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Shilpa Rao

Known for her mastery over Indian classical music, Grammy nominated singer Shilpa Rao embarked on her musical journey with jingles for ads. But over the years her soulful voice, and exceptional playback talent has made her the toast of Bollywood!
FACE’s Managing Editor Neha Sachar Mittal caught up with the singer. Tune in. 

1) You trained under your father initially… did you always know that you are going to be a singer?

I didn’t want to do much, because that was never in my plan. I didn’t think I would become a singer. I was learning music but never had any aspirations or ambitions. I think now when I look back, it was a good thing. I learnt music without any  expectations. I think in a way it was really a good childhood were I was learning music for it’s pure love and nothing else. 

2) How did the transition happen from jingles to playback singing for Bollywood?

Jingles, obviously they helped me to understand how to sing a track and when you start doing smaller things then you understand how to record on mic and everything, so that’s how it helped me.

3) You have worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry like A.R Rehman, Pritam, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy…but recoding a song is a collaborative effort. What kind of inputs do the singers bring to the table?

Its like you have a skeleton and you have all the ingredients then the singers comes in and add that beauty to the rendition. Singers come and bring the lyrics and the music together with their emotions and expression. I think that is what a singer brings to the table, they bring the song to life. 

4) Like in every other field, singers also go through their fair share of criticism, but unlike many other fields its easier for them to be “out of sight, out of mind”. How do you or did you deal with rejection or criticism?

Everything has a good and a bad side. Criticism is also very important because it helps you to get better at your job. I think criticism is very essential for us to grow. It’s like the water and sun for a plant so you need that water also and you also need that harsh sun to make you grow. So it’s important! 

5) In today’s dynamic world of Social media, where “Jo dikhta hai who bikta hai” how does someone who is behind the scenes stay relevant?

Infact, the social media is giving you that platform that people can actually see you in what you are doing and where you are performing and what are you recording. So I think it’s actually giving face to the voice on the contrary.

6) Being Nominated for a Grammy is a great achievement…how do you feel? 

Well, for somebody who since childhood had very humble ambitions, needless to say that a Grammy was never on my list. But when it happened, I was ecstatic and it was very exciting for me. I think more than talent and hard work, persistence is the key because beyond being talented, one really has to work hard and not quit even when there are times, things don’t work out. There are times when things are not going your way and to be able to go back to work and to learn and to practice that is most important. I have being doing that and practicing every single day and still learning music each day. I think these things really matter and this is why I tell the youth to learn music, to keep chasing music excellence and that is what will get them to glory.

7) You surely are a success story where hard work and talent have gone hand in hand…do you have any tips or tricks on the same ,you might want to share with our readers and fellow music enthusiasts out there?

Learn music, practice hard, have patience, have faith in music don’t do it for the views and likes. But do it for the love of music. I think, the common thing I would like to say to any human being is just right now in this situation we need more people who are peace makers, who find empathy in each other. Right now we all need to help each other there are few times in our life that we have a chance to help another human being and we should do it now. In Today’s time it’s not just you but the whole world is going through a crisis so be a compassionate human, share whatever you have and the resources that belong to all of us. And just help out another human being. Yeah!

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