Interview Shivum Sharma: ‘I Hadn’t Taken Myself Seriously As A Songwriter’

19 years old, approved by Kwes - there’s little doubting Shivum Sharma’s future stardom. It’s just a case of what he does with this big platform.

On one single alone, it’s immediately presumed that Shivum Sharma’s destined to become a superstar. He has a voice for ballads. Big ones that soundtrack sports montages and emotional ends to episodes of Holby, or tear-strewn scenes in British Bake Off where the icing doesn’t quite sit right.

But that’s not the be all and end all of this 19 year old talent. Before writing breakthrough ‘Flicker’ (a meeting ground between The Cinematic Orchestra and the more experimental Antony and the Johnsons), “I hadn’t ever taken myself seriously as a songwriter,” he says, in his first ever interview.

After an initial ‘Flicker’ demo, he took a batch of songs to Warp producer Kwes - this led to a jazzing up of the song, lending the original frills and sparkles, but also a purpose. What was once a fairly straightforward number now fidgets and strays in the presence of convention. The same applies to ‘Only You’, the flipside to Shivum’s debut. “I had never known that there was more,” runs a verse lyric, right before the song latches onto a flurry of bass hooks and playful production. It’s a fitting declaration, timed just before the sound of a guy beginning an exciting journey of discovery.

Shivum recalls the Kwes sessions fondly. “We spent hours of many sessions just listening to music in his studio and discussing what it was about the tracks we loved so much,” he says. “We talked about how we wanted to draw inspiration from some of them in the tracks we were going to make ourselves.” He cites Destiny’s Child, Outkast and even Basement Jaxx as the artists who defined his childhood - somehow he combines all three, and more, to help coin his soon to be chart-dominating rejoice.

He’s been writing songs since mid-late 2011, so to judge ‘Flicker’/’Only You’ as the ultimate end point would be pretty foolish. Already picking up major label interest (National Anthem, who release the single, basically acts as a feed in for acts about to go big, boasting Haim, The Orwells and Chvrches on its early roster), there’s no doubt any progression Shivum experiences will be played out under a spotlight. It’s not something that phases him. “It was a super exciting and satisfying feeling when I’d finished recording [‘Flicker’],” he enthuses. He admits to being an “emotional person” (“at both happy and sad things”), capable of flipping conventional thought on its head. Not just ballads, then.

“When listening to music it makes all the difference if I can relate or somehow connect to the lyrics. I take a lot of time with lyrics - a lot are based on personal experience. But I also try to leave them open to interpretation. I find the idea of other people emotionally connecting to my music and lyrics so, so exciting.”

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