Shriram Iyer is a multifaceted artist bringing a new age of music to the fore
Author, singer-songwriter, event producer, artistic director, management professional. Melbourne-based Shriram Iyer, aka Siyer, is a man of many interests and even more abilities. Blessed with a golden voice, creative flair and above all, the ability to embrace Mr Life, as he fondly calls it, with gusto, he has scripted quite the personal success story.
“Success really is a journey rather than a set destination. And I enjoy and savour the journey at every step,” Iyer told Indian Link. “That I am able to create and entertain is indeed a privilege bestowed by the powers above,” he acknowledged, humbly.
For Iyer, who was born in Bangalore and raised in Gujarat, music has always been an overarching passion. But it was only after his family relocated to New Zealand in 2000, that his musical career gathered momentum. Having learnt the tabla for many years, he eventually realised that singing excited him more than anything else. On the advice of his idol and mentor Shankar Mahadevan, he took up Hindustani music from Ustad Aminul Haque, a disciple of Smt. Kishori Amonkar.
It was while pursuing a degree in engineering, that he finally he realised his true calling. Spurred by his success at Golden Voice of Auckland and with the firm backing of his immediate and extended family, he debuted as performer-producer of ‘Taal Se Taal Mila’. The show was a sell-out.
Now a professional singer, Iyer has performed worldwide. His debut album was released in 2007 by Mahadevan. Working well beyond Bollywood alone, he is contracted to an artist management firm as well as a US label. He has collaborated with several artists worldwide and is currently working with Bobby Beebob to produce and perform contemporary fusion music as Saffron Groove. Iyer’s ‘Aaja Phir Se’ got over 2.5 million views appealing to a ‘world music’ audience.
His move to Melbourne in pursuit of a management degree certainly diversified his portfolio. Besides teaming up with some local musicians, Iyer’s writing career also took off. He has since forayed into novel writing as a parallel form of storytelling, with the well-received Wings of Silence. A second novel Let Me Go is due for a 2016 release. His third book is a semi-fictional version of The Mahabharata and he is already mid-way through the fourth, which tackles domestic violence. Besides his busy management career, he has authored several short stories, theatre scripts and screenplays for short films.
Iyer’s mantra is quite simple: “To survive, you must not put all your eggs in the same basket. It is important an artist moves with the times and is able to adapt quickly,” he says. “At the end of the day, it is important to form strong relationships and have a long-term approach to achieving whatever goals one has in the creative arts space.”
A deeply spiritual person, Iyer has long nurtured a dream of producing a spiritual album with a subjective twist.
“It was more of a challenge to myself to see if I could give a fresh sound and make a ‘new age’ spiritual fusion song that could reach out to the current youth and the generations of tomorrow,” he explained.
To coincide with Janmashtami and Ganesh Chathurthi, Iyer tested the waters with devotional singles. Both ‘All For You (Samarpan)’ and ‘Mooshik’ have garnered great reviews. The project, which was crowd-funded, is now set to expand to a full-scale album.
“To do this whilst retaining divine elements was the big challenge which, from the tremendous response, I can say with confidence that we have achieved,” he added.
With two more albums slated for launch in 2016 and a packed live concert calendar, things are certainly looking upbeat for the high flyer. Persistence, resilience and time management skills have helped Iyer weather the long winding road to success. Juggling the diverse threads of his life, he dedicates his success to his wife, parents and fans.
Iyer staunchly believes that risk-taking forms the foundation for big wins in life. “For me, risk has always been an interesting phenomenon and a difficult one to assess,” he explained. A carefree, throwing caution to the winds attitude in the early years has since been replaced with a calculated, more cautious approach. “The answer often lies in ‘responsible risk’ or calculated risk, but there’s only so much that one can calculate. The element of the ‘unknown’ shall always exist and being comfortable with ambiguity is the only way we can learn to tackle the vagaries of the unpredictable Mr Life,” Iyer added.
Quite like his idol, his portfolio of success certainly leaves us breathless.