Nirob Islam can be considered a jack of all trades. When the Sweden-based Bangladeshi isn't writing songs for acclaimed artists such as The Chainsmokers or John Newman, he is creating his own music such as 'Westside' and 'Stick Around' (both filmed in Bangladesh) and releasing it under his namesake. His previous moniker SHY Nodi has recently been retired.
With this impressive list of achievements under his belt, there is no one more suited to giving a songwriting masterclass. The event held on 9 September was packed with aspiring musicians and music enthusiasts. But no matter your musical aptitude, all were fans of Islam himself.
The event took off with Islam sharing his expertise on writing lyrics, crafting melodies and exploring sonics with the audience. He further elaborated on verse structures, and recording and producing your own tracks.
"In the music industry, they tend to not go with people looking like us that often, and that's why we need to stay put and keep working. We need to bring our culture forward. There are 2,00,000 people doing music in Bangladesh and that's why I want to get you engaged any way I can."
The second half of the programme included a Q/A session with the audience. Islam effortlessly navigated the questions which ranged from technical to personal career related advice. In between helping aspiring musicians get over roadblocks in their work or simply giving new ideas to keep their music engaging, Islam also shared some of his own personal anecdotes with the audience.
"I grew up as a singer first. My mom forced me to do 'sa-re-ga-ma' like the rest of us," he laughed. "Then it turned into songwriting when I dropped out of university. I had to apply to music school and that was when I wrote my first music."
"I hadn't released any music in the last two years because I had been in a dispute. And I'm finally done. Now I can finally release music again," Islam said to raucous cheers. "Another tip – if people want to sign you, always get a lawyer."
Islam stressed the importance of loving music and letting that fuel you instead of money or fame.
"When my songs first came out on the radio, I heard them when I was still working in a Seven Eleven. I wanted to pursue music even if I was working two jobs, because it is my passion. You do music because you love it. To break into this industry, you need to have patience and make sacrifices. The world is your oyster - just put yourself out there," said Islam in response to juggling a music career while working to sustain yourself.
He also remarked on how open the industry is now due to digitalisation. There are many mediums such as YouTube and TikTok, where even releasing your catchy chorus can make you go viral. Such options that are widely used by popular musicians today were not possible even two decades ago.
"There's a lot of creative ways to put out your music these days. The most important thing is to put out your music," he stressed.
In the final segment of the masterclass, Islam leant his expertise to those aspiring musicians who were willing to share their tracks with him. The talent in the room was undeniable, not only did the tracks wow the rest of the audience but Islam too was impressed.
A musician's work is never done however, and each musician left Nirob Islam's masterclass with his expert advice on how to make their music tighter, catchier and better.