We had a chance to talk to Shishi, a NYC based artist who recently dropped a chart-topping album Chrysalis. Raised on three different continents, ShiShi’s music reflects his global citizenship, blending sounds and influences from all corners of the world and showcasing his Indian musical heritage. We asked him about his latest release, launching his own label, and what he is up to in 2022.
Hello ShiShi, welcome to CelebMix! What are you up to these days?
Congrats on the release of your latest album! Will you tell us a little bit more about Chrysalis? What inspired you to write it?
Thank you. Chrysalis is the culmination of two years of deep shadow work. The last couple years have been tough for a lot of us, and for me specifically they provided a period of deep introspection and transformation. I experienced a lot of heartbreak and endings to parts of my identity that I had been attached to. It was a tough time where I had to face a lot of uncomfortable parts of myself and let parts of me die which were no longer serving me. This inspired the name “Chrysalis,” which is the phase a caterpillar goes through before turning into a butterfly – basically, it completely loses its form and dissolves into liquid, only to re-emerge stronger and transformed as a butterfly. The songs are really personal, written from the perspective of different shadow emotions like shame, fear, anger, lust and more. I wanted to give my shadow sides a voice, an opportunity to sing their truth, as a way to heal and integrate them. I hope this album helps listeners do the same.
You represent a very unique fusion of genres, what influences your sound?
My whole life has been a process of changing environments, always feeling like an outsider inhabiting a new world. I moved around a lot growing up, going to over 6 schools in 3 different countries before the age of 10, and then going to boarding school with people from all over the place when I was 13. I was a pretty quiet, shy kid, so I spent a lot of time observing people, cultures, the different situations and scenes I was in. I just soaked up everything like a sponge, especially all the different cultures I was exposed to, and particularly my own – my mom is a classical Indian singer so I was hearing Hindustani music in the house growing up. I think this gave me an ear for how to combine seemingly separate styles and genres together in a cool and accessible way that makes sense, and that has been a big part of my sound. Recently I’ve been reconnecting with songwriting, singing and playing guitar, which was the way I first started creating music when I was a teenager, before I ever got into electronic music production.
Can you tell us how your journey with music started? What shapes you as an artist?
I grew up playing classical violin, which I am definitely thankful for because it gave me a really strong ear for melodies. But I really fell in love with music when I started listening to classic rock and got a guitar. My mom didn’t want me taking guitar lessons because she wanted me to focus on violin, so being forced to teach myself guitar and learning my favorite solos from Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, etc. by ear gave me a love for creating my own sound. It felt so free compared to the confines of classical music. That freedom to be as weird as possible and create whatever sounded cool to me is the reason I wanted to become an artist and is a huge part of my creative values to this day.
Except for creating your own music, you also launched a label and event brand CASHIR. Can you tell us more about it and how it all came to life?
CASHIR stands for “Create and Share an Honest and Inspiring Reality” and it is my creative ethos. It’s an intention to communicate honestly and vulnerably through art, and inspire others to have the courage to do the same, in all areas of life. The CASHIR events are in-person gatherings for people to come together and embody honesty and vulnerability together through meditation, dance and community. They are conscious reimaginings of music events, where people come together to connect deeply in the moment rather than escape reality. The label is just a home for my own music for now, but maybe down the line I’ll start releasing other artists’ music as well.
With all of the exciting things you are doing, what can we expect from ShiShi in 2022? Are you preparing any new music drops?
Since my album dropped, I have been writing one new song per day as a commitment to my craft as an artist and songwriter. Obviously only the cream of the crop will be released publicly, but I will be releasing one song per week starting this summer. Those who subscribe to my Patreon community will be able to hear all of the daily songs as well as get access to weekly group guided meditations and other exclusive content – the best way to stay updated on when that . I am also releasing weekly episodes of my podcast The Sacred Giggle, featuring conversations with some of the most inspiring artists and healers in the world. The best way to stay updated on all of these happenings is by joining my mailing list.