YEREVAN/KOLKATA — Shayne David Hyrapiet, is an Indian singer and professional entertainer of Armenian descent who rose to fame as a vocalist after winning a series of competitions during his schooling years. The Indian mass media called him “a phenomenal versatile track performer the city of Kolkata has produced over the last decade.”
Born on May 21, 1980, he has been singing since 2001 and has now become one of the most recognized faces in the entertainment circuit in India with an equally large international market to compliment his growing popularity.
Shayne has covered over 400 events spanning solo concerts, corporate launches, private parties, weddings, sangeets and club nights. His list of music spans the very latest and best Bollywood hits, Punjabi Bhangra, the good old Hindi remixes and English hits covering the genres of rock and roll, ballads, disco and pop. Shayne has performed with Shaan, Bombay Viking, Atif Aslam, Stereo Nation, Shibani Kashyap, Jal, Sukhbir, Kunal Ganjawala, K.K. and has also performed for the President of India. Shayne has performed in Canada, the United States, and Middle East and has toured Switzerland, Australia, Bangladesh and India extensively.
Shayne, I first heard about you in the Indian documentary “My Armenian Neighborhood” by Samimitra Das about the Armenians in today’s India. Your name in Armenian is pronounced Hayrapet. How do the Indians and Westerns pronounce your name?
The Westerners mostly get it right. Sometimes Indians who are not familiar with the name say Harpreet thinking that I am Punjabi.
For my generation Indian pop singing is connected with the songs from the movie “Disco Dancer” and Mithun Chakraborty. Where is Indian pop music now?
Unfortunately, it is in an advanced stage of degeneration. Any nonsensical lyrical rubbish can be turned into a hit once a beat is added to it.
Indian pop singers particularly combine lots of dance and acting in their performances.
I guess they do it to take away the audience’s attention from the bad lyrics. Not in all cases though, some songs do have good meaning.
You have been singing since your school years, yet you studied in St. Xavier’s College for a bachelor’s degree in commerce. So do you divide your life between two professions or singing is your main occupation?
It is my main occupation. I am terrible at math and accounting. I sing mostly Bollywood Punjabi and English songs at clubs, hotels and weddings around the country.
Apart from celebrating Christmas on January 6 we are mostly Indian Armenian in nature, blood and manne, meaning, we eat lots of Indian food and celebrate all the Indian festivals and also wear Indian clothes. Honestly speaking, we are more Indian in our ways, than Armenian. Armenian food and feasts are very rare in our lives, and I am not familiar with Armenian music either. However, we do go to church often. But and I do not think there is any Armenian public life in Kolkata.
Please tell us about your family.
My father Peter is half Armenian, half Anglo-Indian. My mother, Heather Hyrapiet is Anglo-Indian too. My father has been the president of the Armenian Club of Kolkata. My wife Nidhi is Punjabi Christian and my two girls are baptized Armenians.
Have you ever cooperated with any Armenians worldwide?
I was coordinating with some ex-Armenian college friends of mine to perform in Iran or Armenia, but it did not work out. Maybe we will try again sometime in the future.
Ten years ago in a message to me you expressed your hope to visit Armenia in near future, so it has not happened yet?
Unfortunately, no. I have not been able to visit Armenia yet. Hopefully – one day!
How did COVID-19 influence your activity?
It brought my life as a singer to a complete halt. Work has dwindled but I believe in miracles and I am sure things will get better in the future.
In our times it is hard to talk about upcoming projects. Do you have some?
I have none at this time. I spend all my days with my two Beautiful daughters Skyla Serah, who is going to be ten and Sierra Ann, who is going to be seven and my family for which I am most grateful.