Festival, where her performance impressed the judges.

We recently had the pleasure of listening to Shivani sing again in this stunning performance of Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You, and had the privilege of having a chat with her about her musical journey and her future aspirations as a musician!

When and how did you discover your passion for singing?
I’ve loved music since I was little. I’ve grown up around music my whole life because my mom and dad have exposed me to so many different artists and bands.

My dad loves Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Santana, Janice Joplin, Bob Marley, and Chris Stainton; he always likes to blast their music in the car. He plays the drums and he used to be in a band.

My mom loves Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Jennifer Hudson, Ella Fitzgerald, and she’s a huge ABBA fan. She’s also a trained Hindustani semi-classical singer, so she’s a big fan of Abida Parveen, Shubha Mudgal, Asha Bhosale, and Jagjit Singh. She used to sing to me every night at bedtime when I was little.

Most of all though, my sister introduced me to my favourite genre now which is Indie music; it’s really cool.

What motivated you to take up vocal lessons at Aureus instead of just singing leisurely at your own time?
I started taking formal lessons in the US when I was about 6 or so, and when I moved to Singapore I continued vocal lessons at Aureus Academy which was recommended by a close family friend.

Since music is my passion, I didn’t want it to only be about singing what I like when I like, I wanted it to be a learning experience where I could grow to my fullest potential and step out of my comfort zone sometimes.

Learning at Aureus Academy allows me to do that and it also presents different opportunities such as this one, and also performing at recitals and events. Moreover, I’m able to train for the Trinity College London Vocal Rock & Pop exams.

Who would you say is your biggest musical inspiration?
My biggest musical inspiration? Well, I’ve always admired Harry Styles because, first of all, his voice, music, and lyrics are amazing, and I love how even though he’s very famous and successful, he’s still so kind and humble to the public. You can really tell how much he loves his fans and how passionate he is about being a singer and a performer. The vibe he radiates onstage is just so cool. I really appreciate his artistry, his sense of style, and especially how he’s always so open and never afraid to be himself despite having such a huge audience.

You play the guitar and ukulele as well. Did you pick up those instruments on your own?
Yes, I took guitar lessons at Aureus for 3 years but then stopped, and then I taught myself the ukulele.

What are some of your favourite songs?
Oh wow. Well, as a lover of music and a student taking vocal lessons regularly at Aureus Academy, that’s probably one of the hardest questions in the world, because, to be honest, there are just too many to count. But a few of my top favourites are ‘august’ by Taylor Swift, ‘Simple Season’, and ‘Buttercup’ both by a band called Hippo Campus, ‘Olivia’ by One Direction, ‘Morning’ by Tennis Club, ‘I Want It All’ by COIN, and ‘Loving is Easy’ by Rex Orange County.

What motivated you to start a Youtube channel for your song covers?
I had always wanted to start one so I could put my singing out there, but it took a while to convince my parents to let me do so. But I finally started my YouTube Channel in March of 2020, just as we all went into lockdown. I found that it was a great way to pass my time and it brought me comfort and happiness during a tough time.

You shared that you have plans to write your own songs one day. What are some genres that you are looking at, and are there any composers that you look up to for inspiration?
I would love to write my own songs someday. I’ve tried, but trust me, it’s harder than it seems. Despite being quite an emotional and sentimental person, and also loving literature, I have a hard time trying to convey what I want to say through lyrics, so it’s definitely something I want to work on in the future.

My favourite genres are Indie music and Pop music so it would probably be a both or a mix of those. And in terms of songwriting, the people I really look up to are Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Hozier because their ability to tell stories through song lyrics is so fascinating to me and I love how even though I may not have personally experienced what they’re singing about, I feel connected to them in that moment because the lyrics are just so moving and poetic.

How do you juggle between school work and practicing your singing?
Honestly, it isn’t too difficult to juggle at the moment. In school I have choir practice 3 times a week and then I have my vocal lessons at Aureus on the weekends. Other than that, I often just sing and play the guitar in my room to relax or wind down. Even though it can be stressful, you need to be disciplined for anything you want to excel at. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to film YouTube videos but I’ll never give it up because it’s something that I enjoy doing and that inspires me. Additionally, I get so much support from my family, friends, and subscribers which really motivates me.

You can watch Shivani’s full performance of Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You, along with many other performances put up by our talented teachers and students on Aureus Academy’s Youtube channel!

Or, if you simply can’t get enough of Shivani’s charming voice, she actually has a Youtube channel! If you enjoyed her performance, be sure to subscribe, like her videos and share her lovely singing to other music lovers out there!

Is performing on a stage like Shivani something you’ve always wanted to experience? At Aureus Academy, Singapore’s leading music school, all of our students are guaranteed performance opportunities! Find out more about music lessons at Aureus by reaching out to our programme specialists at +65 3158 5811 or Book a Free Trial Lesson with us now!

Alex Sarabi