Exploring the musician within
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
Every artist needs to find their voice, their musical flavour in order to connect with their fans, to connect with anyone who comes across their music. It’s not easy, but it can make or break someone’s musical career. Piyath Rajapakse is someone who knows this first-hand. Although not an unfamiliar name has definitely made his presence known to Sri Lankan audiences with some of his hit singles, such as Dawasak Ewi and Yali Hamuwenne Kedhinadha Api, all available on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify. To learn more about him, his musical journey and what he has planned to reveal in the future, Teen Inc reached out to Piyath.
“Music was something that was always in the family,” Piyath shared. “My father, Lalith Rajapakse was a stage drama actor and so we grew up with a lot of music in our home, from a young age. Whenever we had people over, I was often given the opportunity to sing,” he reminisced. Although music was a part of his life from a young age, it wasn’t until Piyath was a youth, obtaining an education in Vidura College that he became a victim to the music bug. “It was a school musical show,” he shared. “I still remember how it felt as I stepped onstage and the lights came on. All of my friends were cheering for me. It was an unforgettable experience, and it was the moment when I decided to pursue the goal of being a musician.”
Of course, that experience lingered within Piyath for many years. But for him, as it is with everyone, life moved on. Finishing his school years, Piyath continued to nurture his dream of becoming a musician while working a nine-to-five job in one of Sri Lanka’s major companies. It was during this time that Piyath fell upon a turn of events that would lead to his big break. Participating in the company’s singing/talent competition, Piyath wowed his peers. His performance was enough to impress the team who were handling the music and sound for the show to convince him to take part in the then popular reality show, Sirasa Super Star. At first, Piyath was not entirely interested, but with a little persuasion, he ended up auditioning for the competition, just in time before auditions closed. “At first I participated to see how far I could go,” Piyath said. “But I ended up winning the competition.” Being crowned winner of Sirasa Super Star season seven, Piyath now had the opportunity and popularity to start his career in music.
Some bumps and hurdles
Of course, life wasn’t smooth sailing at first for Piyath. It rarely ever is for anyone. But with dedication and perseverance, his music started to become noticed. Not only that, Piyath also established his own musical group, WePlus while managing his solo career as well. With all this, Piyath found himself at crossroads; pursue music while employed, or go all-in and start life as a full-time artist. Piyath chose the latter, and has been a full-time singer, musician, instrumentalist in the industry for the past three years. Recently, his efforts have begun to be noticed once again thanks to his latest singles.
Inspired by many
We wanted to know what some of Piyath’s musical inspirations are. “I listen to a lot of different genres of music, and I try to learn from every song I listen to. It would be tough to say specifically where I draw my influence from,” he admitted. However, it is clear that Piyath’s passion for music goes far beyond the profession. It clearly is an inseparable part of his life.
The industry and the people
“Sri Lanka’s music industry is definitely growing, with a lot of youthful, young talent appearing,” Piyath continued. It is his opinion that those who do pursue a life in the music industry within Sri Lanka have become a lot more educated in music and sound, and that there is a lot of interesting new artists who are experimenting with music, adding diversity which helps lifts the industry. “But truth be told, the industry is in a bit of a slump because of the pandemic,” he shared. “With public gatherings not being safe anymore, it is tough for people to come together and enjoy music as we used to, and also difficult for artists to earn a living and collaborate with other artists.” We asked for Piyath’s opinion on what his thoughts are about the connection between legendary artists and rising ones. “I don’t think I have met any established artist who didn’t have a sense of camaraderie towards fellow artists,” he shared. “I’m grateful to have met with a number of industry legends and have always received encouragement and good will. “That being said, I would like to see more established artists working and collaborating in music with rising musicians and starts,” he added. “With their experience, and talent, they have an amazing opportunity to groom the rising generation of musicians.”
Finding your voice
Piyath agrees that it is essential for an artist to ‘find their voice,’ in order to create their own personal brand and identity as a musician. “That’s what attracts people to listen to you,” he continued. “It helps you stand out, apart from other artists, which helps you develop your personal brand in music. Every artist should be conscious in developing their personal brand and voice,” he said. Piyath agrees that life is not easy being a musician, and that those who do wish to pursue music as a career, should do so out of passion, and not for seeking recognition and fame. “First, you have to learn and equip yourself with the skills necessary,” he continued. “Also, being aware on how to build their personal brand is essential.” “But most of all, it’s important for artists to be able to be among the people, and understand their thoughts, their feeliwngs. As artists, we capture these feelings and thoughts then help relate these feelings to listeners through our music.”
More to come
Of course, this isn’t the last we shall hear from Piyath Rajapakse. He has been working hard on a number of new projects, including a collaborative work that he shared will be released in the near future.
(Photo courtesy - Promod Kavishka, Make up - Hashara Kodithuwakku)