Shida Shahabi is a Swedish-Iranian pianist / composer, currently based in Stockholm, whose debut album is set for release later in 2018, having been sent to us at the end of 2017.
Born in the Swedish capital in 1989 to parents who had recently fled the Iran-Iraq war, Shida studied piano from the age of 9 and began writing melodies on the instrument as soon as she could compose with two hands. She grew up listening to a broad range of music, surrounded by 70s Persian pop at home whilst watching countless hours of MTV, her parents also had a CD collection of classical composers, and as a child Shida would listen to Mozart or Tchaikovsky and pick up pieces on piano by ear without having the patience to learn it note for note from sheet notation. Discovering punk and grunge at 11 years old, she began levitating towards bands like The Cure, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo in her teens, and continued on discovering post-rock, ambient, krautrock and more experimental stuff. She notes that 'I dont know if the music is necessarily an influence for me, maybe some way unconsciously. But I get more inspired by a bands or an artists artistic practice and learning how they work. Its been inspiring to find curious composers who can write film scores or collaborate with other art forms whilst musically trying out material in very different constellations and other genres.'
After giving up on classical music to study fine art at The Royal institute of Art in Stockholm in 2009, Shida soon returned to music-making having found its directness and emotional aspect lacking in the art world. She began playing synthesizers and other keyboard instruments for a number of different local artists / bands (including Rebekka Karijord, Linnea Olsson, Sibille Attar, Small Feet, Elias Krantz) and worked purely with sound-related art during her studies. Since leaving college in 2013, Shida has been working with varied forms of music and sound art. She has made site specific sound installations, continues to play in different bands/ constellations and writes music both solo and for dance, film, theatre and fine art contexts.
Citing film music as being a big inspiration, Shidas career in scoring film is still in its infancy, though she has gained some experience in writing for film commercials. She worked on the animated Swedish short film The Burden (directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr), helping to arrange parts of composer Hans Appelqvists score as well as playing piano on it. Premiered in 2017, the film received recognition Cannes, Sundance and TIFF. Shida also wrote for another Swedish short film, Schoolyard Blues (directed by Maria Eriksson) which again premiered in early 2017 and was selected for TIFF kids and by other festivals like Karlovy Vary Film Festival and Olympia international Film Festival.
Shida has high hopes to make 2018 a big year career-wise. She signed to 130701 in February, after the label were floored by the beauty of her album recordings. As well as she is aiming towards a deeper involvement in film scoring, her time as a solo artist looks set to take flight with her first live performances planned and the release of her debut set for later in the year.