It’s always fascinating listening to someone who can sing acoustic or a cappella right in front of you. I don’t mean your decently above tone-deaf peers belting out at the karaoke (once upon a time). I mean actual singers performing without all the bells and whistles. Shak’thiya Subramaniamm, or simply Shak, is in his element strumming the guitar while singing and getting his photos taken.
I’ve heard him sing on social media and in 2018’s National Day song. Yet as he vocalises his rendition of ‘Wonderwall’ (switching out to ‘Creep’ right before the famous chorus, a ploy he uses to subvert the overly requested song at bar gigs), everyone looks up as his voice reverberates the room. The quality seems levels above the videos I’ve seen, which is a gap he recognises and wants to bridge.
And then the 29-year-old tells me he’s the worst singer in his family.
ESQUIRE: I can’t imagine what your family sounds like if you say you’re the worst singer among them.
SHAK: I might have the nicest tone, but they are leagues ahead of me because they were trained from young. I’ve always been shy about my singing and kept it to the toilet or when no one’s home. My two sisters just sang [openly] and my mum saw that they could sing and sent them for classical training. The youngest is still in school and I don’t know if she intends to pursue [singing] full time, but she’s too good not to pursue it on some level.
ESQ: So you’ve never had proper training?
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