Moving to Mumbai from Jamshedpur at the age of 13, the super talented singer SHILPA RAO started her journey as a jingle singer. Lending her voice to some of the hit songs of Bollywood like Aajjaanekizidnakaro and Tosenainalage from Anwar,shemade the listeners go Malang with her soulful voice. Khudajaane how she managed to make people feel IshqShava, maybe because of the Jazba she had! Read on…
What and who has been your driving force?
It has to be my parents, yeah both of them. They inspire me all the time!
How did you get into Bollywood?
Well, I completed my schooling in Jamshedpur and started my college here in Mumbai. And Shankar Mahadevan was somebody who I knew and he was really helpful in guiding me. He was the one who made me understand how to start singing in studios and how to record and everything. So he in short helped me a lot and of course, he also gave me my first song in Salaame-Ishq: A Tribute to Love. And then Mithoon at the same time called me for Anwar and both the songs released at the same time so that’s how everything started off.
You have worked with some of the most notable music composers, share your experience.
Well everybody has their own way of working. I mean it has always
been a pleasure to work with all of them, like each one has their own style of working and you get to learn a lot when you are working with them. So, I really have to say a big thank you to all the composers. For the way that I was casted in every song and in a way that they allowed me to be myself and did not change anything in me is the best feeling. I think I need to say a huge thank you to all the composers who I have worked with.
Which is your most favourite music genre?
Well, I have not limited myself. I choose a lot of other music, I don’t want to stick to any one particular genre. If any song or any album appeals to me, I will definitely listening to it. So, yes I am pretty open to listening to new music all the time.
How has your musical journey been so far?
It’s actually been great! A lot of times you feel that there are a lot of places you want to be at but frankly speaking, be patient, it might want to give you more what you expected from life. So, yes, having that kind of patience and faith what are very important.
From the release of your first song to now, do you still get butterflies in your tummy?
Yes! And I think it is good thing to be anxious or be nervous. It just makes you work better, it makes you more alert and focused in what you do. It’s important to be nervous.
Share a memorable anecdote about a star or a story behind any of your songs?
Every song actually makes me realise new things about myself. Like for example if I talk to Pritam da, we never really talk about work. When I meet him, we end up talking about a Harry Potter book or a movie or share with him my experience of travelling to Iceland to watch the Northern Light. That’s a very great way to start work on a song.
If not a singer, what would Shilpa Rao be?
I don’t think I am capable of doing anything else. Singing is all I can do.
Competition in the music industry is growing day by day. What are your thoughts on that?
Our industry is pretty diverse there are a lot of different kinds of movies and music that is being made and to cope with it obviously we need different kind of voices. It’s a great exchange of demand and supply and there are different songs and voice and not one person can do everything. So it’s great to have different perspectives. I think whatever work you get, you should do it with a lot of happiness. I mean baaki cheezein apne aap hoti nahi hai vaise bhi. Aap jo kaam kar rahe ho usko aap khushi se karein and that will take you places.
You have sung for many wellknown faces in Bollywood, with whom was your best experience?
I don’t think there was any bad situation with anybody yaar. I
I don’t want to stick to any one particular genre. If any song or any album appeals to me, I will definitely listen to it.”
guess I have been really lucky and fortunately, when I have worked with all these people and more than working with them you end up learning so much from the people you worked with. So, that has been really fantastic. Working and learning from them.
Because musicians work behind the screen, they don’t get that much of appreciation. What are your thoughts on that?
No! We get appreciation all the time. In fact, it’s really nice when someone who doesn’t know who you are but they really like your voice. They really change you, and they have an effect on you and that’s an amazing power to have. And of course, things are changing every day. You now see that singers perform these days and you can, of course, go and watch them and witness their energy.
You have given your voice for some of the most famous sensual numbers in Bollywood, which song is the closest to your heart?
Tose naina laage will always be
What is your take on actors who are trying their hands in singing? Isn’t that giving rise to some tough competition?
Like I said, it’s a big industry. People are coming in from everywhere. There is a lot of space for everyone. I think instead of seeing who is saying what and what everybody is doing, just do your work. There is enough space for everyone. Like aisa hota hai na that you have a big house and even if five more people come, you can make space for them. With the amount of work people are doing every year and the amount
It’s really nice when someone who doesn’t know who you are but they really like your voice.”
of films that are being made, there is space for everybody. So, I think the more welcoming we are with everybody, the better for us.
What do you enjoy moreconcerts or playback singing?
Both! Both are equally challenging and both are equally different. It’s great to be able to do both.
What according to you is the best and the worst part about the music industry?
The best part right now is that people are very open to experimenting more, so that’s really great. The bad part is that the extra marketing is sort of hampering the music value. So, I hope we can value things a little more sensitively and let’s see how that goes.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Actually nothing! It takes a lot of years to be able to say that but I do not want to change anything about myself.
Do you follow a regime to maintain the flexibility of your vocal chords?
Yes. And it’s always good to be able to practice every single day. That is something which I try to do every day. And of course, you need to listen to a lot of music, watch concerts. It’s a good music diet that you need to follow.
What is your biggest strength and weakness?
I am a very inconsistent with my choices. My will power, my patience and a lot of thing are very inconsistent. Sometimes I am very patient with a lot of things and sometimes, I get hurt because of a very small thing also. But I feel it’s both my strength and as well as my weakness. I am talking about myself and yes, that’s me!
Any message for Stardust readers?
Thank you so much for being there for me and being so supportive for all these years and listening to my music and liking it and loving it. If it weren’t for all you guys, I probably wouldn’t be here. So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you guys for being there.