Shweta Harve on “Who Are You?”: Meaning in Music

shweta harve

Shweta Harve, the Founder, Lead Singer, and Guitarist of the indie inspirational music band HridayaSheela, unveils their latest masterpiece, “Who Are You?“. “Who Are You?” is a thought-provoking journey that explores who we truly are and how to find lasting happiness. Inspired by the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, the song infuses music with themes of self-discovery and the impermanence of life. 

Shweta opens up in this interview about the ideas and inspiration behind the song “Who Are You?”. She talks about the struggles of making music that matters in a world driven by social media and shopping. Shweta also reveals details about the song’s unusual creation process, which took place across continents and overcame some incredible challenges,including mixing the song in a place where there was a war.

Pinch Of Sol: The song “Who Are You?” is described as a journey of self-exploration and identity. Can you share what inspired you to delve into these themes?

Shweta: The nature of the human condition is to seek permanent happiness amongst impermanent things. For the songwriter Jay Krishnan, the song emerged spontaneously while pondering on this phenomenon – the insatiable sadness and the unending momentary arrival and departure of joy. 

A significant inspiration for this piece came from the Indian school of non-dualistic teaching called Advaita Vedanta which has at its core the inquiry of ‘who we are’. It advocates reflection on ‘who we are’ under the passing and the ephemeral, the everyday feelings that seldom stay, and the momentary dust of living under the echoes of worldly existence. When we discard the momentary passing phenomenon that we think we are, we discover a timeless uncontaminated universal part of our consciousness that exists beyond the labels, the desires, and the ideas we take to be ourselves. The realisation of this space is the ultimate antidote to the human condition. The song attempts to do this exercise through a series of questions nudging the viewer to not settle for lesser answers and discover their larger, eternal essence. A desperately needed enquiry in times of rampant capitalism and social media toxicity where we outsource our identity to external acquisitions. And therefore inevitable sadness. In essence it is a spiritual enquiry incognito as a song. “Who you see is not You, you are the one who sees.” distils the song’s central theme of exploring the self beyond external appearances and fleeting emotions.

Pinch Of Sol: “Who Are You?” has received remarkable acclaim, topping the World Indie Music Charts and ranking high on the Euro Indie Music Charts. How does it feel to see your song resonate so strongly with listeners globally?

Shweta: It feels surreal to see the song top the World Indie and Euro Indie charts. This song is very close to our heart because of its impactful message and these accolades mean a lot as they underscore the track’s broad appeal and powerful resonance with audiences worldwide. It is very inspiring and motivating as we continue to make more music and push the boundaries of inspirational music. 

Pinch Of Sol: Could you share any memorable moments from the creation process of “Who Are You?”

Shweta: We have created this song with a team sitting in four different geographical locations from the US, Italy, Ukraine, and India. From coordinating the recording of vocal stems to getting all the instrumentation in order for the mixing, and finally getting the music video made, it has been quite an exciting journey of hard work and collaboration. Our Italian Music composer Dario Cei who is a master of instruments spent considerable time getting an impeccable sound quality with the song’s layered composition. Our extended team at Applied Wonder that made the video have toiled in several hours stitching together hundreds of videos to come up with a spectacular, cinematic edit of the song that delivers the lyrics and the theme of who we are beyond what the world makes us. What makes it more heartfelt is that our Audio Mixing & Mastering Engineer, Serhii Cohen, from Ukraine mixed this song literally in a war zone when parts of Kyiv were being shelled by Russia. And finally the most memorable moment for me (Shweta) is that I had to sing some parts of this song, literally from my closet; most of it was of course done at the recording studio. 

Pinch Of Sol: Who are some of your musical influences, and how do they inspire your own creative expression?

Shweta: With the dearth of talent and the legacy of some of the greatest bands and artists out there, here are some of our musical influences: Scorpions, U2, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Rush, Imagine Dragons, Swithfoot, The Script, Phil Collins, The Beatles, Linkin Park, One Republic, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen, among others. These are big shoes to fill – almost impossible; because of their incredible contribution to the world in terms of uniquely memorable music and inspirational lyrics. But their music motivates us (HridayaSheela) to continue their legacy in our own little way. 

Pinch Of Sol: As an emerging voice in the industry, what challenges have you faced?

Shweta: The main challenge by far is the difficulty in getting heard. Even though the industry has changed hugely with streaming platforms and social media, it also means more competition. Next, it has been hard to join the dots between social media and streaming. A viral video doesn’t necessarily translate into a boost in Spotify streams. There is surely a lack of industry know-how for emerging artists – it’s almost like a black box with so many moving parts we just don’t know enough about. There is a lack of clear and actionable data from Digital service providers (DSPs) and finally the challenge of limited revenue streams for artists. Even though we are topping the World Indie and Euro Indie charts with our latest single “Who Are You” and have got pretty decent radio airplays, the process of signing up for revenues from these airplays is rather cumbersome; let alone cracking the code to revenues from other streaming platforms. But even with these challenges, as passionate artists gifted with something meaningful to offer to the world, we will continue to make impactful music. 

Pinch Of Sol: As an artist, how do you continuously find inspiration for your music, and what other themes are you passionate about exploring in your future projects?

Shweta: There is this old saying “When words fail, music speaks”. Our goal is to create glory days of music with profound lyrics. As artists, it is our duty to make responsible music. The primary purpose of our music is to connect with people and influence their emotions, to bring a change and impact people’s life positively. We want to write songs that will make people feel, think, and take them on a musical odyssey that pertains to life and beyond. Our songs will have layers of complexity that will not just address personal exploration, but will also serve as a profoundly moving and expressive commentary on societal dynamics. We will create pieces that will be a combination of meditative qualities of introspective music and the enthralling effects of rock, pop, and folk genres. We also aim to tap into the unlimited potential of human existence through our thought-provoking and introspective lyrical melodies. We promise to bring to the world soul stirring music with heartfelt lyrics and a variety of uniquely electrifying singles to unleash the limitless in each one of us, needed for personal evolution. We aim to push the boundaries of inspirational music through our musical endeavours. Our fusion will result in songs that are calming, invigorating, aesthetically pleasing, and provide an intellectually stimulating listening experience that resonates long after the music fades. 

Pinch Of Sol: The music video for “Who Are You?” enhances the song’s themes with captivating imagery. What was the vision behind the video, and how does it complement the song’s message?

Shweta: The music video is our attempt to stitch together a spectacular, cinematic edit that melds hundreds of videos to deliver the profoundly powerful lyrics and the song’s theme of who we are beyond what the world makes us. Directed by the ingenious poet-songwriter Jay Krishnan and his team at Applied Wonder, the video is a grand, epic God’s eye view of the world, society, people, and emotions self distilled into a moving short film.