Basking in success | Daily News

Basking in success

Shane Manohara Rajapaksa Pictures by Ruwan De Silva
Shane Manohara Rajapaksa Pictures by Ruwan De Silva

SOS Singing Sensation Shane Manohara Rajapaksa has proved that with the right attitude, right backing and sheer will power you can succeed at anything you set your mind to. Daily News met up with Shane Manohara Rajapaksa to discuss his music, life and achievements. Rajapaksa an SOS youth, has made his dream of having a successful career in music a reality, by releasing his first single ‘Wannama’ last March at SOS Children’s villages, Piliyandala.

We know that at SOS, some children have lost both their parents, some have come from broken families, in some cases the single parent has been deemed unfit to raise the child and sometimes the case is that the family is poverty stricken. At SOS children’s villages when you talk about success you talk about Shane Rajapaksa, an SOS Children’s Villages success story! He has shown that a parent’s love can truly overcome!

Rajapaksa was a Michael Jackson fan at a very young age. Michael was his first singing inspiration and he first listened to Michael when he was in Grade 6. Michael was the artiste that made him passionate about music and it is touching to think of little Rajapaksa listening to his role model Michael on his little radio. Michael’s ‘Earth song’ was the one song that made the difference. Rajapaksa really wanted to know who the singer was! He gathered as many CD’s as possible and became familiar with Michael, loving him even more. It made him want to be a singer just like Michael.

“SOS children’s Villages I would say gave me the strength and backing. I come from Anuradhapura and joined my family in 2003. My mother was Nandani Rajapaksa. We all have a strong bond of love with our mothers. At SOS it is a labor of love by all those involved and the mother’s motive is completely altruistic. For me words do not suffice, when trying to explain this unconditional and pure love,” said Rajapaksa.

His mother always told him he would become someone special and taught him the value of having a proper education. Rajapaksa remembers turning on his radio at 5.00am in the morning and listening to the English service. He used to sing from 5am – 6am and his mother did not protest at all.

“I must say that it was not only my mother who was instrumental in my rise as a musician. There were others involved as well. The director at Anuradhapura, Keerthi Hettiarachchi also identified my talents and told me I would go places. The two of them kept on encouraging me. SOS children’s villages built me up and provided me with a bright future,” pointed out Rajapaksa.

At school Rajapaksa pursued dancing as well as music. He also added that he has an inborn talent of drumming. Another teacher Madam Karunawathi also saw his potential and told him that one day he would fulfill his potential and become a success. She really influenced Rajapaksa in his journey, and Rajapaksa feel that he is a very skillful drummer because of her. For five years he obtained top results coming first place.

“I need to point out that it was through SOS that I encountered this lady. My school is St. Joseph’s Anuradhapura and there the Principal and teachers got to know about my skills because word gets around,” said Rajapaksa.

He has a dream that one day he will become a famous singer in Sri Lanka. The words of Director Keerthi Hettiarachchi always remains in his mind- ‘You can do it Shane!’. He first started performing inside of SOS but always the dream of becoming a famous singer in Sri Lanka never left him. He points out again that the strength and support he has received from SOS is incredible.

“Because of their support I never felt that fear of performing. Because I knew that I was always loved. What they have done for me cannot be measured by words. SOS has given us everything we needed and we had everything. I would also like to place emphasis on the fact that there are very talented youngsters at SOS. They even have gained admission to universities,” explained Rajapaksa.

As a mark of gratitude and respect, he released his first single at SOS Pilliyandala. This is because he wanted to begin his professional career where it all started. Life for him began at SOS. It makes sense that he wanted to start the next phase of his life at SOS.

There is saying – Humility is sexy! Rajapaksa pointed out that humility is the number one requirement for success. He says it is essential for any performer. An artiste needs to remember his or her own roots. Where he or she comes from and who helped him or her along the way. “I am really encouraged by the fact that people have so far received my music with positivity and have appreciated my music and recognized me as an artiste with potential. All of this feedback goes a long way in my life. When people like your music it is a tremendous boost. And they do want more of it. Right now I have done three shows on my own. From my three shows, the first two shows have been done in SOS. Show number two and three were done with ticket sales. The third show was done professionally at Swarnamali Balika Vidyalaya. After the first two shows they wanted more and more. This third show was done on a large scale with even the police turning up. The turn-out was the stuff of dreams for me. It was a superb effort,” added Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa says that his singing is a mixture of Western and Eastern. He sings Kasun Kalhara’s songs and songs of the Backstreet Boys. During the first show he sang 35 songs, 28 songs at the second show and 25 shows at the third show.

“I strongly feel that this is my destiny and path in life. This is my calling. At every performance I acknowledge my mother. I also try to learn from my shortcomings and keep on perfecting myself. I am constantly trying to raise my standards, constantly redefining myself. I constantly keep my crowd in mind. When doing Michael Jackson’s songs I always have to prepare for his style of music. It requires a different range, variation and power. I have done a voice training course and frequently surf the internet exploring techniques of voice training,” stated Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa has a powerful message to the youth. He points out that you will encounter barriers in life and that you need to prepare yourself because barriers make you strong. You need to be humble. You need to learn your subject well.

“Knowledge is important. You also need a sense of gratitude and above all you must not forget your roots. You also need to be strong mentally, because for anything in life you need to be resilient and mentally strong. You need a ‘Never Give Up’ attitude. You should be brave and not be fearful. Do not be disheartened or discouraged by what people say and do. You need to endure and persevere,” said Rajapaksa. 


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