• Friday, May 24, 2024

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Shez Raja: I aim to create a joyous, uplifting experience for live audiences


HE HAS done cool musical collaborations and created stunning songs, but brilliant bass player Shez Raja is at his very best when performing high octane concerts and bouncing off the energy generated by audiences.

Having performed around the world, he has forged a formidable live reputation for entertaining shows. That is why his concert at the Capstone Theatre in Liverpool on Saturday (25) is a hot ticket.

Eastern Eye caught up with the British-Asian guitar hero ahead of the Liverpool International Jazz Festival concert to discuss his inspirations, close connection to music and love of performing live.

What first connected you to music?

When I was growing up, I remember my dad singing ragas [Indian classical music] around the house – he still does to this day. And I think these melodies permeated my subconscious from an early age and influence my sound today.

What drew you towards the bass guitar in particular?

I’ll never forget the first time I played the bass guitar. I instantly loved everything about it – the feel, sound, and vibrations. It just felt comfortable, and I knew this was an instrument with which I could freely express myself.

How much does performing live mean to you?

I love performing live on stage and sharing with the audience the exhilarating feeling of creating music in the here and now. I treasure that magical connection with listeners, and it often feels like we are creating a feedback loop of positive energy together.

What do you most love about being on stage?

Like I said, the privilege of being able to share my passion for music and create a joyous, uplifting experience.

Which would you say has been your most memorable show?

I’ve been very fortunate to have travelled to various places around the world playing music and there have been many memorable shows. One that springs to mind is headlining the Mission Bay Jazz Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. The stage was on the beach and to our right was a volcano jutting out of the ocean. It was quite a view. And it was reassuring to know that the volcano was dormant.

What can we expect from your Liverpool International Jazz Festival show?

I’ll be bringing some truly world-class musicians with me, and we’ll be giving it our all. Expect a vibrant and high-energy concert as we blend sounds and colours from east and west.

Is there a particular kind of audience your performances are aimed at?

I would like to think that everyone would enjoy our concerts, as we make music that is from the heart which hopefully moves and inspires people in some way.

According to you, what is the secret of a great live performance?

Authenticity, generosity, and fearlessness. Being true to yourself and sharing your emotions through the music, playing in an uninhibited way, fully self-expressed and with abandon.

Why do you love music?

Music has the power to evoke emotions and memories, inspire, heal, and unite. This is why I love it.

What inspires you?

Inspiration is a big area of interest for me. In fact, I’ve developed specific techniques to boost inspiration and become more creatively alive, and I share these at creativity and inspiration masterclasses that I run for music colleges and businesses. I’ve been studying astrophysics at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, and have been inspired to write a lot of new music recently, while pondering the epic realisations and unfathomable mysteries of the universe.

Finally, why should we all come to the concert this week?

We will take you on an exciting musical journey to the Punjab via Liverpool. It will be a very special evening, energising and fun.

Shez Raja featuring Tony Kofi at the Capstone Theatre, Hope University, 17 Shaw Street, Liverpool L6 1HP is on Saturday (25). See www.thecapstonetheatre.com and milapfest.com for details.

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