Shekhar R. Phatak has been delighting audiences all over the world with his voice since the tender age of six. Shekhar ' s natural talent for music was realized by his parents, Mrs. Vijaya Phatak and Mr. Ratnakar Phatak, very early in his childhood. Mother, being a music teacher and a trained singer herself, made every effort to provide him with a solid foundation in Hindustani Classical music. This talent was further developed when his family moved to Ahmedabad and Shekhar joined one of the most prestigious schools, C. N. Vidyalaya. This is where his official training started under teachers like Shri Bhailalbhai Shah and Shri Laljibhai Patel. These teachers started sending him to various music competitions where he always brought back a trophy as the best Sugam Sangeet (Light music) singer and the best Classical singer. By the time he was in high school, he started composing his own tunes and playing harmonium, without any formal training. At this point, his parents sent him to music school and enrolled him at Khandekar Sangeet Vidyalaya. It was here where his formal training in music continued under Smt. Leelatai Khandekar and Prof. Vilas Rao Khandekar.
During his high schools years, Shekhar took part in many inter-school and state level music competitions, winning more than twenty-five gold and several silver medals. He also became recognized as an “ A” grade artist by AIR (All India Radio) and performed many tim es on the Ahmedabad-Vadodara radio station. By the time he was in 9 th grade, he formed his own group with his classmates Dr. Ashutosh Mavlankar (Tabla), Dr. Ajay Patel (Violin and vocals), Sanjeev Dalal (Mandolin and Guitar), Dr. Shirish Pundit. PHD (Vocals) and Shekhar (Harmonium, Keyboards and vocals). Parents of these talented and brilliant musicians encouraged them by arranging programs in their own homes and later recommending them to other friends and organizations like Lions Club and Rotary Club. During this period Shekhar came in touch with Ajay Patel ' s guru Shri Shashikant Gundani and his wife Saroj Gundani, who gave him an opportunity to sing Christian Hymns and songs for Radio Manila ( Philippines ) and Radio Ceylon (now known as Radio Sri Lanka)
Although music was his passion, he studied Physics and Geology at M. G. Science Institute in Ahmedabad. During his college years, Shekhar continued to study music and his competitive spirit won him numerous Gold and Silver medals at state and national level competitions judged by musicians like Bismillah Khan, Sharafat Hussain Khan, Ustad Allah Rakha and Ustad Sultan Khan. In 1978, Shekhar completed his master ' s degree in music (Sangeet Alankar) from Gandharva Sangeet Mahavidyalaya.
Having acquired a solid foundation in classical music, he started to explore other styles of music. In addition to his affinity towards Hindustani Classical music he also became very fond of Ghazals and Western Classical Music. He developed a flare for composing Ghazals, Bhajans and popular music using the Hindustani classical music and western orchestration. At this point in his life this emerging artist was totally committed to a career in music. His fascination for other styles of music brought him to the US , where he studied composition and conducting at the University of Houston . His research in music evolved to a new dimension as he got more and more involved with computers and computerized music.
Like every artist, he enjoys performing for an audience. For the past 21 years, Shekhar has earned a name as a prominent Ghazal singer in the USA . He has performed in all the major cities in USA and Canada and has released several compositions on compact discs ranging from Bhajans, Ghazals, Fusion, New Age, Avant Grade and classical music. In addition to countless solo singing programs he has also teamed up with many contemporary musicians. He has accompanied classical singers Prabha Atre, Pundit Jasraj, Shweta Jhaveri and Shobha Joshi on harmonium. In 1997, he performed with noted singer/composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar and was the only singer chosen by Pundit Ravi Shankar to perform one of the maestro's compositions at the golden jubilee celebration of India's Republic day in Houston with the maestro and his daughter Anushka Shankar.
Besides being a singer, composer and arranger, Shekhar is also an expert sound recordist. This technological knowledge and love for languages lead him to start a 24 hour satellite radio station in South Indian languages in Houston in the mid eighties. He worked as a recordist, announcer, music editor and production manager for this radio station for almost four years.
Shekhar has teamed up with many musicians and singers in Houston area but his association with the Tabla player and composer Surendra Mistry has been the longest. They have worked together on many of their albums and formed a professional recording studio in Sugar Land area. Zingerbay, the website for the artist promotion is their creation.
Shekhar currently works as an IT Security Analyst in one of the leading companies in Houston and offers Music lessons over the weekend in Houston area.