Shakti is an actor, singer and dancer specializing in Musical Theatre, currently training for Opera.
Making his stage debut at the age of nine in his school’s Annual Musical, Directed and Choreographed by Salome Roy Kapur and going on to win the top prize for a school singing competition later that very same year; Shakti has been performing in Broadway inspired musicals and plays ever since.
Moving up a spot from being one of the voices in the choir to soloist, and over the years on to supporting parts and lead roles in productions; and finally receiving appreciation from the chief-guest, theatre luminary Alyque Padamsee, for his portrayal of Scar in the school’s adaptation of the broadway version of ‘The Lion King’ during his final year, encouraged him to pursue the performing arts.
Shakti had no formal training in music as a child – his vocal abilities were discovered by the school’s Hindustani singing teacher who encouraged him to enter singing and dance competitions where he sang Hindi as well as English pop and folk songs – but after graduating school, his ear for music and the hunger to learn more resulted in him picking up the guitar and slowly working out the structures in music to help him write his own songs – a period during which his musical influences changed and continued to grow.
The fire to develop his musicianship was further fueled on an exchange program to Canada at the end of college – where the vocal coach at the university appreciated his ability to express and deliver songs in his own style, which is when Shakti decided to further hone his vocal skills – not knowing how or what next.
Upon his return to India, by complete accident, he met with Soprano Patricia Rozario and pianist Mark Troop through their Giving Voice masterclasses and began training for Classical and Operatic singing. Taking to his affinity for foreign languages, Shakti is currently training to perform songs and arias not only in English, but also Italian, German and French under their guidance.
In fall 2014 – Shakti appeared in Giving Voice’s four-city touring production of the Purcell Opera ‘Dido and Aeneas‘ comprising of an all Indian cast, a first in India – directed by Rehaan Engineer. His other theatre engagements that year included a local adaptation of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (Set in Bombay), produced by NCPA and directed by Avaan Patel. Cast in the role of Scrooge’s loving nephew ‘Fred,’ Shakti performed the Spanish Catalan Song El Noi de la Mar and a Konkani rendition of Silent Night, opening the play with It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas –receiving a positive response from audiences and critics.
In the Summer of 2015, Shakti was selected from artists around the world and awarded scholarship to become a part of the Caux Artists Program held in Caux, Switzerland. Later that year he also sang Menotti’s ‘The Telephone‘ in concert as Ben and ‘Le Fauteuil’ in a select scenes concert of ‘L’enfant et les Sortilèges‘ by Ravel, an outcome of an Pocket Operas concert conducted by the Neemrana Music Foundation. Later that year, Shakti also sang Count Robinson in Giving Voice’s Opera Scenes Concert excerpt from Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto.
In Fall 2016, Shakti was shortlisted as a finalist for the ‘Young Musician of the Year’ Competiiton held by the Olga&Jules Craen Music Foundation. Later that month he also sang at the Royal Opera Gala as a member of the vocal ensemble, conducted by the Neemrana Music Foundation to commemorate the opening of the Royal Opera House Mumbai (India’s only standing heritage Opera house!)
With a keen interest in dancing styles ranging from Ballroom to Bollywood, Shakti has also trained to dance the social Argentine Tango. Shakti participated as a Debutant for the opening ceremony in the Viennese Ball Gala in fall 2014, conducted by the Austrian Embassy in India. He was then selected to be part of the Opening Ceremony at the 60th OpernBall in Vienna held at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2016- his dance partner and him becoming the First Ever Indian Debutantes at the Ball.
In addition to music, Shakti has a keen interest in all aspects that bring a production together – right from editing scripts, mixing music, diction and speech training, vocal delivery, set and costume design – and has worked as an Assistant Director for school musicals, starting as soon as he graduated from school – and continues to work with students to this day! The schools he has worked with includes the G D Somani School, B D International School (Mumbai), Mayo College, Rajkumar College (Rajkot), Scindia Kanya Vidyala (Gwalior.)
Alongside his versatile performing credits, Shakti is a multidisciplinary artist who writes, designs, photographs and films (selected works and projects can be seen at designbyshakti.com) holding a Bachelor in Mass Media (Advertising) and a Masters in English.