Age: 26 | Height: 5’6″
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Shalini Kumar was born a proud Canadian to a doctor of European cars and an actress in the Hindu community.
Ancestrally from Uttar Pradesh, India, her forefathers were brought to the Fiji Islands to farm sugar cane by 19th century British colonials, until her grandparents migrated to Canada in the early 1960′s.
One of Shalini’s greatest loves in life is traveling the world. To date, she’s had the fortune of experiencing breathtaking beauty in China, USA, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Australia, The Fiji Islands, England, Mexico and Canada.
She studied Financial Management at BCIT, but her passion lies with music and charitable causes. Shalini has volunteered her skills to the Canadian Diabetes Association and to BC Children’s Hospital, and also teaches music to youth at a local school.
She received honors and distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music as a pianist, and a Music Academic Award for studies in singing. She also completed a diploma in Acting for Film and Television and was one of the chosen few to receive songwriting mentorship from renowned Canadian artists, Veda Hille and Giorgio Magnanensi. Currently, Shalini works in Vancouver as a full-time musician and piano teacher.
Recorded with Canadian producer Winston Hauschild, her self-titled EP has fans comparing her to the sounds of Sarah McLachlan, Regina Spektor and Danny Elfman, described as “universal with a supernatural connection.”
Other recent accomplishments include the first place crown at a nationally televised beauty and talent competition in Guangzhou, China, performing national anthems at Vancouver Giants hockey games, independently fundraising and producing an anti-bullying themed music video, and being featured on OmniTV, Urban Rush and Shaw Multicultural Channel.
Sponsored by: Vikaash Prasad Photography, Bobby Ibrahim – Let’s Talk Travel N’ Tours, Absolute Spa Group, Dhami Narang & Company LLP, Dominion Law Group, Luxe Beauty Lounge, Bikram’s Yoga Metrotown, Anita Dalakoti – Sunlife Financial Advisor, David Addison – ViSalus 90 Day Challenge Independent Distributor, Elegant Development Inc., Thind Properties, Shushma Dutt, RJ1200, Fraserview Rotary Club of Vancouver & Toora Home Plans, SYMFIT Training Labs, Family and Friends.
Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).
English and Hindi.
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
I love music and every day I am mesmerized by its universal quality. One of my goals in life is to travel the world and learn about every region’s unique musical culture. On my recent travels to Guangzhou, China, I competed in a nationally televised beauty and talent competition. I was touched by the cheerful sounds of singing as the hotel staff tidied up one night, so I taught myself their beloved song, “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo Di Xie” by Teresa Teng. With the help of her dear spirit and the confidence of my translator, I received a standing ovation for my performance, and also took home the title. That experience was very special to me. Despite our cultural differences, the audience and I resonated in that moment and it has inspired me ever since.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
- Classical Indian Bharata Natyam Dance, Natraj School of Dancing
- Piano, Royal Conservatory of Music
- Financial Management, BCIT
- Music Business Seminars and Workshops, Music BC
- IGNITE! Songwriting Mentorship Program, Veda Hille, Giorgio Magnanensi
- Full Time Acting for Film and Television, School Creative
- Modeling and Chinese Makeup Workshops, Beauty Tech
- Vocal Training, Voice Over, Trish Allen, Maryse Schembri
- The Performer’s Mastery, Linda Darlow, Henry Mah
- Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Bollywood Dance, Harbour Dance Centre, iDance
- The Artist’s Way Workshop, Julia Cameron, Maryse Schembri
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
Track and Field
Go Kart Racing
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
I have fond memories of my Music teacher as a child, Mr. Hans Fenger. He has had a huge influence on my life. I was the youngest to join the choir in the history of my elementary school and it was through Mr. Fenger that I learned that music could truly bridge the world in spectacular ways. He taught me about song structure and he encouraged me to sing in several languages, from French (“À La Claire Fontaine”) to Hebrew (“Erev Shel Sho Shanim”). I am forever grateful for his guidance and words can’t express how much musical appreciation and wisdom I’ve gained just from being in his presence.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
My proudest personal accomplishment has been my courage to pursue my dream of being a full-time, internationally acclaimed, and universally influential music artist. My father has always told me, “Give 101% effort in anything you do.” With his words of wisdom, hard work and consistency, I’ve been fortunate enough to perform on stages around the world, fund and globally share my first professionally recorded CD, feature my work on radio and television stations across Canada, create music videos, educate children, and inspire others to chase their dreams. I am proud of what I have achieved and am looking forward to what my persistence and faithfulness in my craft holds in the near future.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
Late last year, I received a phone call out of the blue from my friend Jas at the Sher-E-Punjab radio station I had volunteered with some time ago. The next thing I knew, I had an opportunity to sing the Canadian and American national anthems at a Vancouver Giants hockey game! I remember having a permanent smile on my face, spending hours practicing in an empty boardroom of a local community centre. I love to design my own stage costumes, so I sewed together a sporty white dress trimmed with the home team’s red, black, and grey especially for this performance. I’ll never forget the feeling of my heart thumping away as the players lined up along the blue line and thousands of loyal hockey fans of every race, age and gender stood up and echoed along with me. That moment was one of the most patriotic and humbling experiences of my life. I am so proud to be a Canadian and I am honoured to have this unique memory to share one day with my own grandchildren.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
I’m truly blessed that I’m able to follow my dreams in Music. It’s a big risk, at least that’s what people tell me, but they’re also proud of me. My career ambition is to perform my original songs at the Juno Awards, to receive “Best New Artist” at the Grammy Awards, love and international recognition and to travel and work with my musical idols around the globe: Sarah McLachlan, A.R. Rahman and David Foster (just to name a few). To accomplish my goal, I will continue mastering my craft by practicing every day, attending vocal and songwriting seminars, using social media in creative ways to keep fans updated with upcoming shows, writing and recording new music, working closely with my mentors, self-promoting myself and networking at every chance I get. Music has taught me the discipline of self-discipline, consistency, focus and dedication. If I believe and follow through, I know I will accomplish all of my goals, both in my career and in life. I wish for my music to touch and empower people much the same as music has empowered me.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
At this moment, my dream job is to be the next Miss Universe Canada. I remember sitting with my parents, eating popcorn in the living room and watching Natalie Glebova take on the title of Miss Universe 2005. That moment made me realize that it would be a great honour to work hand in hand with the Miss Universe Canada platform, giving women the ability and support to speak on behalf of charities and those in need, and to lend myself to humanitarian causes all over the world.
Are you currently a student?
If yes, where?
Area of study:
Life, the world and its people, its music and its children. I’m also working closely with my fascinating mentors in music, humanitarianism and business. The school of life is always in session.
Are you currently employed?
If yes, what is your occupation?
Musical entertainer and children’s piano teacher.
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
My city is Vancouver and it is very multicultural. From a young age, I remember using chopsticks at Penny’s Chinese Restaurant down the road, trying fresh, homemade pesto sauce from our Italian neighbour, and family outings to buy fresh vegetables from Chinatown. My sister and I lovingly imitated the Spice Girls’ British accent while decorating the Christmas tree, I learned to play the steel pan drums at the Caribbean festival, and shared Diwali sweets with my classmates. I still love listening to stories of how our dearest family friends had the courage to jump on a boat and venture into the unknown, to start a new life of opportunity and freedom in Canada decades ago. I am thankful that my parents taught me to see beyond race and religion and to respect all the wonderful cultures of the world and to embrace them as my own.
My father is an incredibly hardworking car mechanic. He put both my sister and I through years of piano, ice-skating, swimming, singing and dancing lessons. He took us around the world via car, boat, train, plane and bus, and he showed us the joy and responsibility that comes from traveling. To date, I’ve been blessed to experience 10 different countries and over 40 major cities around the globe.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
Alongside my mother, I played the role of an Indian goddess in a local theatre production. My mother is a well-known actress in my community and to share the stage with her was a rewarding and powerful experience.
List any volunteering you have done.
The West Program Alternative High School, Music Teacher.
Produced an Anti-Bullying music video to spread much needed awareness, wrote and professionally recorded the song, independently raised funds to rent filming equipment and helped to organize a group of 50 passionate friends and volunteers for the three day shoot.
Canadian Diabetes Association, Accountant and Performer on their Event Planning and Fundraising Committee.
My sister and I walked around the beach one hot weekend with a large, glass jar and successfully raised $800 in loose change for Variety, The Children’s Charity.
Performer on A World of Smiles Telethon.
Performer at Shaw Multicultural Channel’s BC Children’s Hospital Telethon.
Performer on Sher-e-Punjab’s BC Children’s Hospital Radiothon.
Performer on the Fraserview Rotary Club’s Fundraiser for Mental Health.
Performer at The Walk for TWCA Metro Vancouver’s Cause We Care House.
Donating piano lessons for charity auctions.
Making background music for various independent films.
Children’s Diabetic Camp Kakhamela, Volunteer Photographer.
Baking “Mr. Monster” cookies for the homeless people in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
Modeling, acting and singing for various independent projects and shows.
What is your most unusual talent?
I can play the piano and sing…blindfolded.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
The Fiji Islands. My mom was born in Fiji, so it was wonderful to see how she was raised amidst fields of sugar cane, colourful camera-shy butterflies, goats, chickens, cows, unpaved roads, coconut trees and clear blue water for miles. I would wake up to roosters cock-a-doodle-doo-ing, bright sunshine and a few new mosquito bites. Breakfast was provided by the mango tree in the backyard and there was always plenty of rice, curry and fresh vegetables to go around. The children in Fiji suffer from poverty and don’t get to indulge in the simple material luxuries we have in Canada. I took a large suitcase full of books, crayons, toys, pencils, pens, paper, calculators and games to pass out on my last trip there. It really touched my heart to see the kids smile and they made me appreciate how simple humanity can truly be.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
In 10 years, like everyone else, I want to find happiness and to be doing something that inspires me to the fullest. I hope to be happy, youthful, energetic, healthy and passionate about life and the people I choose to surround myself with. I want to see my parents happily retired and healthy for their age and I also hope to have healthy children of my own to unconditionally love till the end of my days.