Interview: Shay Liza (Sharaya)

How I love the discovery of new Aussie rock! And the latest is Melbourne band Sharaya, I have a feeling that I will be listening to their album on repeat for quite some time.

In the lead-up to the launch gig for “The Road To…” Shay took some time out to help us get to know them better. Take a look… I know she has me excited for the album launch.

How did you all come together to form Sharaya?

It’s funny, I was thinking about that a couple days ago, and realized that it was really our album “The Road to…”  that brought us together as a band. It started with a collection of songs I had written that I wanted to record, in hope of making an album. So I started working with Producer Ricki Rae (who is also our drummer in the band). We started producing and demoing the tracks with Scott Griffiths our keyboard/bass player at the time, and from there the project grew. It was around that time we realized that we were heading into “band territory”. So we kinda threw around the idea to start a band and one thing led to another – And so began Sharaya!

Soon after, we had a great bunch of songs, more than enough material for an album, so off we went to Ricki’s studio Lighthill Sound Recording. It was a slow process, as we are all working musos, but we kept chipping away at the project, and the songs continued to blossom. It was later down the track and after completing our recordings, we decided to form a full band, Simon Hosford, as our guitarist (who also recorded with us prior) and Adam Surace as our bass player. It was around that time our dear friend and founding member Scott expressed a desire to move onto to other things, so after parting ways, we went out in search of a keyboardist. Soon we found Nik Pringadi who became a welcome addition to the pack! Looking back, I see how by following through on our desire to make an album, we ended up forming a kick-ass rock band in the process!

How would you describe your sound?

Powerful dynamic rock!

Can you tell us a little about your debut album ‘The Road To…’?

As the name suggests, the creation of the album was indeed a journey. The songs came together over a fairly long period of time, so “The Road to …” unfolded step by step for us. “Addiction” and “You don’t make me Smile” I wrote quite sometime ago, whilst I was still a solo artist, and the rest of the songs on the album were co-written mainly by myself and Scott Griffiths, our former keyboardist. During that time, we played a weekly Sunday gig at Sentido Funf in Fitzroy. It was there where we would try out our new original songs on the audience. It was a fun time for us, as we had a lot of freedom to jam on stage and come up with new melodies and song ideas on the fly. The last song on the album “You” was born this way.

The album for me symbolizes an evolution through music, I learned much whilst writing, producing and recording it. Our vision was to take the listener to various places musically as opposed to having an album that sits in a very tight genre. So although “The Road to …” is a slightly eclectic collection of songs, for me it portrays a journey through music that happened over a couple years, and I am very pleased with the final outcome of the record.

Sharaya

What can you tell us about your songwriting inspirations?

There are many artists and bands that have inspired me over the years, but I have to say that life is the greatest inspiration; my family, my friends and day-to-day experiences. The crazy, the awesome, the sad, the beautiful and the sorrowful experiences that life brings my way, these real life situations truly are the things that inspire me to write.

I guess, I’m just one of those songwriters that create based on emotion. In those moments of feeling something intense — whether it be excruciating or thrilling — that is when writing a song becomes effortless, and the lyrics and the melody just flow.

Of course I am hugely influenced by various bands and artists, Radiohead, Crowded House, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin, and Queen to name some. It’s very difficult to pin it down to just a few though, as we are so lucky in this age we live in – that we are surrounded by such a huge history in music, we have such a vast array of music that we can draw on for inspiration. So honestly, many different artists and bands inspire us musically.

You have opened for some great acts, do you have a favourite?

Electric Mary are dear friends of ours, Rusty, the lead singer was one of the first musicians I met when I moved here to Melbourne, and introduced me to the music scene, and Ricki our drummer has recorded most of their albums. They hold a special place in our hearts, so whenever we get an opportunity to open for our mates, that is definitely a favorite for us. Being a female rock singer though, I have to say, supporting Suze Demarchi was really special, and also a huge fan of Dallas Frasc, both those women are a huge inspiration to me personally. We had a blast supporting them both..

Is there a standout best show moment?

When we opened for the Baby Animals at the Corner Hotel — that was a definite highlight for us! It was a mad gig! When we hit the stage, there were die-hard Suze Demarchi fans lining the front of the stage waiting for her to come out – suffice to say they were a rather daunting crowd – but by the second song in, we had the audience bouncing around with us. We had a great gig, our sound suited the size of the room, we had epic moments on stage, it just sounded and felt massive!. It was then we decided to hold our album launch at The Corner.

Is there any one act you would really like to share the stage with?

Without a doubt the Foo Fighters!

Are there plans to tour nationally anytime soon? (translation: will we see you in Adelaide anytime soon)

Haha, I love the subtlety. Yes we do, sorry I got to that point earlier. It is definitely on the cards and we would love to meet you in Adelaide really soon!

What is the furthest gig you’ve played from home?

As musicians, we’ve all played across the country and around the world. As Sharaya, we have yet to step out of Melbourne, with the album launch coming up there are quite a few opportunities opening up for us, things are heating up in Sharaya land!

Can you tell us about an ultimate career highlight to date?

For me an absolute career highlight was sitting in “Sing Sing Studios” in Richmond and listening to the final mixes of my very first album! “The Road to …” holds so much significance for me personally, and it’s such a dream come true to have put a musical body of work out into the world. So that moment of sitting back and listening to the final product was to date a career highlight for sure!

What’s next for Sharaya?

Gigs, gigs and more gigs! Film clips happening soon, and we are always writing, so a new album could be on the cards sometime next year!

Shay, this one’s for you – What does being a woman mean to you?

Being a woman means being true to myself and trusting and believing in myself. To me a woman is a strong individual who can achieve anything that she sets out to do. She is a lover, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a diva, a nurturer, a teacher, an artist and a goddess all rolled into one – just some of many facets of being a woman.

Thank you for taking the time out to talk with us Shay, it’s been fantastic.

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