Shilpa Rao is an Indian singer. She is known for working as a playback singer predominantly in the Hindi film industry. In 2021, she received a ‘Best Global Music Album’ nomination at the Grammy Awards. Some of her popular songs are ‘Khuda Jaane’ from the film ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), ‘Ishq Shava’ from the film ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ (2012), ‘Subhanallah’ from the film ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ (2013), ‘Meherbaan’ from the film ‘Bang Bang!’ (2014), ‘Ghungroo’ from the film ‘War’ (2019), and many more.
Shilpa Rao was born as Apeksha Rao on Wednesday, 11 April 1984 (age 38 years; as of 2022) in Jamshedpur, Bihar, India (now Jharkhand, India). Her zodiac sign is Aries. In childhood, her father began teaching and instructing her how to sing. She studied at Little Flower School in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. Later, she studied at Loyola School in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, where she used to sing in the choir group in school.
A childhood image of Shilpa Rao with her mother
In 1997, she came from Jamshedpur to Mumbai, along with her family, for studying in college. At the age of 13, she met Hariharan, an Indian singer, she developed an interest in singing and began her singing training under Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, an Indian classical musician. In 2001, she started to perform at different events with Hariharan and later, she won a national-level talent hunt in New Delhi. In 2004, she completed a postgraduate diploma in applied statistics at St. Xavier’s College, the University of Mumbai in Mumbai. Shankar Mahadevan, an Indian musician, helped Shilpa get opportunities to sing jingles for TV commercials. Later, she sang jingles for advertisements of brands including Cadbury’s Munch, Sunsilk, Anchor Gel, No Marks, and more.
Height (approx.): 5′ 2″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
She belongs to a South Indian family in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.
Parents & Siblings
Her father, S Venkat Rao, is a music teacher. Her mother’s name is Rajanala Shyamala.
Shilpa Rao with her father
Shilpa Rao with her mother
She has a younger brother named Anurag Naidu, who is a jazz pianist and a music composer.
Shilpa Rao with her brother
On 25 January 2021, Shilpa Rao got married to Ritesh Krishnan, a photographer, in an intimate registered wedding at her home. In an interview, she talked about her wedding ceremony and said,
Our parents are senior citizens and therefore we chose to do a simple registered wedding at home. We kept it simple, decorated the house with flowers and my brother’s wife did my mehendi. We formally registered the wedding at around 5 pm, and all my friends and family members from across the world joined in on a video call to see the ceremony.”
A wedding day image of Shilpa Rao and Ritesh Krishnan
In 2018, Shilpa Rao met Ritesh Krishnan for the first time. In an interview, while talking about how she met Ritesh for the first time, she said,
We met three years ago on (music composer) Pritam’s USA tour. Ritesh seemed to be an affectionate person, and we started hanging out together. On the first day that I met him, I felt that he was a chilled-out guy, which was very attractive for me. We started travelling together in 2018, and did many shows across India.”
Shilpa Rao with Ritesh Krishnan
In 2007, she debuted with the song ‘Tose Naina’ from the Hindi film ‘Anwar.’
Poster of the 2007 film ‘Anwar’
In the same year, she sang the song ‘Woh Ajnabi’ from the Bollywood film ‘The Train.’ She lent her voice to the song ‘Aaja Nach Le’ from the 2007 Hollywood film ‘High School Musical 2.’ In 2008, she sang the song ‘Khuda Jaane’ from the film ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno,’ which turned out to be a breakthrough song for her. In 2012, she lent her voice to the song ‘English Vinglish’ from the Bollywood film ‘English Vinglish.’ In 2013, she sang the song ‘Malang’ from the popular Bollywood film ‘Dhoom 3.’ She sang the song ‘Bulleya’ from the 2016 Bollywood romantic film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.’ In 2019, she lent her voice to the title track of the film ‘Kalank.’ In the same year, she sang the song ‘Ghungroo’ from the popular Bollywood action film ‘War.’ In 2022, she recorded the song ‘Besharam Rang’ from the Bollywood film ‘Pathaan.’
Poster of the 2022 film ‘Pathaan’
In 2011, she let her voice to the song ‘Bekaboo’ from StarPlus’ TV show ‘Navya..Naye Dhadkan Naye Sawaal.’
Poster of StarPlus’ TV show ‘Navya..Naye Dhadkan Naye Sawaal’
In 2020, she sang the song ‘Those Words’ from the music album ‘Love Letters with Anoushka Shankar’ by composer and sitarist Anoushka Shankar. Shilpa Rao received the ‘Best Global Music Album’ nomination for the Grammy Awards 2021. She received the Grammy certificate for the nomination in 2021.
Shilpa Rao with her Grammy certificate
- 2009: Won Best Female Playback Singer for the song ‘Khuda Jaane’ from the 2008 Bollywood film ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ at the International Indian Film Academy Awards
- 2011: Won Best Singer Award for the song ‘Bekaboo’ from StarPlus’ TV show ‘Navya..Naye Dhadkan Naye Sawaal’ at the Indian Television Academy Awards
- 2014: Won Best Music Debut for the song ‘Dum Dum’ from MTV’s ‘Coke Studio’ season 2 at Global Indian Music Academy Awards
- 2020: Won Best Female Playback Singer Award for the song ‘Ghungroo’ from the 2019 Bollywood film ‘War’ at the Filmfare Awards
Shilpa Rao after winning the Filmfare Award in 2020
- 2021: Nominated for the album ‘Love Letters with Anoushka Shankar’ by Anoushka Shankar at the Grammy Awards
- Food: Gulab Jamun, Amritsari Kulcha, Chole Puri, Beera Chicken
- Drink(s): Lassi, black coffee
- Song(s): ‘Train Song’ by Raghu Dixit and Karsh Kale, ‘Ghar More Pardesiya’ by Vaishali Mhade and Shreya Ghoshal
- Travel Destination(s): Goa, Hampi, Bengaluru, Coorg
- In an interview, Shilpa Rao revealed that the biggest critics in her life are her father, her mother, and her brother.
- Reportedly, She is allergic to dust.
- She is quite sensitive to odours and avoids eating fruits that have a strong smell.
- She follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- In an interview, she revealed that she and her husband, Ritesh, likes to celebrate the new year in Amritsar, Punjab.
- She likes to take a stroll in nature, and she also likes to plant trees.
- In an interview, on being asked about how she practices singing in a daily routine, she replied,
That is an ongoing process till you die. You cannot stop. You can practice by listening to music, keeping yourself updated with all the new kinds of music. There is a lot of experimentation with the vocals, sound design and music.”
- In March 2010, she supported NDTV’s Greenathon, which was an initiative to increase electricity supplies in rural villages and promote eco-friendliness.
- In October 2011, she promoted the project in aid of breast cancer awareness by singing the song ‘Haseen Zindagi’ along with other singers including Teesha Nigam, Shruti Pathak, Shefali Alvares, and Akriti Kakkar, composed by Sonu Nigam.
- In March 2012, she performed live on ArtistAloud.com, a digital platform, to support independent music in India on the occasion of Seagram’s Fuel Music Day.
- In February 2013, she supported Coca-Cola and NDTV’s campaign, ‘Support My School,’ a 12-hour-long telethon, to raise funds to reactivate 272 rural schools in India.
- On 31 May 2013, She performed at an event along with Aakriti Kakkar, Shweta Pandit, Mamta Sharma and many more on the occasion of ‘World No Tobacco Day’ to raise awareness about the consumption of tobacco and raise funds for cancer patients.
- In October 2014, she performed in a musical concert in Delhi to raise funds for the people affected by the flood in Assam, India.
- In 2015, Shilpa Rao performed at the ‘100 Pipers Play for a Cause’ in Delhi to raise funds for the people who were affected by the Nepal earthquake.
- She loves to watch movies. In an interview, while talking about her hobby of watching movies, she said,
I am a movie buff. I watch films from all over the world. Language is not an issue. I follow French, Polish films a lot. But it’s not like I am not into Bollywood and Hollywood. If the plot clicks my fancy, I can watch anything.”
- In 2016, she performed the song ‘Paar Channa De’ in the 9th season of ‘Coke Studio’ Pakistan.
Shilpa Rao performing at the ‘Coke Studio Pakistan’ in 2016
- In an interview, on being asked about any music artist she would like to perform on stage with, she replied,
I don’t know because I feel as much as I perform and I see other artists perform, it’s great for an artiste to do their thing on the stage. I’d rather sit in the audience and watch them perform, but yeah for collaborations, it is great. When you are collaborating on something, it’s great to be on stage together. That being said, I would love to collaborate with Sting and share the stage with him. I would also like to be on stage with Snarky Puppy, among others.”
- In 2020, she appeared on the cover of Filmfare magazine.
Filmfare Cover, April ‘20 Issue. Thank you @filmfare and @jiteshpillaai for the honour 🙏🏼.#filmfare #award #govinda @ayushmannk @aliaa08 @RanveerOfficial @taapsee @bhumipednekar @SiddhantChturvD #annanyapandey pic.twitter.com/cJXyH4YNEb
— Shilpa Rao (@shilparao11) April 3, 2020
- In 2022, she was featured on the cover of LitGleam magazine.
Shilpa Rao on the cover of LitGleam magazine