BIMM London Student, Ina Shai goes Behind the Track on her recent release ‘Colour Me’
What was the inspiration behind your track?
I was feeling down and started thinking about what it really felt like. Sometimes you feel sad for no good reason really, sort of empty and you just need something to lift you up and colour in your black thoughts. It’s pretty simple but that’s where the whole metaphor and idea of the song came from. I wanted it to be a clear, strong message. We all feel down or know those around us near or far who are struggling and it’s them I think about every time I sing the song.
What did your songwriting process involve?
I got the idea for lyrics first. ‘When I’m faceless you colour me, empty soul is no good for me,…’. Then I sat down by the piano, started playing some simple chords and sang the lyrics on top. I wrote the song by myself and later on developed it with my keys player Hans Kristjan Aljas who was in charge of the arrangement and production.
The making of the arrangement was a very collaborative process and my whole band was involved in it. Niccolo Rebecchi played drums, Rob McDonald on bass, Vincenzo Capodivento came up with a guitar riff, Katie Waygood had some great ideas for harmonies. There were also other backing vocalists who sang on the song: Olivia Nelson, Dire Pitan, Patrick Reis and Janek Valgepea. Hans also made a beautiful string arrangement that was played by the music students of University of West London (Katre Bozoglu on violin, Marietta Szalόki on viola, Sam Creer on cello). So the song was really a big collaborative project that brought a lot of creativity together to make a song for everyone – and I just want to say a big thank you to everyone involved!
Is there are story behind the song?
I think about life a lot and it’s the recurring theme in my music. Although writing the intro of the song was triggered by my own emotions, the song was really developed through empathy for someone very close to me who was facing difficulties and depression. I think depression and mental illness in general, particularly in our industry, is a topic we still don’t talk enough about – which is sad when you realise how common it is. It is a subject that I want to write about more openly and with the song ‘Colour me’ I unintentionally did that.
Can you describe your sound in three words?
Catchy, soulful, and deep.
What’s the best thing about studying at BIMM?
Definitely the people you meet here! Meeting other talented musicians, networking and just being in an environment that pushes you to get better and better. I’ve been really creative and productive since being here; I released my debut EP Overload in October, played at some great venues, and my song plays regularly on BBC Radio London. I also recently won the Music Innovation Charter Champion award for which we’re putting out an amazing project with the Tree Charter and Woodland Trust. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without my band and my manager, Nikki Camilleri, all of whom I met at BIMM. We have the same ambition and drive and this is really what keeps me going. At the same time I have expanded my musical knowledge and really delved deep into figuring out who I want to be as an artist. I’m so excited about revealing our newer projects and songs in the coming months.