Siavash Shams often referred to as Siavash Sahneh or Siavash is a famous Persian pop icon, singer-songwriter and record producer who has released seven successful albums. His career spans more than two decades. He was one of the most successful Persian artists of the 80s and 90s. He is noted for his vocal abilities and for his live performances. As a songwriter, he composed many Persian hits, including "Boro Dige Dooset Nadaram", "Yavash Yavash", "Dokhtar Irouni", "Sahneh" and many more. His album Hamsayehaa to date is the best selling Persian album of all time. His distinctive style, looks, dance moves, and vocals have influenced a whole generation of Iranian Pop, and R&B artists. He has brought an electricity and style to stage playing sold-out venues around the world including: Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Hollywood Palladium and El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, the Hippodrome and Le Palace in London, and Aughenhausen Coliseum in Germany, Dubai Tennis Stadium and numerous other venues in the world.
Siavash is the second son of Ebrahim Shams and Khadijeh Dehgan. He moved to Tehran at the age of 5 but moved to the United States in 1977 at the age of 13 with his older brother and grew up in La Jolla, San Diego, California. As a child he had a passion for singing and would often sing at most of his school events. Although his music teacher encouraged Siavash to pursue singing he couldn't due to his parent's discouragement. He blasted onto the Persian music scene in 1985 with his debut album Hamsayehaa, which to date is the best selling Persian album of all time. The songs were written by the legendary famous poet and lyricists Leila Kasra (aka Hedieh), The album was produced by the well-known Persian producer Elton Farokh Ahi and was promoted by Siavash's high school best friend Alireza Amirghassemi who was his manager at the time. Young, with a sizzling look and voice, he was an instant success. At the age of 22 Siavash became a teenage heart throb. The album broke all Persian sales records in the U.S., Europe and Canada, selling over 500,000 copies that year, and incredible number for the than small persian community livng outside of Iran. With the album's breakthrough single, "Persian Girl" or "Dokhtar Irouni" Siavash became a household name. Siavash was on tour for three years after the album was released, at first with singer Dariush and then solo. A few years after the release of Hamsayehaa Siavash stopped working with Amirghassemi and Ahi due to the fact that Siavash wanted to write his own songs, something Amirghassemi and Ahi did not want him to do, this and other differences of opinion led to the end of their collaboration, however throughout the years the Siavash has worked with Amirghassemi time to time. In 1987 Siavash decided to take a break from music after years of touring around the world. He started investing his money by opening restaurants in San Diego.
In 1990 a single by Siavash, Andy & Kourous and Shohreh entitled "Khodayeh Aasemoonah" was released to promote a tour the four had together. The song was the remake of the famous song by Persian singer Toofun. In 1990 Siavash started his collaboration with producer Brian Wayy to produce his next album. Brian who had produced songs for artists like Paula Abdul and Duran Duran was well known in the Western industry. "Sahneh" was released in 1993 and became a ground breaking success thanks mainly to Brian Wayy's creative and innovative songs. The album changed Persian pop albums and because of the huge success and popularity of the album Siavash went on to be known as Siavash Sahneh. The title song "Sahneh" completely changed the style of Persian music, mixing a modern beat and style, which not only showcased his amazing vocal range but established him as a solid songwriter and musician as well. 6 out of the total 8 songs from the album became big hits. After Sahneh many Persian artists started working with Brian Wayy.
"Pedar" also another work by Brian Wayy and Siavash, was also an amazing album with instant hits like "Dokhtareh Choopoon", "Tou", "Baroon" and "Begou Areh". The song "Tou" was the first techno song to be mixed with Persian music. Pedar ("Father" in Persian,) the title song from the album "Pedar" was written by himself for his own father. Siavash also wrote another song "Nadoonestam" for his father that was out on his website when his father died in 2003.
In 1996 he released "Didar" with Susan Roshan that was also a top seller with many classic hits.
"Faryad" (Persian for "Scream") was released in 1997 and was a smash, selling out of stores, 35,000 copies in the first 3 months which is an amazing number in the Persian music business. The album was produced by himself. The now classic "Boro Digeh Dooset Nadaram" became a huge hit, with its upbeat, spirited lyrics written by Siavash about losing love and regaining your life, "Go Away, I Don't Love You Any More" became the song of a generation. With this album Siavash also began to cross over into a world market with his breakthrough Spanish hit, "Historia de Amour" which has been played in radio stations in Mexico and the hit English single "Grace".
In 2001, after 3 years of being away from the spotlight, Siavash released a new album "The Voice ", the first album that he had produced himself, one of the big hits on that album were " Hedyeheh Iroon".
In 2003 Siavash bought well known recording studio Valley Center Studios in Van Nuys, Los Angeles and has been recording and producing many acts from that studio since then. He has become a well known and respected producer in Los Angeles.
That year he also released a song on his website that was up for download for free. The song "Javoonaayeh Irooni" was a political song about the freedom of young people in Iran. In 2006 Siavash had a cameo appearance on NBC's Starting Over (TV series).
Siavash does not give many interviews and is protective of his private life. In 2003 Siavash married his longtime girlfriend Caroline Cooley, the two had been together for more than 20 years. The couple adopted a 3 day old baby, Noah Johan Shams in 2007 and 1 month old Rocco Cyrus Shams in August 2008. They currently reside in Los Angeles.
Legacy and Influence
Siavash's songs are considered ageless hits and his albums are still bestsellers and are popular. Being one of the first young male Persian pop stars, his distinctive style, looks, dance moves, and vocals have influenced a whole generation of Iranian pop, and R&B artists. According to Tapesh TV and Caltex Records his Hamsayehaa album is the best selling Persian album of all time.