Stockholm-based Shida Shahabi is a pianist/composer, whose stunning debut album 'Homes' (October 2018) drew widespread acclaim and announced her as an exciting new voice in the genre - meshing a strong melodic sensibility with an intimate and deeply atmospheric exploration of space and timing.
Born in the Swedish capital in 1989 to parents who had recently fled the Iran-Iraq war, Shida studied piano from the age of nine and began writing melodies on the instrument soon after. She grew up listening to a broad range of music - surrounded by '70s Persian pop at home whilst watching countless hours of MTV, her parents also had a CD collection of classical composers, and as a child, Shida would listen to Mozart or Tchaikovsky and pick up pieces on piano by ear without having the patience to learn it note for note from sheet notation. Discovering punk and grunge at 11 years old, she began levitating towards bands like The Cure, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo in her teens and continued on discovering post-rock, ambient, krautrock and more experimental stuff. "I don't know if the music is necessarily an influence for me," she notes. "Maybe some way unconsciously. But I get more inspired by a band's or an artist's artistic practice and learning how they work. It's been inspiring to find curious composers who can write film scores or collaborate with other art forms whilst musically trying out material in very different constellations and other genres."
After giving up on classical music to study fine art at The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in 2009, Shida soon returned to music-making, drawn to its directness and emotional aspect. She began playing synthesizers and other keyboard instruments for a number of different local artists/bands (including Rebekka Karijord, Linnea Olsson, Sibille Attar, Small Feet, and Elias Krantz) and worked purely with sound-related art during her studies. Since leaving college in 2013, Shida has been working with varied forms of music and sound art. She has made site-specific sound installations, continues to play in different bands/ constellations and writes music both solo and for dance, film, theatre and fine art contexts.
Citing film music as being a big inspiration, Shida's career in scoring film is still in its infancy, though she has gained some experience in writing for film commercials. She worked on the animated Swedish short film 'The Burden' (directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr), helping to arrange parts of composer Hans Appelqvist's score as well as playing the piano on it. Premiered in 2017, the film received recognition at Cannes, Sundance and TIFF. Shida also wrote for another Swedish short film, 'Schoolyard Blues' (directed by Maria Eriksson) which again premiered in early 2017 and was selected for TIFF kids and by other festivals like Karlovy Vary Film Festival and Olympia International Film Festival.
Shida signed to 130701 in February 2018, after the label was floored by the beauty of her album recordings. Her debut album, 'Homes' was released to significant acclaim in October that year, alongside her first solo live performances. MOJO described her work as "a half-submerged music that rewards the attentive ear", whilst Future Music described the LP as "a masterclass in simplicity... A highly accomplished, honest and touching record, [the] confident debut of a new artist with their own vision." Two of her tracks also appeared on an EP, 'The Sea At The End Of Her String', which was produced around a short label tour also featuring Resina and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch. The following year, Shida continued a string of wonderful live performances, including being invited to play at Film Four's 'Summer Screen' at Somerset House in London. A new EP, 'Shifts', which featured the cello of Linnea Olsson, was released in November 2019. A further EP, 'Lake On Fire', Shida's score to a short film by director Jennifer Rainsford, was released in October 2020.