This week on Feature Friday, we’re highlighting young Canadian talent, Shobhit Banwait. Playing the tabla, traditional hand drums from India, is his forte and he has no intention of stopping now. He uses the simple beats created by the tabla and can add his intricate touch to any English or Hindi song. The humble artist, with millions of fans around the world, took the time out to answer some of our most burning questions!
When asked about his childhood, Shobhit Banwait admitted to having a very similar upbringing as you and I. “My parents never forced me into any career to be honest.” He continues on to say that his parent’s main concern was his success, in any career path he wished to embark on. Good grades in school was obviously a big deal to the supportive duo and so was his happiness. Even today, his family is very proud of Shobhit’s international success and is so thankful he is following his dreams. Like any typical Punjabi parents, feedback and the wisdom to remain grounded is always given to their son, which is why Banwait remains humble despite going viral. He reminded us that he continuously gives credit to God for all the positivity that has come his way.
Shobhit reminisced about how his father spent the early 80’s singing in live bands, which could be how he was initially exposed to his musical side. Along with singing, Mr. Banwait played a bit of dholak, another drum belonging to traditional Indian instruments, at religious and spiritual congregations, which is where Shobhit first gained the interest. So at the age of 13 is when he first began his journey from the dholak, to now the tabla. After watching his father display his musical talents in public, Shobhit decided to learn some of the musical basics from a teacher in the same congregation his father performed for. Shobhit recalls it being an easy transition from dholak to tabla since he was always intrigued by the sound of it. “I used to watch him play and sing all the time. I started playing in interest by ear and I picked it up pretty well.”
It wasn’t long after Banwait first showed interest in the tabla that he actually played in public. Under the same place of worship where his story began is where he made the bold decision to play on stage when no one else seemed to be available to perform the hymns. “I was pretty nervous and shy to go up on the stage but slowly I got used to it”, he says. After that unexpected performance, Shobhit was in the spotlight once again as a 6th grader for a talent show at his school. He remembered the simple “taals” from the spiritual center and owned that middle school stage.
Fast forward a decade and Instagram, the international platform for millennials to share and promote their aspirations, launched. At this point Banwait was already performing at a professional level with bands. His popularity was already local but he felt that this was the right time to let the rest of the world hear what he had to offer. With videos circulating on Facebook and YouTube, Shobhit tells us that he genuinely believes it was social media that helped make him viral and get him to where he is today.
One of the first covers was actually with his dholak over a decade ago! He covered Punjabi MC’s “Hogaya Punjabi” which later led to doing American covers with his tabla like “What Does The Fox Say?”, a fun song that went viral in the States. “It was one of those viral songs that many people found funny so I did it as a joke and threw it up on Youtube”. Well that “joke” is what led up to his success! His told us his most favorite cover would have to be “How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris which went viral and has millions of views on YouTube! He believes the fusion of the melody from the tabla and the original track fit just right and we can’t help but agree.
When asked about his inspirations, Shobhit led his answer with, “The best players in the world including Zakhir Hussain, Tari Khan, my father of course.” With inspirations on one side, artists he would love to collaborate with include local Toronto Hip Hop artist Drake and urban God, The Weeknd.
Although he’s known more for his covers to English music, Shobhit has a soft spot for Hindi and Punjabi too. “I don’t mind either. I love both!” he exclaimed. He’s been focusing on more English records for now so he can target the Non Desi crowds and have them too fall in love with the sound of the tabla
Who knows what’s in store for the young talent but he lets us in on a secret; “I would love to do my own album, something original. Production is something I’d like to get into so that I can create my own music. It’s tough to keep covering other people’s songs so I’ll definitely get creative and start creating sounds for myself and other artists as well.”
We wish you the best of luck Shobhit and will definitely keep an eye out for those originals!