‘From as early as I can remember, music was a huge part of my life! I started taking piano lessons at the age of six or seven and that’s how it all started. My mentor, Visaka miss ensured I was always on the right track. She is someone who I’d praise my entire life! Her patience and tenderness made it so worthwhile. This is where I found my absolute love for music and it has been one heck of a ride since then!’
This is how we began our conversation. Shaufa Ahmed (Shau), tells us her story of how she became a performer and a musician.
She was young; very young. But lucky enough to start taking piano classes at such an early age. But who would’ve ever thought that this could be the beginning of something extra ordinarily beautiful! Shau has been mastering the art of performing, singing and making music since then. Things started adding up and began to get a little bit more electrifying once she entered her teens.
‘I picked up the guitar and started playing during my teens. Cousins and friends were great influence on this! I started learning day by day and eventually started singing a little too. I won’t deny – I must’ve been a little bit shy at first but I am definitely a proud bedroom singer! I would sit inside my bedroom, play some tunes for myself and sing along. It soon became an everyday habit. It’s something very personal to me. It’s a way of letting out a lot too, honestly. In time, I was able to gather my comfort zone as well. I’ve been inspired and embolden by too many brilliant people and I am forever grateful for that!’
Right after her secondary years at school, she was almost convinced to start singing and performing. She got enough encouragement and motivation from her close friends and she calls this as her ‘massive first step’. From a shy little girl to something very enchanting. Hard work and determination pays off very well and Shau proves that to everyone out there. People are driven in so many ways and it varies from person to person. Some people have a long list for this while others don’t. Many find it inspiring to listen to people talk about what keeps them grounded and going.
‘Passion for music keeps me driven.’
Effortlessly, she says it simple and clear.
Up on completion of her studies in Music she returned back home with hopes of grasping in the scene. Her first public exposure would be Raagu show by TVM (2014). Raagu is an amazing platform for young talented individuals to outshine. This enabled her to find more reasons to do what she loves doing.
‘That was such an experience. I was SO nervous. But I knew I wanted to do it too! That was my first time out there doing what I’ve really wanted to do. Gave me the chills but it felt so nice at the end! Raagu was that extra little push which I needed. I know I made the right choice now. And it’s fun looking back into those days too!’
Growing up listening to all sorts of crazy and lovely; she found her comfort zone in acoustic music. As she kept getting better at it, Shau found her love for acoustic growing fonder day by day. Usually takes delight in song-writing while traveling as the nature and her surrounding keeps her enthused.
Her fondest musical memories are with her band mates. How ambitious and engrossed they are keeps her going too. They are the most important influences all throughout her career and they never fail to keep her inspired and moving forward.
‘I see how passionate they are. I see that every day. It’s such a pleasing reminder! I get to witness what hard work and having a good time is like; both, together. I feel very fortunate for that!’
Mistakes are a part of life and Shau elucidates how she deals with it. Maybe it comes too often that it can be a bug but it’s all about how one overcomes the situation. As a performer, Shau used to be the kind of girl who would get edgy and go on a last-minute- panic; which of course is very common within so many of us! But she also stresses on how vital it is to practice and to never give up – which helped her to get where she is right now.
‘A lot of stage fright! Heck loads of it! But trust me, it gets better! Time heals! Ha-ha!’
It’s common among most musicians to say that finding the balance between work life and personal life gets a bit too tricky and challenging at times. Considering the music scene here in the Maldives, it surely doesn’t sound most appealing to many as musicians are expected to be travelling up and down quite frequently.
‘It’s not an easy job. It is definitely not an easy job at all. Sleep cycle gets a little messed up at times and travelling during odd hours might not be your most favorite thing to do every day… but I really like it. I love my job! I mean, I’m still learning to find that balance we’re talking about. It can get a little bit thorny at times but it makes you appreciate the smaller things in life.’
Despite helplessly falling in love with her job every day now; Shau had other dreams as a kid. Her ultimate goal back then was to become a nurse and to be able to lend a helping hand.
‘Funny thing is I never had any interest in anything medical growing up, but I’ve always wanted to become a nurse as a kid. Sometimes, I wonder where I’d be today if things were different. High chances that I could’ve been a bit involved in the business field as its still at the back of my mind although I am a performer today.’
An animal lover who adulates the nature so much; stirred daily with everything around her. Both good and the bad. Taking the most out of every moment is what she strives to do in life. Regardless of working on a frenzied schedule, Shau manages to find some time to work-out. There must be some great amount of help and kindness she receives from a handful while keeping her cool living the life of a musician at 25. She expresses her gratitude to her very favorite people with sincere love.
‘I am so obliged to so many wonderful people! My parents, for the reason behind why I started in the first place. My mentor, for being my first ever musical inspiration. For being the sweetest and most kind-hearted soul. My best-friend, for keeping me inspired and opening my eyes to uncountable many things. My boyfriend, for the support and keeping me grounded. For never fading to give me that little bit of everything I truly need in between. My siblings; who they are my first ever fans. They gave me the courage and shot in the arm I needed. My incredible band mates, for sticking around and never giving up during the hardest of times and sharing the best times together. And a big thank you to VIBE team for this oh-so-amazing opportunity!’
‘When life gives you lemons, make some music!’ – SHAUFA 2K17
We had a terrific time working with this girl! Stay awesome and keep your ‘heelaashey’ spirits high. All our best wishes and lots of love your way!