Many people feel they're "born to rock," yet very few can claim to have actually been born rocking, like Shanti. Surrounded by music literally since she was in the womb, Shanti explains "My mom was pregnant with me during a Rock Benefit they were playing at Gazzari's and she says I kicked to the beat and rocked out in her belly." Born in Hollywood to a successful Canadian musician/ writer/artist father and an equally artistic and talented mother, Shanti had already circled the globe several times over with her family by the age of 8.
At the age of fourteen, Shanti's life took an unexpected turn. A rare, violent strain of meningitis brought her comatose, and close to death. "I experienced the light and everything that went along with it, " she explains, matter-of-factly. "And being given a choice to either be finished and move on, or come back and share myself, and I chose to come back." After the illness passed, the future songstress felt like she had a clear slate, "that there was something I had to do in life but wasn't sure what…the things that seemed important to me before, didn't matter anymore. What was important was to enjoy my life." And so she did. Though still surrounded by music, Shanti had no interest in playing her own until her teenage years, when a visiting friend picked up her father's guitar and simply sang a song. "I don't know what song it was, I just remember thinking that was a really powerful thing. It was really cool that she didn't have to rely on anyone and could just sing a song like that. I wanted to do that!" The budding musician learned a few chords from her father here and there, then received a guitar of her own on her 18th birthday from the ever-supportive parents. A few months later came graduation time, and while most kids went off to college, Shanti, still unsure of what she should do with her life, sold her beloved dirtbike and headed off to India with an open-ended ticket, an open mind and guitar on her back to "see what happens." What happened was that indescribable magic of music and human connection. Over and over Shanti shared her songs there to an always enthusiastic, appreciative audience. "It's a great feeling to know that you're connecting with people on a deeper level, (even when they don't speak English). That's the power of music. What other medium is so powerful that you don't need words?" she asks. While in India not only did Shanti discover her newfound talent, but she befriended a popular four-piece New York punk band who happened to be traveling through as well, guys whom she still credits with "inspiring the rock side of me that was always there."
The post-India path eventually lead Shanti to Los Angeles, where she cut her songwriting teeth in coffeehouses and music festivals, returning to her homes in Victoria, BC and Idaho for months at a time to teach snowboarding. The seeds of friendship planted with the singer of the punk band she'd met back in India blossomed into romance, ultimately leading to marriage four years after their chance encounter. Shanti satisfied her wanderlust a bit on her husband's tour schedule, while perfecting her own compositions at home during downtime-which brings us to This Moment, the nine-song DIY debut the LA Times has already dubbed "a sassy pop gem."
From the opening lightning-like riffs of "Fool for Love" to the simple beauty of "Amazing," Shanti's vocal influences are evident in every second of This Moment. Citing Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Patsy Cline, Elvis and Nat King Cole as some of her favorites, she explains, "I think all of those singers really used their voices as instruments. I like to be moved by peoples' presence in a song. I like to feel a singer really cares about what they're saying." Her own 'silver-lining' philosophy is displayed in the lyrical maturity of cuts like "Inside of Me," ("I don't need to be anyone but me/and that's exactly who I'll be/I don't need to regret the times that passed/without them we wouldn't learn as fast") and the ethereal Mazzy Star-like quality of songs like "the Beauty." Not only does this young woman have something to say, but she wields a voice big and bold enough to say it with. The potent combination leaves song imprints in unsuspecting listeners' heads long after This Moment ends. Considering this gift, and the singer's heartfelt belief that "everybody's perfectly in place at every moment," Shanti's moment appears to be now.