A self-taught Chilliwack musician recently released his first EP and he’s sharing it with listeners for free.
Nikhil Sharma of Nsmelodies finished his three-song album ‘Meet Again’ after a year of pandemic difficulties and financial hardships.
“I did lots of work on it. Lots of overnight sessions… lots of hours. Lots of no sleep,” he said. “It’s my baby, it’s my project. I wanted to make sure it’s perfect.”
Sharma. 26, is a former student and current teacher assistant and studio manager at School of Audio Engineering (SAE) in North Vancouver. He began working there in February 2020, and a month later the school was shutdown because of the pandemic.
“I thought my life was over. I had no clue what to do. I was sitting at home doing nothing,” he said.
SAE opened up again in July and he began working on the album in August of 2020. Then the school closed again in September. By January, things were finally (mostly) back to normal.
He describes his style as “pop and R&B with world elements.”
“My beats are pop/R&B but when I play the music it’s arranged in Indian style,” he said. “I’ve combined the two. It’s quite unique.”
Sharma is Indian and grew up in Fiji and everyone in his family is a musician.
“I’ve been playing almost since I was born. My dad is a drummer, my grandfather is a drummer.”
His father had a band in Fiji where they would cover Bollywood songs and Sharma recalls being fascinated as he watched the band – especially the pianist.
He wanted to learn how to play so he took band in school when he was about 13 and also began teaching himself at home.
“When I was practicing piano (around age 14) I would literally be in my room the whole time and I’d just study notes – note by note. I didn’t know how to practice, so I was just looking it up on YouTube,” Sharma said. “And then it became muscle memory… and then slowly I was learning the chords, and structures and how to position your fingers.”
He can play the piano, trombone, drums and trumpet, plus “a bit” of saxophone, guitar and bass guitar.
“All of it’s self-taught.”
But he likes the piano best. He plays it every day.
“It’s very melodic. I can play anything in any chord, any key and it’s going to sound just beautiful,” Sharma said.
Now he’s taken his talent of playing music and combined it with what he learned at SEA to create his EP.
The songs – Find A Way, Meet Again, and Let Go – are about lots of memories, stories and life events, both good and bad.
“All the emotions came to this album.”
With the pandemic, school closures and the hour-and-a-half drive to and from SAE in North Vancouver, it took Sharma a year to put the entire album together.
His original plan was to have it done in three months but he realized that wasn’t doable. He noticed how fatigued his ears would get after teaching. The drive alone into North Vancouver would sometimes lead to headaches.
He learned not to rush it.
“If you’re having a bad session, just go home. Just let it naturally come to you,” he said.
Sharma plays all the instruments on the album and sings all the vocals. He also composed, produced, recorded and edited the entire thing himself at the school.
Every night before SAE would close for the night, Sharma would play something on the school’s grand piano to relax before his long drive home.
“It’s very therapeutic. It really cleans your mind, cleans your soul,” Sharma said. “That’s what my album is about… when you’re sitting down listening to it, there’s beautiful melodies and arrangements everywhere. You’ll be at peace. It’s a very feel-good type of EP.”
The free digital download of Nikhil Sharma’s album Meet Again is available on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music by searching Nsmelodies. Or, go to linktr.ee/nsmelodies where you’ll find all the links.
A CD version of the album is planned for the future.