Genre-bending Shir Azari doesn’t hold back with the heartfelt release of her latest single, “Not Alone.”
Multitalented Shir Azari is a singer, songwriter and actress hailing from Richmond Hill, Ontario. As one who is frequently compared to both Demi Lovato and Kelly Clarkson, her repertoire pulls strongly from the Pop and R&B genres as she crafts the melodic pieces we know and love.
Her seasoned powerhouse vocals and electric personality are captured in the magnetic performances she puts forward in her music all while exuding traits of being well-spoken, approachable and incredibly driven. As one to stand out from the crowd and fuse together genres, Shir Azari continues to find ways to engage with her fans on an emotional level.
“Not Alone,” draws you into the presentation immediately with the gentle keys and distant strings that shine brightly in the composition heard. The delicate yet empowering vocals that Shir Azari exudes allows us to sink into our seats as we fully take in this elegant piece that holds major Classical elements as it fuses together with Pop and R&B.
The message that Shir Azari is putting across remains simply striking as she reminds listeners that no matter what trials and tribulations they face, they are not alone in this life. This brings home the warm and open embrace that she is known for, especially once the tempo picks up and the dominant drums are offered a chance to gleam through the instrumentation.
Chills easily go down your spine as we zone in on the beautifully factual words that Shir Azari sings expressing the wide vocal range that she carries within herself. The graceful manner in which the vocals have a chance to be heard as a centerpiece yet seamlessly blend into the instrumentation making them whole, is a job extremely well done on the production scale.
Staying true to herself, Shir Azari continues to wow listeners with the heavenly clasp of her performance pulling us in one note at a time.
Congratulations on the release of “Not Alone.” What a beautiful message you send out to listeners! Could you please let us know, what inspired you to create this record?
Thank you! I wrote "Not Alone" based on my own struggle with general anxiety. I also wrote this song to inspire, uplift, and comfort others during their most vulnerable and darkest moments in life. I am dedicated to normalizing mental health conversations and raising awareness about how much we need to talk about, and take care of, our mental health as much as we can.
"Not Alone" is very relatable to many people in different situations, and has great versatility. I've received lots of positive feedback from fans saying this song is great to listen to on repeat for long road trips, or a sing-along in the shower, and even when they need a good cry. "Not Alone" was also written with the intention to be a reminder that we are truly not alone in whatever we are going through because there will always be someone else in this world who is experiencing the same things we are; and there is something comforting in knowing that.
Could you please take us into what the studio session looked like when creating this piece? It sounds like you had a live band and we would love to know about what the experience was like!
I originally wrote "Not Alone" one night on my keyboard with my songbook and my voice recording app on my phone. Everything just poured out of me. The melody and lyrics that I came up with flowed so well that I wrote the entire song within 2 hours. The next morning I looked at it again and tweaked a couple of things to make it absolutely perfect before taking it to the studio. I took my 'skeleton' of a song to a local music producer in Barrie, Ontario, where he used my keyboard playing as the base for the track, and added all of the other instrumental layers you hear in the song today! He played the guitar and the drums on the track, and the other instrumentals are synthetic from the studio's production software. If I had a bigger budget I would have definitely replaced the synthetic instruments with real ones, but I am so proud of what I have created either way!
In the studio, we recorded my vocals within 3 hours. Since the song is so powerful and I have a lot of highs, lows, and long strong notes to sing, we recorded each verse and chorus separately. The producer took me through a loop of each section about 8-10 times in a row so we can pick and choose the perfect take for the final edit of the song. It was such a memorable experience because the studio is where one of my ideas has started to come to life. It was quite magical to think about how what I wrote in my songbook in the 'spur of a moment' is becoming a tangible thing that people can listen to once it's released.
As we know that all artists are different in many ways, what does your songwriting process entail?
Originally my songwriting process would only include my songbook and my voice recording app on my phone. I would start with the lyrics and add a melody to it. But none of those songs were any good (in my opinion) to record and release so they will stay in my songbook forever. But recently, I started learning how to play the keyboard at the beginning of summer. Since then, my songwriting process has changed drastically, and my songwriting skills have skyrocketed.
Now, I play a few chords on the keyboard based on the sound and mood I want to portray for the song. Then I find the right combination of chords that sound good together and determine the order I want to play them in for each part of the song (verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge). Once that is all in place, I play it a few times repeatedly and write the melody for each section. Then I find the right lyrics to fit into the melody.
Every song is written differently with its rhyming schemes and writing styles. For example, "Not Alone" is written from the perspective of me comforting my listeners by telling them they are not alone, so they shouldn't give up hope. I have another song I'm currently recording called "Beauty From Within" (which will be on my album - coming soon) from the perspective of me talking to my bullies from the past, asking them "can you see my beauty from within?". I try my best to use different songwriting techniques for each song I write, but I still try to keep my artist's sound the same for people who enjoy listening to my music for its genuinity, relatability, inspiration, and originality.
What non-musical inspirations do you allow to speak into your music?
I write a lot of my songs based on my own personal experiences and emotions; as many artists do. A lot of artists also write about love, sex, drugs, betrayal, pain, etc. but what makes my music different is, I write about hope, deep emotions, mental health, self-empowerment, and self-motivation. When I write songs, I try not to be too literal with my storytelling and imagery, because I want to leave enough room for my listeners to relate to my music.
For example, some of the lyrics for "Not Alone" are "it's just my anxiety, peeking through the window, thinking of what might be, and where I was before, 'cause I don't know anymore". These lyrics are enough to tell a story of a person who is having an anxiety attack because they're lost within themselves by overthinking about their past and future. But these lyrics are also relatable to anyone who has ever felt this way at any point in their lives and not necessarily just to people who have experienced anxiety attacks before.
I really hope my music is not only something listeners can relate to and enjoy, but I also want to use my art and talents to spread positivity and awareness to the world. I want to make a big impact and music is the only way I know how to do that.
Do you have any other releases lined up before the end of 2020?
As mentioned earlier, I am currently recording a song for my album. I am hoping to release a full-length album with 8-10 songs by late 2021/early 2022. "Not Alone" will feature on the album, and fans will hear 7+ new original songs! I will be working with multiple producers for my upcoming album, so it will be exciting to see how the album will come together next year!
To keep updated on all of my new releases, visit my website shirazarimusic.com and follow me on all social media platforms!