By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 30, 2020

We’re heading for something, somewhere I’ve never been
Sometimes I am frightened, but I’m ready to learn
of the power of love…

Since the last week, Shayan Italia’s rendition of the Jennifer Rush classic, The Power of Love (1984), sung by Delraaz Bunshah and backed by the Global Lockdown Choir, has been wowing netizens online, amid the lockdown.

A slick production with vocals that touch a chord in your soul, make for an enriching start as Shayan lets out his husky drool… “The whispers in the morning”… and when vocalist Delraaz Bunshah from Dadar Parsi Colony, Mumbai, croons, “I hold on to your body…” you know that magic is unfolding on the small screen as for the next 4 minute 38 seconds you are treated to a performance that’s pure genius. Both Shayan and Delraaz have immersed into the melody and mood of the song, taking you along with them.

Shayan Italia (entrepreneur, pianist and songwriter, who returned to Mumbai 10 years ago from the UK, and is now living in Bandra, who took two weeks from concept to the final product), is not taken aback by the positive response to the ‘performance’. Being a perfectionist that he is, he knows that quality does pay rich dividends… in the form of appreciation, which is the ultimate high for any artiste.

However, it is Delraaz’s phone and that of her parents that is ringing off the hook ever since the video was posted online reveals, Shayan, when Opening Doorz connected with him for a tête-à-tête. And he is happy for the young singer, who he chose for this project after he heard he sing a Lady Ga Ga song.

Extremely clear in what he wants to convey and immensely passionate about his music, Shayan who has over 200 compositions of his own, apart from “100 which are Class A compositions,” reveals a little about himself and “The Power of Love”.

Excerpts:

How long did it take you to complete this video?
I have known Delraaz for some time now because we have spoken for other projects and I was clear I wanted her for this. She, however, told me that the scale of G# was too high for her and asked me if we could do it in the scale of G. I had never played that song before, and what you are seeing in the video is the first attempt at that song in the scale of G from me! I sent her the recording on Whatsapp and told her, “If you change the scale now, I’m going to kill you.” She said, “Let me try,” and this is what it is! While she was working on the vocals, I was working on the Choir part with 56 other singers. It was a big challenge. I literally had to conduct small groups of people to get that choir sound. The mixing was a massive exercise, very daunting and very stressful. I drove them nuts. It took two weeks to complete the video.

Any specific reason why Jennifer Rush’s song and not say something like Heal The World or We Are the World?
That’s a good question. I believe that the Power of Love is life’s greatest emotion. The Power of Love can heal, inspire, invigorate, rejuvenate… bring someone out of complete darkness and it also has the Power can unite. I believe the Power of Love does not necessarily have to be between a couple which is what the song is all about, but can relate to a love between a child and a mother, brother and a sister, man and his pet, grandparents and their grandchildren, a mother kangaroo caring for her baby…it can relate to anyone.

Shayan Italia, Delraaz Bunshah: The Power of Love!
Delraaz Bunshah impresses with her vocals along with Shayan Italia.

Was Delraaz Bunshah an obvious choice?
I won’t say she was an obvious choice… any competent singer can sing it. Delraaz is someone who is very competent. She is hard on herself to attain perfection and I like that. I knew that I could bring something to the table with my experience and her talent. If you pursue music for its purpose and its message, you will always be perceived as an artiste. However, if you pursue music for just pleasure then you will always be a bathroom karaoke singer. The community has now perceived her as an artiste. She is ecstatic; her phone is ringing off the hook!

Is there any influence of Freddie Mercury in your style? I could detect a bit, especially the passion flowing from the soul to the keys being softly caressed?
That’s a weird question actually!  I know Freddie’s family. I have met them multiple times. Freddie was such an icon for what he is; he was like a human metronome… he was very good with time. He was a free-flowing pianist. I am more governed by certain parameters. Queen defined a certain genre of music that never existed and they created a niche for themselves. I don’t feel that I hear a lot of Queen songs; I love them but they are not part of my daily listening. I don’t draw inspiration from Freddie per say but my respect from him and Zubin Mehta is iconic.

Shayan Italia, Delraaz Bunshaw: The Power of Love!
“If you pursue music for its purpose and message, you will always be perceived as an artiste,” says Shayan Italia.

How long have you been learning the Piano; any formal training?
No formal training. I started playing the piano after my Mum passed away. She had gifted me a piano. I don’t read music. I have an app called Tabs. My ear is trained in a way that I understand music in its dynamic form… I can listen to a piece once and then play it. I practice a lot; I have probably crossed the 30,000–hour playing mark!

Finally, since the song has been conceptualised and released during the lockdown, what is your view of the current pandemic?
Just a few days ago I was chatting with a school friend of mine and he was saying, “We hope for a better world, after this crisis ends.” I replied: saying, “The world is way better. The world is doing great. Superb in fact. It’s the humans that are not doing very well. But the world is enjoying itself right now. It’s greener, cleaner, and more robust, than in years. It’s healing rapidly, there’s far less pollution, the animals are out playing and happy. The world is way better and she’s loving it.”

I do hope we do not going back to being the ***oles that we were before the lockdown!

We’re heading for something, somewhere I’ve never been
Sometimes I am frightened, but I’m ready to learn
of the power of love…

Also Read: There’s a fire, starting in her heart… Zyra Nargolwala

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