SYDE Engineering grad's career soars as musical director for a Canadian superstar

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Entertaining students with his band at University of Waterloo’s on-campus pub helped launch the career of an engineering alumnus who is the musical director and lead guitarist for Canadian rock musician Shawn Mendes.   

Zubin Thakkar, now a platinum-selling producer, recording engineer and songwriter, formed Prize Fighter about 15 years ago with several other Waterloo students.

A fan-favourite at The Bombshelter, better known as The Bomber, Prize Fighter released its first CD at the pub, which closed its doors in 2018.   

“People were lined up all the way down Ring Road to get into the release party,” recalls Thakkar, pictured below.Zubin

His love of music began in the mid-1990s when he started watching MuchMusic with his sister in the family room of their Kitchener home.

It was the “mind-blowing” guitar playing by bands like the Smashing Pumpkins that led him to convince his parents to buy him a guitar for his birthday when he was in Grade 7.

Thakkar says he became obsessed with his electric six-string, a Yamaha Pacifica.

“I’d take it to school every day, put it in my locker and play it at lunch unplugged in the hallway,” he says. “I didn’t necessarily realize it would lead to something – it was just this awesome thing I was into.”

Mainly self-taught, he began writing and playing his own songs shortly after he received his birthday gift. 

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This article was originally posted on the Waterloo News