A strong voice for music and others

Junior Shivali Pathak shares her singing, instrumental versatility with those who need assistance


Photo Courtesy of Shivali Pathak

Junior Shivali Pathak sings and plays her ukelele with the Tri-Valley Youth Music Group.

Addison Jing, A&E Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic was a scary and stressful time for all, full of isolation and worry.
Despite quarantine confining most everyone indoors, some found their voice during this dark time. Junior Shivali Pathak found the musical inspiration she needed in order to thrive in a world without much life.
“I really resonate with the saying ‘when words fail, music speaks,” Pathak said.
Her musical talent was first recognized at the young age of four years old when she was playing nursery rhymes by memory on the keyboard. This came as a shock to her parents because no one had taught her to play yet. She started taking formal lessons when she was six.
Since her four-year-old debut on the keyboard, Pathak’s music has gone on to win awards.
She received recognition for multiple years in the state category for the National Reflections PTA competition and was the C.R.Y. America Singing Competition Winner.
In addition, Pathak won “founder’s favorite” for the Gabblife Singer/Songwriter Award in 2020 and received music equipment and an award of $500. The company’s founder that organized the contest enjoyed her song, “Too Young,” so much that he visited her house personally to deliver the prizes.
“It feels good when her hard work gets recognized,” Pathak’s mom, Shraddha Pathak, said. “She works hard, she loves to make music, and when everyone appreciates it, it feels good.”
Pathak also has self-learned three other instruments: the ukulele, mandolin, and guitar.
“I also played the trumpet in the middle school band but then decided to pursue choir in high school, which I’m really passionate about,” she said.
Choir teacher Lori Willis has recognized Pathak’s hard work and dedication in her class.
“She contributes greatly to her section in choir, chamber singers,” Willis said. “She is a very talented and enthusiastic student and person.”
Pathak said she composes best after being hit with a strike of inspiration.
Her time frame to compose ranges from a few hours to a few days, but she usually ends up composing at the last minute, saying she works well under pressure.
“My all-time favorite song that I’ve written is probably ‘Too Young’,” Pathak said. “But as of now, I really like my most recent song ‘Words’ since I feel like my style as a musician has really developed and it shows my growth as an artist.”
Over the years, music has evolved to be much more than just a hobby for Pathak. During the pandemic, she decided she wanted to share her voice and messages with other people who shared the same interests as her. She combined her passion for music and her drive for helping people to form the Tri-Valley Youth Music Group.
“I created the Tri-Valley music group in 2020 to bring teenagers together during a lonely time in lock-down and to perform music for communities,” Pathak said.
The Tri-Valley Youth Music Group has performed at senior centers, preschools, and after-school programs, and they have even gone Christmas caroling.
Their outstanding community service has earned them awards such as the Certificate of Recognition from state Senator Dave Cortese (D-District 15 in Santa Clara County), an award on behalf of the City of Santa Clara, the Certificate of Commendation for the Board of Supervisors, and much more.
Now, the group has 15 passionate members and is looking for talented musicians aged 13 and above in the Tri-Valley area to join the performances.
Pathak strives for success because of her urge to help other people.
“There’s a lot of extra things she’s always willing to do, extra work and just to help out and be a leader,” Willis said.
Pathak channels her feelings and worries into music in order to create meaningful pieces to share with others experiencing the same stressful feelings as her.
“Music is a way for me to express my thoughts and emotions,” Pathak said. “It makes it easier to talk about things through music.”
In 2020, Pathak started taking big steps like posting on her YouTube channel and entering her music into competitions. Her goal was to help people get through the same loneliness she was experiencing.
Even before winning awards and contests, Pathak had many great role models, yet one stands out the most.
“In my life, I look up to my mom because she has always been my biggest supporter and critic,” Pathak said.
In addition to her mom and family, Pathak admires artists like Bruno Mars and Charlie Puth. She also loves the Bollywood singer Arijit Singh. Pathak has covered their songs and is inspired by their unique styles and talents.
Pathak’s love for music from a young age has grown to bloom into a way for her to help people around her with more than just words. From winning competitions to volunteering in places of need to taking on leadership roles in clubs, Pathak’s powerful voice has most definitely been heard.
“It’s a pleasure to watch her grow,” Shraddha Pathak said.