Early Life of Shilpa Rao
Shilpa Rao was born in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, on 11th April 1984 with the name Apeksha Rao. Her acquaintance with the music world occurred through the efforts of his father, who himself holds a degree in music. She did her schooling from Loyola School at Jamshedpur. She received her music training under the expert tutelage of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan which was arranged by the famed playback singer Hariharan. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan also happened to be the music teacher of Hariharan. Shilpa Rao later got an opportunity to perform with Shankar Mahadevan in a concert after which she moved to Mumbai on his insistence.
Career of Shilpa Rao
Shilpa Rao started her music career in the Indian entertainment industry with advertising jingles. However opportunity soon knocked her door and she stepped into Bollywood as a playback singer. She made her debut through the Bollywood flick Ek Ajnabee in which she sang the song 'Stranger on the Prowl'. In the year 2006, she voiced the song 'Tosey Naina Lagey' in the movie Anwar. In the same year she also sang the song 'Saiyaan Re' for the movie Salaam-E-Ishq: A Tribute to Love. Afterwards she sang a number of songs in various movies such as Dev D ('Dhol Yaara Dhol', 'Ranjhana'), Aamir ('Ek Lau'), The Train ('Woh Ajnabee'), One Two Three ('Gupchup'), Gulal ('Aisi Saaza') and many more. Her song 'Khuda Jaane' from the movie Bachna Ae Haseeno also gained much popularity. In the year 2012, her song 'Yaariyaan' form Cocktail earned critical and commercial success and went on to become a chartbuster. In the same year she also worked with the academy award winner A. R. Rahman for the song 'Ishq Shava' which was featured in the last movie of Yash Chopra, Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Her other popular songs were featured in the films Anjaana Anjaani, Lafangey Parindey, Yeh Saali Zindagi, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, Desi Boyz, English Vinglish, Lootera, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Dhoom 3 and many more.
Shilpa Rao is also a part of the band, Band Called Nine, in which she along with the composer Amartya Rahut and lyricist Neelesh Misra has worked on the Indian traditional art of Qissa Goi which refers to storytelling. The debut album of the band, Rewind, released in 2011 and constituted a combination of songs and storytelling along with narratives.
Apart from Bollywood, Shilpa Rao has also lent her voice in south Indian film industry where she sang for Yuvan Shankar Raja in the Tamil movie Naan Mahaan Alla ('Oru Maalai Neram'). She has also done playback singing for a few other south Indian films such as Puthiya Mukham (Malayalam), Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam (Telugu) etc. She has also sung for the Bengali cinema for the music director Jeet Ganguly. She has also appeared in 'The Dewarists', a popular television series featured on Star World, in association with prominent bands Parikrama and Agnee. Shilpa Rao has also lent her voice to television serials. MTV Unplugged and Coke have Studio also featured her performances.
Achievements of Shilpa Rao
In 2009, Shilpa Rao won the Star Screen Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song 'Khuda Jaane' from the movie Bachna Ae Haseeno. The song was also accredited as the song of the year. She has also been the winner of Best Singer Award at Indian Television Academy Awards for her song in the television show Navya..Naye Dhadkan Naye Sawaal.