A Slice of Culture – A column with an eclectic mix of South Asian cultural stories from the world.
Los Angeles-based first-generation Indian-American singer-songwriter Shuba recently released her first single of 2022, the very addictive Love Runs Out. The fresh yet fierce, female-powered anthem showcases Shuba’s authenticity as a singer and songwriter, much like her runaway viral hit Indian Summer which has been streamed nearly 3 million times on Spotify. ‘Love Runs Out’ has been released by the AI-enabled label, Snafu Records, a hybrid tech and music company with the heart of a record label and the mind of a start-up.
A popular creator under the name @tiktokBrownChick, Shuba hopes her music can reach those wanted to feel a sense of belonging. Growing up as a minority in the US, Shuba aims to write music for the underdogs who feel stuck in societal norms. She struggles with self-acceptance — from liking her hair to fitting the expectations of Indian culture.
Shuba knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to be a singer. At her 6th-grade graduation in a small American midwest town, she wrote that she hoped to be as recognizable as a skyscraper in a big city one day. Notable moments like a jam session with Brian May of Queen or being acknowledged for her singing talent by icons such as Celine Dion and Shakira, make Shuba feel like she is well on her way to achieving that dream.
IC: Tell our readers about the idea and inspiration behind your latest song Love Runs Out.
S: I was inspired to write Love Runs Out once I really started putting myself out there with dating. I didn’t realize how vulnerable I’d have to be to meet new people and make new connections. I had to get in touch with my ego and expectations and realize that I might not be some random guy’s priority, as much as I would’ve liked that at the time.
The song is like a therapy session between me and myself. On the one hand, I’m angry and hurt, but on the other hand, I’m telling myself to not have crazy expectations from people, let go, and to become confident in myself and my own ability to feel complete. The chorus is a bit different. It’s mostly about my fear of having the high of relationships wear off with time and how I’m not sure how to navigate that “post-honeymoon phase” phase. To be honest, I still don’t quite know how to do that…
IC: How does your Indian identity influence your music?
S: Bollywood is in my veins! I grew up with 2000s Bollywood music playing on long car rides and on TV, so a lot of those melodies naturally come out when I’m writing a song. I would say that those are the most magical moments of my songwriting in general.
IC: Tell us more about the process of how you fuse the energy and rhythm of Bollywood into your pop-rap gems.
S: I always try to let it sit with the track as naturally as possible. It might be a fun flute riff or something in the melody itself that feels like it should have a beautiful semitone.
IC: Is Bollywood a space that interests you? What from Bollywood has recently caught your ears?
S: I would love to get into the Bollywood scene when the time is right! I’ve been loving ‘Srivalli’ lately!
IC: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
IC: TikTok has made you a very popular figure, and you have 5.5 million followers on it. What is your take on the thought that ‘artists are not content creators’?
S: I think artists can totally be both content creators AND have their natural artistry come through! It’s all about balance and making sure to push ourselves creatively to see how to “market like a Tik-Toker” but “create like an artist”.
IC: What are you working on next? What can fans look forward to from you in 2022?
S: I am constantly writing! I have tons of songs that I’m looking forward to releasing every couple of months with visuals, music videos, and of course, TikTok/YouTube Shorts/IG reels type content! I’m also performing very regularly and will be doing shows as much as possible in major cities around the U.S. and hopefully abroad! I just got back from a beautiful writing trip in Sweden, and am heading to places like Dubai, Cabo, and Nashville to get more inspiration and work with more people.
Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Wanderlust for the Soul, an e-book collection of short stories based on travel in different parts of the world.