Duava: Rising on the International Music Scene
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
There are a number of Sri Lankans living overseas who have not only been able to succeed in the work that they do, but also maintain that connection with their roots. One such individual is Duava, a rising artist in the music industry living in Canada who has gained much attention over the world for his musical talent.
Although Duava usually creates music in the English language using a fusion of pop, R&B and other genres, his latest single, Anduru Yaame will be the first time he releases a song where he performs in Sinhala, which warrants much excitement. Ceylon Today had the opportunity to speak with Duava himself, along with his manager The L J to learn more about Anduru Yaame and Duava’s experience as a Sri Lankan-Canadian artist.
A natural result
Born in Bahrain, Duava subsequently spent his early childhood years in Sri Lanka, before his parents moved to Canada with him in search of better living conditions, and has harboured an enthusiasm for passion and music even from his younger years. “There wasn’t really a specific moment that was a turning point for me to pursue music,” Duava shared, noting that it was more of a gradual process that led him down the path he is on today.
For Duava, it was the accumulation of small moments in his life that gave him the passion to pursue creating his own music for a living. Something that is organic, and a result of his childhood love for music. He shared one such moment with us. “I remember that my mother bought a keyboard for my brother to teach him piano,” Duava recalled. “Although he never took a liking to it, I remember playing with the keyboard, trying different notes, I still have that keyboard today and use it even today when I’m making music, in all of my productions,” he shared. This passion for music continued, which led Duava to meet The L J, and
Duava has continued to experiment with his music, and working with L J, he has been involved in and has produced a number of noteworthy singles such as Action (collaborating with Mandrazo and MOHA), Save Us All and Gammane, which was in collaboration with Costa, another Sri Lankan rapper who is operating overseas, which have been gaining international attention from Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand and around the world and of course Sri Lanka, with Gammane becoming the most played song on Apple Music in Sri Lanka. Being an artist and a creative has its high moments, as well as its lows. Duava noted that it truly depends on the person if they were to call a particular time in their career a high or a low. As for the present, Duava believes that the recent attention to his work is definitely something he is thankful and happy for.
Hot after the success of Gammane, Duava felt he should try to make a song which captured his unique flavour of music with the Sinhala language. “I came up with a melody, and worked with a few songwriters to come up with the lyrics,” he said. “Costa was a big help in creating the lyrics, as well as DKM who is also on the song. “Although I can speak Sinhala and use Sinhala to speak to family in my household, you’d probably know that the Sinhala language in songs, music is somewhat different,” Duava shared. “And I did have to ask help from my parents in the process of making the song. It was a bit of a process, but now, the lyrics are finalised, and when I listen to the song, I can’t help but feel chills.”
“Although my Sinhala is fairly good, and grew up speaking Sinhala at home, this is the first time that I actually sung Sinhala in a song or used the language melodically. It was a new taste for me and it was exciting part to explore. I’m just really excited that everyone else gets to listen to it as well.”
Sri Lankan listeners
Duava’s music has also been widely received by Sri Lankan listeners as well, which he is very thankful for. “I’m just appreciative of the support and love that the Sri Lankan listeners have been giving me all this time,” Duava continued. “There are very few Sri Lankan musicians who are overseas, representing the country, making good music, and being able to do that and be part of this is something that I’m proud of.”
The YV connection
“Anduru Yaame is a song about connection, losing somebody, and I’m so happy that I get to be part of the song as well,” shared LJ, who is an artist himself, having created a number of tracks. L J also shared his excitement to introduce the flavour YV (Young Veterans) flavour of music, which is a brand and group comprising of a number of artists, producers and engineers who work collectively, with the Sri Lankan audience.
Something which he notes normally wouldn’t have been as easily reachable if it weren’t for Duava. Duava also noted that Anduru Yaame wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Costa, who helped expose many Sri Lankan listeners to Duava and his music, as well as DKM who helped Duava with Costa with the lyrics. Both Duava and L J also wanted to give a special mention to Sandun Nissanka from Serendip Records and Bonfire, who were of great help to the two artists.”
As for what lays in store for Duava after Anduru Yaame, he didn’t want to reveal too much but did let us know that he has a few more songs planned to be released this year. Speaking with Duava, it was clear that although living many kilometres afar, his love and affinity for Sri Lanka continues on. His music is exciting, fresh and has heart with every note and with Anduru Yaame, Duava has a chance to share that with his listeners both in Sri Lanka and around the world.