New kid on the block

On song Shilpa Rao’s dream debut began with Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy’s peppy ‘Saiyan Re’

On song Shilpa Rao’s dream debut began with Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy’s peppy ‘Saiyan Re’  

Shilpa Rao, an up-and-coming singer, is making waves with songs such as ‘Saiyan Re,’ ‘Tose Naina Lage’ and ‘Woh Ajnabi’

Shilpa Rao may be the new kid on the block but she is definitely making waves with her vocals. This up-and-coming singer who has lent her voice to songs such as ‘Saiyan Re’ (‘Salam-E-Ishq’), ‘Tose Naina Lage’ (‘Anwar’) and ‘Woh Ajnabi’ (‘The Train’) is definitely on the roll.

It was her father, S.V. Rao, who initiated Shilpa into the world of music. A post-graduate in music, he gave Shilpa the grounding needed to be a fine singer. But it was Hariharan, however, who discovered the innate potential in her and encouraged her to fine tune her skills. And fine tune her skills she did under Ghulam Mustafa Khan.

Move to Mumbai

“Then I got the opportunity to perform with Shanker Mahadevan at a Spirit of Unity concert. He said I had talent and told me that if I was interested in making it into the music industry, I should move to Mumbai,” says this Telugu girl who was brought up in Jamshedpur where her father worked at Tata Motors.

Having moved to Mumbai, Shilpa started off her career doing jingles for advertisements. Her dream debut into the music industry began with Shanker-Ehsaan-Loy’s peppy ‘Saiyan Re.’ “I had butterflies in my stomach. But the trio made the studio so homely that I felt comfortable and relaxed within minutes,” says this 22-year-old.

The singer then went on to do songs for Mithoon Sharma (‘Tose Naina Lage,’ ‘Woh Ajnabi’ and ‘Nach Le’), Piyush Kanojia (‘Raghupati Raghav’ and ‘Vaishav Jan’) and Raghav Sachar (‘Gupchup’).

“All these music directors have their own style of working. But as music is a common ground for both the director and me, it’s just a matter of getting into the groove of the music.”

Movie buff

According to Shilpa, she is open to all kinds of music. “I grew up to ghazals as my father was a ghazal fan. Then as I went to a missionary school, I was a part of the choir and then in my teens, I was into rock… As you grow older, your taste in music changes. Now, I listen to everything; anything that makes me smile,” says Shilpa who admits she is a major movie buff.

While she feels upbeat and classical-based beats are best suited for her kind of vocals, she says she was pleasantly surprised to discover she could do romantic numbers.

“Vishal Shekhar asked me to do a romantic number for one of his movies. Although I was sceptical, when I finally heard the recording, it sounded good. I guess it is a question of how you adapt to the different genres of music.”

The singer has in her kitty songs for the movies ‘Aamir’ and ‘Dev D,’ ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Horn Ok Please.’

“I have also sung a Telugu song for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy,” says Shilpa signing off.


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