A year ago, Samir Shrestha was sitting in his room and recording cover songs on his mobile phone. Fast forward 12 months, the 19-year-old played his originals at a packed show with people singing along with him. It is safe to say that singing, in the past year, has turned his life on its head.
“It’s surreal because I had never dreamt that things would happen this fast. But, it feels great to have received the love I have from everyone,” says Shrestha.
Now, the teenage Samir Shrestha wants to continue doing what he loves as he aims to establish himself in the music scene and touch the heart of millions of people who have showered him with love over the course of the past year.
“I feel I haven’t done much. It’s been pretty wild, but I know this is just the start and I have to continue to do what I am doing.”
Finding his love in love songs
Samir Shrestha mostly sings love songs. He says he likes them. Growing up idolising singers like Bipul Chhetri and Sajjan Raj Vaidya, he developed a liking for love songs more than any genre.
He would download songs, put them up on his phone and listen to them on a loop. He says he even emulated to sing like Vaidya, who over the past few years has become a sensation in Nepal.
“I like expressing the feeling of love,” he says. “I think people connect with it more and when I read comments about how people relate to my songs, it makes me want to create even more songs.”
Growing up in Budanilakantha of Kathmandu, Samir Shrestha sang. He would sing every time, blasting his favourite songs, which for most parts frustrated his parents, but he persisted. He would spend hours on the guitar, playing and singing whenever he got the chance in school. Encouraged by friends who told him he sang like Vaidya, he continued to practice and by the time was he 15, started to write his own songs as well.
“I always wanted to have an original. The more I wrote, I think the better I got at it. Things happened in life, which I think pushed me to write even more.”
Hitting instant hits
It was around then when Samir Shrestha wrote his first released song Chaar Dewar. He says he wrote the song when he was in a long-distance relationship. But, he only released it after completing high school after being asked by his friends to release it.
“I’d gone to Manthali with my high school friends and I played the song there and that is when my friends forced me to upload the song,” he says.
The song was an instant hit. Samir Shrestha’s deep voice along with the relatable lyrics got him a lot of praises from everyone. The comments on the song show how much he touched the heart of people and that encouraged him to continue doing this.
Following the success of this song, he then started looking for an agency to tie up with. Nepal does not have many agencies or a record label to help artists like him. But he came across Garage Entertainment, an artist and event management company based in Kathmandu.
“These guys have helped me a lot. I’ve learnt so much from everyone here. The artists have been especially helpful because I’ve got to learn so much from them.”
Saroj Kumar Khadka, his manager, says that he’s come a long way since he started and watching him grow as an artist makes him particularly proud.
“The passion he has for his art is amazing. Despite all the challenges, Samir doesn’t step back,” says Khadka. “He’s so young but he has extraordinary writing skills which has made him quite popular not just in Kathmandu but all over Nepal.”
It was through Garage Entertainment that Samir Shrestha played his first show as well. Standing in front of hundreds of people including his mother, he sang. Even though he was anxious, he knew it was his time to seize the moment and he did exactly that.
“It was very emotional seeing my mother watching me sing. I think I’ll remember that day forever.”
A little over a month ago, Samir Shrestha released his fifth single Thamana Haat. During this period, the song has been streamed over 3 million times, which goes to show how popular he is.
When asked if he is preparing for an album, he says he has not planned that as he wants to continue working on singles because he wants to make sure the quality of his album is as good as the singles he has released so far.
“I will one day, but right now, my focus is on producing quality singles for people.”
While Samir Shrestha says he will stay true to his core, that is melancholic songs, he does plan on collaborating with different music producers and composing songs that have some drops on them.
“Why not, right,” he says.
Along with his, Samir Shrestha also wants to tour the country and play in different venues as he gears up for what is likely to be the busiest period of his life so far.
“I’m looking forward to what is to come.”