Behind These Walls

Okay, so I’ve completely failed at keeping this thing even semi-up to date. My bad. But it’s a new year…so I have a chance to redeem myself (expect some posts in the next couple of weeks, which will most likely taper off by March as per all of my other resolutions).

So back in early November I released my 2nd EP “Through Haze”, which has 6 tracks I’ve been recording for the past 2ish years. I was talking to my Mom about how 2 years is a TON of time for 6 songs, and I had this epiphany of why it all took so long. Unlike the rest of my life, music is the one thing for me that has never had a deadline. There was never anyone checking for milestones, expecting some type of concrete outcome at a certain due date. There was never anyone saying I needed to complete a couple of tracks, to get to the next level of my career. There was never anyone depending on my song, so that they could do a task of their own. And there was never anyone forcing me to put in the time to book recording sessions, hound producers to find ones willing to work with an unsigned artist, and email every single music outlet possible – hoping they would feature an artist who really had no type of backing or following. There was no driver in all of this, except for myself. And life easily gets in the way of everything.

I’ve previously mentioned that it’s been a hard balance to find time for my regular job, music, hobbies, and life in general. I’ve never been the best at prioritizing and I often think that may be my big regret when I look back. There are times when it gets hard to prioritize music, because there really hasn’t been any type of “pay back” compared to other parts of my life. I work, so that I get “paid back” money. I meet friends, so that I get “paid back” memories. I often forget that the big “pay back” for me with music is really my actual sanity. Music has always been my therapy, and writing has been my way of tracking and remembering my emotion during different life events.

When I first started writing “Behind These Walls”, I had just been let go from a job that I moved to NYC to do (literally I was bawling on the subway on the way home, playing this song on my headphones and writing lyrics…I looked more insane than the homeless man next to me, eating his own hair). After a big company merger, I really had no idea what was left of my career – which to me was the thing that defined me as a New Yorker. Anytime I met someone new, their first question was usually “what do you do in the city?”. Not having an answer for that left me feeling completely unsure of my identity. Yet at the same time – I was posting new music and putting pictures on social media of how happy I was. I used social media as a mask, to show that I was incredibly lucky to be living this life – despite how confused I was and how unsure I was (and still am) of what the future held. I think in life I had built up walls to hide behind – all to avoid looking weak. We continue to soldier on, even when we may be crumbling inside sometimes.

And that’s truly what we wrote the song “Behind These Walls” about. It’s by far the most personal song on the EP, and includes only cello & piano. We recorded it at The End Studio in Brooklyn, and really just sang through it a couple times to make sure the sound was as raw as possible. The rest of the album is a lot more produced. The rest of me in general, is a lot more produced. But this song is the most honest piece of my music and myself.


P.S. You can download it for free on my soundcloud as well. Big shout outs to Nick Stubblefield and Jordan Garner for the cowriting action – y’all be the wings beneath my wings forreal.

Hope everyone had a great New Year🙂




Pinch Me Release!

Gahhhhhhhh it’s FINALLY out!!! I can’t tell you how seriously excited I am to finally put the video out for my newest single “Pinch Me”. Pretty.Freaking.Excited. The video took 2 days to film, and months to edit, but I’m really happy to get this badboy out there and be able to have a visual to go along with the song!🙂 Long blog post will begin in 5….4….3…2…1.

“Pinch Me” is a weird one for me. It really started off as a true love song in my head. It’s about being so incredibly infatuated, that the line between dream vs. reality can get blurred. It’s about wanting to stay in whatever “fantasy world” includes the person you love, because you’re terrified of waking up without them. The concept came about a little over 2 years ago, when I met this guy one night, who I fell head over heels for. But it was at a club (alas) – music blaring, smoke machines hazing everything, that the next day I couldn’t honestly remember what was real and what I was making up in my head. The next afternoon, I talked to my mom about it (always quite the adviser) and she told me that being in a setting like that – it’s hard to tell what could actually be a connection and not just imagination. Right after that convo, I started writing the song with my co-writer Jordan Garner…and a couple hours later, “Pinch Me” was born.

When I worked with Director Chris Canucciari for the video concept, I pictured something light, airy, perhaps a field of sunflowers of some sort. He, however, pictured the exact opposite – a haunted house, falling out of a window, and the theme of a never ending nightmare. We decided his take would definitely be a more unique approach. (Plus, I would get to throw multiple plates at a wall, and free fall onto a huge cushion from 30 feet in the air (homegirl can’t say no to that)). Even though the two days of filming were a bit grueling, especially given the 20 degree temperature, lack of electricity, and my fear of heights, all in all it was an absolutely incredible experience.

1st day filming the video for "Pinch Me"! #doingmyownstunts (in that I almost had a panic attack)

A video posted by Shilpa Narayan (@shilpanarayan) on

(It took about 12 jumps to master a semi “graceful fall”)

Ever since I’ve pursued singing, music has constantly been the driving force to get myself out of my comfort zone…from showing my face in YouTube videos, to writing my own music, to performing, and now to finally doing my own videos. People always say it’s all about the journey in life and not the destination. That we should focus on cherishing memories and moments, and follow the path that makes us thrilled and thankful to be a part of this world. Being able to film this video and take a concept from my head, to pen and paper, and eventually to TV is absolutely insane to me. Regardless of the dollars I’ve spent, and hundreds of times I’ve wanted to give up – the thought of having people watch something that was once just a note in my iPhone makes everything completely worthwhile. Thank you all for being so supportive and watching/sharing this video. It truly means the world to me❤

Would love to hear your thoughts! Please message/comment/tweet/any type of social media me🙂




2015…the Year of Real Memories

He always stood on that corner though. That corner right below the large red CVS sign with the automatic doors, which weren’t always so automatic. It didn’t matter if it was pouring rain or if it was sweltering heat – he stood there with the exact same expression, the same demeanor…just watching. He wore the same torn up black sweatshirt, with holes in both elbows from his years of being out on the streets. Observing every pedestrian passing by, studying the details of their face; I assumed he somehow knew every facet of my life. I felt every walk home from work gave him another glimpse of myself, another secret I unintentionally shared with him or story never meant to be told. I always slightly tilted my head up to look up at his tired face… wondering, “what happened to this man?” I’d then quickly return my eyes to the ground and scurry past him sheepishly. His eyes had an innocence in them like that of a child and his face always seemed to be in a semi-permanent smile, like he was almost greeting people. It was puzzling for me to see someone who had so little, still maintaining some bit of personality, some inkling of pride.

What did he dream of becoming? What happened that steered him so far away from the person he sought to be? Was this the life he imagined? I had so many questions for him, yet each day I went along the same path maintaining the same pattern of behavior. I felt guilty as if I was doing something wrong and constantly wondered if he envied the life of the people around him. I wondered if he envied the large amount of wealth that defined New York City, the residents with their 3 cell phones tapping away, perpetually late for their 9 a.m. Tuesday meeting. I wondered if he felt needed, purposeful, or loved. Did he have aspirations that were never fulfilled?

But I also wondered if he felt sorry for me and for everyone walking around me in uniform. Could he read the stress on our aged faces, groaning over how much money was made or lost that day, trekking to unfulfilling jobs – just striving to fit in with society norms? Did he secretly smirk at everyone on their iPhone, who missed the beauty around them because they had to answer another incoming client email? Did he see that 11-year-old kid on his cell miss an important moment with his father due to his Snapchatting? Was he wondering how and why we made decisions, which drove us into ultimate unhappiness? All this time I had been judging a man who actually appeared perfectly content with his life…never taking a step back to evaluate my own.

I’ve pondered on what my main New Years resolution would be for this year. I’ve drafted many versions of this blog post since January 1st but as I sit on this plane back to New York, this will be the final draft for a resolution. And that is…to be in the moment more. To enjoy every second, to savor the present, to put my phone down and embrace life and try to lock it in my memory and not just on social media. To take notice of the world around me, to listen, and to focus on solutions instead of dwelling on problems. I want to make sure I’m doing something I really want to be doing, and not just something that has become automatic, habitual and expected. For 2015, I’ve taken inspiration from an unexpected place. A man on a lonely corner on 42nd street has inspired me to be happy, to live, to feel, and to just be.

Lots of love,


A Note for My Early 20s

The weird thing is, I had always planned to be a writer. To write everything that I saw, everything I experienced, every move I made, feeling I felt, love I loved. I wanted to paint my story with words, so that I could look back on it – many years from now – and think…god…did I live or what?

And somehow that got put on the back-burner as I tried to push forward in other things. So here I finally am now on my 27th birthday, at a café in Soho…writing. For the very 1st time in the whirl-wind 4.5 years I’ve lived in this magnificent city, I’m finally sitting down and putting pen to paper. And I just can’t believe how much I’m in love with life at this very moment.

I’ve gone through the most ecstatic of highs and the lowest of lows, but if I could do it all again – I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change the move to NYC to “find myself” in music and find out what my real purpose was. I wouldn’t change the nights we stayed up till 6am, eating late night pizza, drinking till we forgot who we were or what we were escaping from. I wouldn’t change the constant juggle of dating, social obligations, the working harder than I thought possible, the ever-present bags under my eyes. I wouldn’t change the move to NYC for a job in Finance, the ultimate lay-off, the way I crumbled after, the search for purpose. I wouldn’t change the stays over night in studio, the many thousands of dollars spent on videos/beats/rehearsals/vocal lessons. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve gone from the girl who was afraid to raise my hand in class, the girl who struggled with anxiety, the “new girl” who moved to 4 middle schools. The girl with a speech impediment who was scared as hell to ever show my voice…to becoming the girl who performed in front of 120,000 people in Times Square.

I’ve made my share of mistakes, caused my share of disputes. Had my heart broken numerous times, broken a couple hearts here and there. Laughed till I cried, cried till I fell asleep. Learned a lot of lessons, forgotten a lot of faces. Loved not enough, moved too fast. Been proud of myself, dreaded getting out of bed to face the world. Embraced life to the fullest, broken down completely. Drank too often, partied too hard, pushed myself too much, failed too many times… but I force a smile on my face, knowing that my aspirations will always be greater than my actual talent.

As I sit here with tears forming in my eyes, Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind” playing on my headphones, I can’t help but be so thankful of how beautiful life is and thankful to all of those who’ve helped me realize this. I’ve lived. And I truly can’t wait to see what 27 will bring.

Lots of love,

Shil Continue reading