Valentine Shipley, who was recently in the national Capital performing at Harley Rock Riders, has worked with the likes of Louis Banks and Astaad Deboo and with Grammy Award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and also played with India’s leading bands – Parikrama and Silk Route. He is also the founding member of the famous “Friends of Music”, the only music club of its kind in this country to provide a platform to young artists for the promotion of original music and bringing together performers from various genres of music on a common platform. Excerpts from an interview:
When did you first start singing?
I started singing at the age of 4, as music, as I call is our family disease, was all around my home. Music comes as a legacy from both my dad and mom. My ma was a trained classical singer, dad was a musician and a priest. So there were lots of musical instruments in the house and records as we called them LP’s, spool tape recorder, church choir, school choir, then bands even before passing out of school. My first performance on stage was in Lucknow when I was five in front of 10,000 people at a big Christian conference.
Who are your musical inspirations?
My music inspirations have been Elvis Presley, Pat Boone, Abba, Beatles, Jim Reeves, RD Burman, Kishore Kumar, Begum Akhtar, Mozart, Beethoven later Eric Clapton, Santana, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel, Boney M, Deep Purple, AC/DC, Lionel Ritchie, Led Zeppelin, George Benson, Jagjit Singh. The list is infinite.
You were part of a ‘Glee club’ in school. Tell us more about it.
It was a music club in my school, St Xavier’s, Delhi founded by my music guru and a prodigy of a composer, piano player and conductor of music ParamVir. We were meeting three times a week after school for vocal exercise, going through scores of great musicals like Jesus Chris Superstar, Joseph and his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita etc. All by the legendary Andrew LLoyd Webber. Our school St Xavier’s also produced these awesome productions. It was a pioneering effort in this country.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
My Guitar, my family and especially daughter Princess as I call her Diva Faith Shipley, my iPod, my Bible-which I consider to be a Handbook Manual for Life, and Love.
How do you feel about the way people interpret your songs?
It’s a great honour and a very humbling experience to hear interpretations and different renditions of my songs by a cross generation of folks.
What job do you think you would be doing now if you didn’t have your music career?
None, never thought except music which is my passion and I believe I get to live a very blessed and charmed life to have my passion as my profession. It’s a very select percentage of folks to have this gift.
Which has been your favorite place to tour?
Every place has an energy and vibe of its own and each is special. But I love touring in India as it’s so vast and infinitely incredible and huge...and one lifetime is not enough to discover more and more music, cultures, stories and awesome people. Europe and Australia are also pretty awesome. Now I consider myself a “musicianary” a term I coined meaning a missionary and a musician combined and a storyteller. With the recent opportunity that Harley-Davidson has given me, I can travel across cities in India and meet different people to celebrate music. This is something that I thoroughly enjoy and Harley Rock Riders is a brilliant initiative to bring together various people to enjoy a common passion.
What are your favorite songs?
This is a tough call. It changes with my state of mind. But if I had to list top 5 they would be - ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’- Simon and Garfunkel, ‘My Way’-Frank Sinatra, ‘Sultans of Swing’- Dire Straits, ‘Amazing Grace’-Traditional Gospel, ‘Wonderful Tonight’-Eric Clapton and ‘Black Magic Woman’ by Santana.