Sheena Melvani is an artist with an ever-growing tribe of followers on social media, thanks mostly to her roots as a singer and songwriter. Sheena uses social media to inspire, communicate and influence with a positive spirit.
You may already be a fan of the singer and her “Interrupted” series on TikTok. Her life experiences, her conversations and her talent have allowed her to develop a multi-million strong fan base on various social media platforms. Sheena is not just a social media influencer but an inspirational artist who has made a place for herself with the entertaining tangle of music, comedy and pranks.
Sheena spoke to SEEMA from her home in Boston about her journey, during which music has been a constant companion, and the social media fame she has earned.
- On being born in Montreal but still keeping deep Indian connections.
My family is from Mumbai, India. We did summers there with my grandparents. My father was born in India, bounced around a little bit, lived in Gibraltar for some time and moved to Canada. There was always that sense of culture and true feeling of our heritage within the home and we were exposed to it when we would visit my grandparents back home in India.
- On perfecting her talent and following her musical passion.
When I was younger I don’t remember a time I wasn’t singing. It’s something that has been woven into my childhood and my lifestyle. My grandfather was a singer and a composer in India. Music was definitely part of my makeup and brought me a lot of joy. It was something that my parents encouraged immediately and got me piano and other lessons. Also there was a teacher that I give a lot of credit for all of this. She came to our school when I was in the second or the third grade and had me sing happy birthday and realized that I needed to be in her choir.
- On making music – a career choice.
I was interested in music in any shape, or form, whether it was choir classes, singing lessons or piano classes. It just became part of my lifestyle. I’m a very nervous person, I would need a big push to get on stage to sing but once I was on stage, it’s like something just clicked and made sense. To me that was where I felt like I belonged. That’s what I love most about singing is that I make this connection with people from onstage, I can look at them and we share this moment we share this bond together. I crave that connection. It’s just something that makes me feel whole.
- Her story behind the viral clip of a performance at home while being heckled, that exploded on social media.
When the pandemic hit, my kids were home and my family was home. And I said what do I do now? My husband said, you sing, and my family said you sing. So I started to do these live broadcasts on Facebook and Instagram. That started out maybe two to three times a week because everybody was home and everybody was sad. Everybody was lonely and trying to digest what was happening in the world. So that was my little contribution to society, people would give me requests, almost like a human jukebox, and I’ll sing if I knew it. So I did that and one night after one of my live shows I thought of recording a clip to put it up on Instagram and that’s when the heckling started. I was singing this song ‘If the world was ending’ and this heckling started in the background. I had this clip and it was so funny.
- On the identity of “The Real Indian Dad,” the in-house heckler?
I’m going to leave that to everyone’s imagination – the heckler. Slowly but surely that heckling was what got people interested. Well, it is somewhat obvious about who he may or may not be. This is the dynamic in our house and we caught it on camera because of the dynamic of what was happening before. It was not orchestrated or anticipated and it was kind of a right place, right time moment. This is how we are, we laugh and we take things lightly.
- On the sibling rivalry behind the social media frenzy and the Tik Tok craze.
My brother had been telling me for months to get on Tik Tok, that it is really blowing up, and you got to just try it. We had this little pool between my brother, my sister in law, my husband, my cousin’s… Just a few of us. We had this bet going that the first person to hit 1,000 views on one of their videos is going to win the bet. I don’t even know what the prize was yet. There I was with this very funny clip and I threw it up on Tik Tok. And the next day, we found that my clip had taken off . I think it had 10,000 or 12,000 views and I was blown away.
- Her advice to young content creators.
For me, it’s the content that can be shared across generations. Children can share it with their grandparents, grandparents can share it with their children. Also, there’s no profanity. There is a little bit of innuendo once in a while, but it’s all clean.
- Her connection with an invisible audience as a performer.
It’s a different kind of connection, but I still feel very connected. I still feel very grateful to be able to share that connection. I spend hours answering my private messages, answering the DMs, commenting on the videos. The messages that we’ve got over the last year and a half, are so touching, and so real. The connection is probably also the secret sauce because you know, engagement is just as important. I feel very blessed to be able to say that this is my job, this is my work.
- On her forthcoming album.
This has been like my life’s work and it’s all coming to this one point where I’m finally able to release some original music. I’ve been working at this music for years and I was finally at a place where I was ready to share it. I’ve been in the studio for the last year and we’re going to release the EP sometime this year.