Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Student Spotlight: Shivaraj Natraj


Student Spotlight: Shivaraj Natraj The vocalist, konnakol beatboxer, and percussionist reflects on his musical journey from Oman to India and beyond, and how he's working to bridge Western and South Asian musical styles.


Keerthana Sudarshan

March 1, 2024

Shivaraj Natraj

Image by Mason Davis

What's it like to study at Berklee? Our Student Spotlight series asks current students all about their Berklee experience-what they're learning in class, what kinds of projects they're involved in onstage or behind the scenes, how they recharge, and of course, what they're listening to. In this installment, get to know vocalist, beatboxer, and percussionist Shivaraj Natraj, an eighth-semester contemporary writing and production (CWP) major from Bangalore, India. Shivaraj's band, Project Mishram, which fuses South Indian classical and progressive metal influences, was recently announced as part of the lineup for the major hard rock festival Louder than Sound this September in Louisville, Kentucky, where they will perform alongside acts such as Slipknot, Judas Priest, and Evanescence.

Follow Shivaraj on Instagram and Facebook.

Tell us about your path to Berklee. What made you decide to come here?I began my training in the Carnatic (South Indian classical) style of vocals when I was just five years old, under the guidance of my father, Natraj Pushpavanam. I grew up in Muscat, Oman, where I continued my studies until the tenth grade. Later, I moved to Bangalore, India, for high school and started learning how to play the mridangam, a South Indian percussion instrument.

While in college pursuing a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, my videos on konnakol (Indian vocal percussion)-beatboxing became viral, and this led me to form my Carnatic fusion band, Project Mishram.

In 2020, I had to make a critical decision between choosing music and my career as a business analyst. Eventually, I decided to leave my job and pursue music full-time. I applied to Berklee College of Music and was awarded a scholarship, which was a dream come true. I aimed to expand my music knowledge and create a global music career, which was inevitable with the diversity of musicians coming from all over the world.

Listen to Sera by Project Mishram:

Given Berklees vibrant international community, how do you envision your distinctive role in contributing to this environment?Although I come from a Carnatic music background, I enjoy different styles of music, including EDM, progressive metal, jazz, and funk fusion. When I applied to Berklee, I was interested in exploring jazz harmony despite my lack of knowledge about the theory behind it. Since arriving at Berklee, I have been able to use my knowledge of swaras (Indian solf ge) to interpret the concepts of harmony and arranging and have found it to make perfect sense!

I create video content that explains how I bridge the gap between these two genres, which can be easily understood by Indian classical musicians and others. Additionally, I have taught five guest lectures where I explain the basics of raga and tala (melody and rhythm) in Carnatic music to diverse classes of Berklee students using Western music notation and references.

Being one of the few konnakol beatboxers in the world, and one of the few mridangam artists at Berklee, I have had several wonderful opportunities presented to me during my time here.

Whats been your favorite class so far, and what has it taught you?One of my favorite classes at Berklee has been Writing for Big Band, taught by Manuel Kaufmann. Although I was warned that it would be one of the hardest classes in CWP at Berklee, I surprisingly connected with the subject matter on a deep level. Writing for a big ensemble like a big band, which has around 17 players, can be quite challenging. However, in this class, I learned the art of intricately weaving sections together without creating a traffic-jam-like chaos similar to the ones commonly experienced in my city, Bangalore.

Whats a project youve worked on since coming to Berklee that youve been especially excited about?The biggest project I worked on while at Berklee was a tour across the UK and EU with my band Project Mishram in August of 2023. This was our third international tour and it centered around the prestigious ArcTangent festival, sharing the stage with legends like Devin Townsend, Heilung, Haken, etc. . . . It was a 20-day tour across eight countries where we drove ourselves through a roller coaster of an experience.

Our latest development is that we are the first Indian independent band performing at the Louder than Life Festival in September of 2024, alongside massive artists like Evanescence, Slipknot, Judas Priest, M tley Cr e, Slayer, Anthrax, Breaking Benjamin, Skillet, and others.

How do you typically recharge or find new ideas outside of class?I usually get new ideas from my peers at Berklee. I use Instagram often, but Im unsure if its always helpful. It helps keep me up-to-date with whats trending in music nowadays.

Sometimes I miss listening to full-length albums during my long commutes, but now I have music available 24/7, which is great. To overcome fatigue, I like to work out, do chores, or spend time with my friends.

Watch Shivaraj perform with fellow student Reeshabh Purohit on Berklees Two Track video series:

When you think towards your future, who inspires you most?I have been pondering this question for many years. My ultimate goal is to achieve internal happiness without relying on external factors. However, I do have goals such as fusing various genres from around the world with Carnatic music. I desire to have in-depth knowledge about them and do not like doing things halfway. Moreover, I love teaching and the learning that comes with the process.

I find inspiration in the rounded musicianship of Jacob Collier, the p
See more stories from berklee

Most recent headlines


Dalet Appoints Santiago Solanas as CEO to Lead Next Era of Growth and Innovation

Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations, is excited to announce Santiago Solanas as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)....


Dalet and Veritone Reach Agreement to Distribute, Transact and Monetize Media Archives

Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations, a...


Mediahaus delivers the first SRT live-streaming sports production over 5G with URSA Broadcast G2

Mediahaus delivers the first SRT live-streaming sports production over 5G with U...


Thank You for visiting us at NAB 2024!

Thank You for visiting us at NAB 2024! Thank you for joining us at the ToolsOnAir booth during NAB Show 2024! We were delighted to showcase our latest inno...


Stress Positions Mines Health Anxieties for Comedy

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 18: (L-R) John Early and Theda Hammel attend the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Stress Positions premiere at Library Center Theatre on ...


Give Me the Backstory: Get to Know Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie, the Filmmakers Behind Sugarcane

By Lucy Spicer One of the most exciting things about the Sundance Film Festival...


Mexico City Watchlist: 7 Documentaries About Working in CDMX

Pictured: Midnight Family By Stephanie Ornelas A great way to get to know a city as culturally unique and rich as Mexico City is to listen to the stories tol...


SNS Dominates NAB Show 2024 With Triple Win For MOD

St. Louis, MO - April 18, 2024 - Studio Network Solutions (SNS) announced today that MOD won three prestigious industry awards at NAB Show 2024 held this week i...


How Spotify Approaches Safety With Sarah Hoyle, Global Head of Trust and Safety

Spotify's mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the ...


Spotify and Taylor Swift Create a One-of-a-Kind Library To Celebrate THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT'

It's a beautiful day to be a Swiftie. Today, Taylor Swift dropped her 11th s...


L3Harris Announces Quarterly Dividend

MELBOURNE, Fla., April 19, 2024 - The Board of Directors of L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.16 per common share, payab...


Intel Lays Out 8K Production, AI Tech Plans for Paris Olympics

PARIS Intel has announced that its plans for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 will include using artificial intelligence technology powered by Intel ...


Tech Advances Boost Adoption of 8K Production

LAS VEGAS Technologists working on all aspects of the 8K media production chain offered an optimistic update at the 2024 NAB Show on the state of 8K in video pr...


OpenDrives New Software-Defined Platform Atlas Wins 2024 NAB Show Product of the Year Award

OpenDrives New Software-Defined Platform Atlas Wins 2024 NAB Show Product of the...


Grass Valley Showcases Next-Generation T3 Series 4K/HD Digital Recording and Playback for Venues and Stadiums

Grass Valley Showcases Next-Generation T3 Series 4K/HD Digital Recording and Pla...


NiTRo's M-CUBE Studio Levels Up Esports Productions with AJA Gear

NiTRo's M-CUBE Studio Levels Up Esports Productions with AJA Gear Brie Clayton April 19, 2024 0 Comments Esports' rapid rise to popularity can...


Blackmagic Design Announces DaVinci Resolve 19

Blackmagic Design Announces DaVinci Resolve 19 Brie Clayton April 19, 2024 0 Comments Major update adds new DaVinci Neural Engine AI tools, new color ...


Sony Considering Bid to Acquire Paramount

Sony Pictures Entertainment is reportedly in talks with Apollo Global Management to make a bid to acquire Paramount which itself is currently discussing a merge...


How 1185 Films created the VFX on new horror, All You Need Is Death

Simon Wilkinson, head of VFX at 1185 films, talks about the technology behind the newly-released horror By Matthew Corrigan Published: April 19, 2024 Simo...


Could Sony be preparing a bid for Channel 5's parent company?

The global electronics company is said to be considering joining forces with investment firm Apollo Management to bid for Paramount Global By Jenny Priestley ...


EBU report highlights contribution of free-to-air sport broadcasting

The report broke the economic footprint of EBU member sports broadcasting into three main areas By Matthew Corrigan Published: April 19, 2024 The report b...


CBS Stations Launches CBS News California Investigates' Segments

CBS Stations has launched CBS News California Investigates , with Julie Watts named regional CBS California correspondent. She will uncover and raise awarenes...


MediaCo Acquires Estrella Media's Spanish-Language Network, Content Assets

MediaCo Holding, which owns radio stations WQHT (Hot 97) and WBLS in New York, said it acquired Estrella Media's Spanish-language video, audio and digital c...


Season 5 of The Witcher' Will Be Final One

Netflix has ordered season five of fantasy drama The Witcher, which will be the final season. Production has recently begun on season four, and the two remainin...


DirecTV Stream To Carry Eight More The CW Affiliates

DirecTV Stream said it added eight more The CW affiliates to its lineup on Thursday....


CBS Orders More Elsbeth'

CBS has renewed Elsbeth for the 2024-2025 season. The drama, with Carrie Preston in the lead role, debuted February 29....


With Bears on the Clock. NBCU Local Chicago Plans Extensive NFL Draft Coverage

With the Bears picking first, NBCUniversal Local's properties in Chicago plan extensive coverage of the NFL draft next week....


Comcast Launches NOW

PHILADELPHIA As government subsidies for broadband services come to an end, Comcast has launched NOW, a new product portfolio of lower-cost Internet, mobile and...


DirecTV Stream Adds CW Affiliates

DirecTV Stream has added more local CW stations for its streaming customers in Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Hartford-New Haven Conn., Phoenix, San ...


MediaCo Acquires Estrella Media's Content and Digital Operations

NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES MediaCo Holding Inc. has announced that it has acquired all of Estrella Media's network, content, digital, and commercial operations....


Adobe Launches New Adobe Express Mobile App with Firefly AI

SAN JOSE, Calif. Adobe has announced that the all-new Adobe Express mobile app is available to all users, bringing features powered by Adobe Firefly generative ...


Netflix Adds 9.3M Subs in Q1

LOS GATOS, Calif. Netflix reported another blockbuster quarter by adding 9.33 million new subscribers in Q1, 2024 as global paid memberships hit 269.6 million, ...


The Current State of the Industry and the Future Impact of AI

The Current State of the Industry and the Future Impact of AI Hillary Lewis April 18, 2024 0 Comments The Entertainment Industry: How did we get here ...


After Effects Tutorial Text Blur Reveal

After Effects Tutorial Text Blur Reveal Andy Ford April 18, 2024 0 Comments Here's a way to do a quick blur reveal for your text layer. Start by...


Hollyland Mars M1 Enhanced Wireless Transmitter / Receiver

Hollyland Mars M1 Enhanced Wireless Transmitter / Receiver Colin Smith April 18, 2024 0 Comments This tutorial shows the new wireless transmitter rece...


Resolve Fusion: Writing Expressions with Lua

Resolve Fusion: Writing Expressions with Lua Simon Ubsdell April 18, 2024 0 Comments The answer to the very frequently-asked question: what is the pro...


B+C,' Next TV' Announce Winners of Best of Show Awards at NAB Show

B+C and Next TV have announced the winners of Best of Show Awards for the 2024 NAB Show. The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts at the convention...


Cate Blanchett Narrates Nature Series on Netflix

Cate Blanchett narrates the Netflix series Our Living World, which premieres April 17. The four-part series looks at the extraordinary creatures around the glob...


For All Mankind' Spinoff Is in the Works at Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus has a spinoff of For All Mankind in the works. It is called Star City and details the cosmonauts, engineers and intelligence officers working behi...


Jacquie Walker, Longtime Buffalo Anchor, Stepping Down From Desk

Jacquie Walker, longtime anchor at WIVB Buffalo, will step down from the anchor desk. She has spent over 40 years at WIVB and her last day as an anchor is May 2...


Bob Hearts Abishola' To Make Syndicated Debut This Fall

Bob Hearts Abishola will premiere in broadcast syndication this fall on such station groups as Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair, Hearst Television, Tegna, E.W. Scr...


Live With Kelly and Mark' Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Live With Kelly and Mark remains TV's top entertainment talk show as Kelly Ripa and her co-host and husband Mark Consuelo celebrate their one-year anniversa...


Sean McLaughlin Named VP of News at Graham Media Group

Sean McLaughlin has been named VP of news for Graham Media Group. He had been senior VP of local news at E.W. Scripps. He will will be responsible for developi...


Netflix Shares First Peek at Long-Awaited One Hundred Years of Solitude'

Netflix has shared the first trailer from One Hundred Years of Solitude, a series based on the esteemed novel by Gabriel Garc a M rquez. The streamer is on boar...


NAB 2024 Draws 61,000+ Attendees With More Than Half Attending the Show for the First Time

NAB 2024 Draws 61,000+ Attendees With More Than Half Attending the Show for the ...


Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI support European OTIC in Berlin for O-RAN conformance certification

Rohde & Schwarz and VIAVI support European OTIC in Berlin for O-RAN conformance ...


Riedel launches Bolero Connect for seamless integration with PunQtum

Wuppertal April 19, 2024 Riedel launches Bolero Connect for seamless integration with PunQtum A pioneer in the field of digital intercom, Riedel has recently ...