A rap against child abuse

Two youngsters from Margao recently released a child abuse awareness music video titled ‘Hush Baby’. NT BUZZ details

There is no doubt that this pandemic hasn’t been easy for any of us. And Sharlaine Menezes who has been reading a lot of stories on child abuse realised that it has perhaps been harder for children who are constantly abused at home and have been left with no much option but to stay home anyway during this period

“I could write about it but I thought why not rap and let the world get a social message through music,” says Menezes.

She thus came out with the idea of making a music video ‘Hush Baby’ that is available on her YouTube channel while the audio is available on all music apps like Spotify, Apple Music, Tiktok, Google Play, etc. The reason, she says, she chose to bring this up at a time like this, is because most children are over the moon that schools are shut. “But, I realised, some children, rich or poor, forced to stay with their family or at home with a guardian are facing the complete opposite of freedom and happiness of being away from school,” she says, adding that an innocent child is in most cases unable to open up about his or her problems and when they do, there is a tendency to ignore them.

The title of the video signifies the force used to quiet a child when they try to speak up. “In most societies when wrong is done to a child, the first reaction is ‘hushing’ up the child. This leads to anger, hurt, isolation, and many psychological issues in a child as they grow,” she says.

Thus, in her small way, she wanted to stand for a cause and highlight one that people usually take for granted. Physical or emotional damage to a child hurts her within. Thus, she didn’t have to put in much effort into writing lyrics as it all came naturally to her. The song is written in first person. “I tried for a few minutes to put myself in their shoes and express how I felt. That’s how I immediately penned down the lyrics. I actually started crying while recording it and I’m not someone who cries easily,” says Menezes, whose journey with original music started last year as she wrote a rap and performed with Georgie Dias for the North East Futsal League in Assam. She then released her single ‘Who’s Gonna Love Anyway’ in December 2019.

This year, Menezes, who is a Mass Communication student, intended to focus on her final semester examination, but the lockdown changed plans for everybody. So she worked on this song with an upcoming producer Prajeet Naik known by his stage name ‘Victorious’ who she stumbled upon on Instagram. She says: “I happened to listen to a song produced by Prajeet and instantly loved his beats. Little did I know he was a neighbour. I immediately contacted him and told him we need to work on something. We initially intended to do pop but settled for rap.”

Keeping social distancing in mind, all the work was done over the phone. “I actually haven’t met him till date,” she says. The duo worked dedicatedly for two weeks on the project where Naik would teach her how to record vocals, while he worked on the music. “This is something out of his comfort zone but he still went about it so well. Lockdown didn’t even seem like a barrier as he was so easy to approach. He trusted my vision with the theme of the track and we went forward. He sat every day giving me vocal tips and helped with production,” she says, adding that it is best when an artist learns from another artist. “I think that’s what we most need today,” she says.

The video was self-produced. “My sister Sheniah (a Class 10 student) and I shot the whole thing in our bedroom, converting it into a lit up almost-disco looking place. We worked on the lighting for a while and then on background. We worked with very limited space and just a Redmi Phone,” she says.

The editing too was done on a normal phone app after failed attempts on softwares on the laptop. “It was Sheniah who told me what to wear, where to sit, how to move, how to bring on an attitude and much more!” says Menezes, who likes writing songs based on her life experiences and her struggles.

She also focuses on female hustle and strength and hopes to work on various other aspects like humour in songs, etc. However, she is not too keen on working on love songs yet.

“With this song, I just want to send out the message to everyone to keep an eye on hints about a situation like this and help children in need. I know there’s a lot of hate, but we did this with limited resources and I’m happy. I am aware also that this genre of music is not widely listened to in our state, but I hope it grows soon especially with more female rappers!” she says.

Menezes and Naik, who has just completed his Class 12, are now working on another song together.

Besides this, Naik has some of his own tracks on YouTube and is waiting to officially release more. Menezes, along with another producer also plan to release another single, a fusion song, in a month’s time.