‘There’s no high like performing live’


…says Shazneen Arethna, who is teaming up with her former band Three Guys And A Girl for a solo project. 

She’s been singing professionally for the past 12 years, lent her voice to commercials for clothing brands, cold drinks, electronic products, as well as doing corporate shows. Besides this, she has also been a part of various bands like Zero, Soul Yatra, Caliche and Three Guys And A Girl. After dabbling with different mediums as singer, Shazneen Arethna is now focussing on performing her songs live at various gigs.
Though Arethna was a part of the indie band Zero for a year in 2000, she describes it as one of the best experiences saying, “It shaped me into the musician I am today.” Besides her, Zero comprised of now well-known indie names like Warren Mendonsa, Sidd Coutto and Bobby Talwar. As for Soul Yatra, Shazneen teamed up with friend Merlyn D’Souza for over eight years, primarily doing corporate shows. The duo travelled extensively and Arethna describes her as “one of India’s best pianists and composers.” She was also a part of the all-girl band Caliche, along with Sheryl Balwani and Candy D’Souza, for three years doing corporate shows. Her association with Three Guys And A Girl has been the most instrumental for her solo initiative. “The band, especially Warren, helped produce my solo project. Musically speaking, because we know and understand each other so well, there’s an awesome camaraderie that translates when we jam together,” says she.
This 34-year-old, who is passionate about rock music, says about the scene, “The amount of experience I have gained performing in bands, doing corporate shows, commercials, etc is tremendous. Though I have sung Bollywood numbers and English retro for corporate shows and commercials, performing live to rock numbers is my thing. And so, my current objective is performing live to the songs I’ve written over the years,” says Shazneen enthusiastically, who has been inspired by a number of artists including Freddy Mercury, Robert Plant, Lenny Kravitz and Sheryl Crowe. “I feel alive when I perform live. Whenever I get on stage, I don’t want to get off ! There’s no high like performing live,” she adds. Her former bandmates Warren Mendonsa, Johan Pais and Sidd Coutto are now teaming up with for her solo project.
Speaking of her association with Three Guys And A Girl, a particular song titled
Bonkan Bot
deserves special mention. The song essentially about having a good time in life is in English, with the Konkani phrase Bonkan Bot comprising the chorus. Shazneen recollects, “It’s seven years since Bonkan Bot happened. Sidd had written the lyrics and asked me to sing it. I did and it sounded great. It was a memorable jam session!” 
In fact, the band liked it so much that they sent it as an entry to the Great Indian Rock Concert and it got featured on the Rocktopus album.
There are going to be eight original songs in Arethna’s kitty, some of which include Waiting, a song about having patience for the right things to happen in life; After, a song about the importance of having certain regrets in life without which one wouldn’t learn from the mistakes in life; and a fantasy rebellion sequence titled Songs For Me.
So is she an angry girl on stage? Arethna clears the air saying that she is not and that she just “comes alive to the fullest.” Is there an upcoming album on the cards? Not that the thought hasn’t crossed her mind, Shazneen says that currently her focus is on doing live shows and may be next year there will be the possibility of an album featuring her songs.

Lisa Antao reports BT.

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