Arts & Life

Singer-songwriter Aditeya Shukla ’22 combines witty lyrics with sunshine pop

Nov. 3, 2021, 9:23 p.m.

When not studying aeronautics and astronautics, Aditeya Shukla ’22 is busy making music. His work has been featured in “The Rolling Stone India,” “The Indian Music Diary” and “The Talented Indian.” A month after being featured, Shukla was performing songs from his newly released EP, “Just Wait, Sunshine,” at The Stanford Daily’s “Off the Record” concert series. In September, he released his latest single, “Purple Heart.”

Originally from New Delhi, Shukla describes his music as a combination of “slacker pop” and “sunshine pop.” He attributes his love for music to his family, saying that his parents always had The Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel playing. Music was a family affair — his parents were always supportive of his musical endeavors, and his grandmother had a degree in music. Shukla’s venture into the space started at just 6 years old, when he heard his older sister play the piano and wanted to mimic her. 

“I’m really, really blessed that in my family, music was such an important thing,” Shukla said.

After starting piano lessons, Shukla set what he calls a “naïve goal” to “learn all the instruments possible,” adding the classical guitar next. Although he fell in love with the instruments themselves, he didn’t appreciate having to practice the same songs over and over, and would instead start improvising and riffing off. Thankfully, his music teacher encouraged such creativity, which Shukla says prompted his love for writing music and not just playing it.

The lyrics of Shukla’s songs range from extremely witty to heartfelt and nuanced. His favorite song lyrics to write were those of his humorous tune, “Zodiacs are Stupid.” 

“Over the past year, this whole idea of zodiacs blew up, and, me being a cusp, I’ve always thought that this is so dumb,” Shukla said. “So I really, really wanted to write a song about it for the past two years, and finally I had this song that’s about me being really mad about something that’s so not important.”

(Photo courtesy of Vandinika Shukla)

Listeners appreciate the levity in Shukla’s music. Rolling Stone India praised his “cheeky takes,” and Shukla’s friend and former roommate, Cole Maxwell ’22, called his music “joyful and easy to listen to” with a “sense of humor.”

Apart from his clever lyrics, Shukla’s music is notable for its ​blend of “electro-pop music with disco beats of the ’80s, which is quite catchy and melodious,” according to “The Indian Music Diaries.”

Shukla says that his music is influenced by The Beatles, St. Motel and Boy Pablo. He aims to create fun, exciting songs that keep both the listener and himself entertained from start to finish. 

“Whenever I’ve tried to make a song, it’s like I don’t want to be bored while I’m making the song, and I don’t want it to be boring when somebody is listening to the song,” Shukla said.

Shukla finds joy in being both a musician and an engineering student, though sometimes he wishes he had more time to spend on music. That’s why the indie artist found a silver lining during the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic — Shukla took a gap year during the public health crisis, which gave him more time to spend on his art. Those close to Shukla say that you can hear his passion in his music.

Shukla’s music “reminds me of him and all the effort and love he puts into his work,” said friend Maitri Paul ’22.

You can listen to Shukla’s music by visiting his linktr.ee, watching his “Off the Record” performance or going to his Friday concert at The Arbor. Shukla is a music columnist for The Daily.

Pann Sripitak is a writer for the Arts & Life section. Contact The Daily’s Arts & Life section at arts ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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