Music for the soul

Shilpa Rao, singer

Grammy nominee and Bollywood playback singer Shilpa Rao’s mesmerising voice has held many in thrall. Some of her memorable hits include ‘Manmarziyan’ from Lootera (2013), ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) and ‘Ghungroo’ from War (2019). She has worked with almost every big name in the industry, from A.R. Rahman to Anoushka Shankar. As a belated Valentine’s Day gift to her fans, she came out with the song ‘Roz’ this month, in collaboration with the alternative rock band, The Yellow Diary.

Q\ Tell us about ‘Roz Roz’.

A\ The song is about two people in a relationship that is at the brink of falling apart, because they cannot express what is going on in their minds. It captures a couple that cannot bridge this distance between them. I was excited about the song’s concept and collaborating with The Yellow Diary has been a creatively enriching experience.

Q\ Your favourite song that you have sung so far and why?

A\ That would be my first song, ‘Tose Naina’ (from the 2007 Manish Jha film, Anwar). The way it was written, I could not have asked for a better first song.

Q\ Being a playback singer in the competitive space of Bollywood must be tough. How do you unwind or relax?

A\ I do not look at it as a competition. Whenever I go to a studio to record a song, it is always me against me. With every song, I try to be a better musician and better artiste, and try to do better than what I did five or ten years ago.

Q\ A typical day in your life.

A\ There is no ‘typical day’. My life is very erratic. On some days, you are just sitting there doing nothing. On others, you are so busy that many things don’t get done. But I love every moment of it. I would not change a single day.

Q\ Your sonic range and ability to traverse various genres are legendary. How do you do it?

A\ You should have an open mind to all genres. If you can accept them all, you will listen and learn from them, and you will incorporate them.

Q\ You have won numerous awards and come a long way as a singer. What is left in your bucket list?

A\ There is so much. There are many more expressions of love, peace and human emotions that I still want to capture and share with my fans. Musically, you can never be done.

Q\ What more can we expect from you in 2021?

A\ I am starting my first-ever TV show with Zee—The Indian Pro Music League. There will be a lot of live performances of all my songs. I am really looking forward to people enjoying them.