Getting a Grammy nomination is motivating Shilpa Rao to work harder
When Shilpa Rao sang Love Letters for sitarist Anoushka Shankar’s EP, Those Words, little did she know that it will earn her recognition at the most coveted music award platform. The album has been nominated at the 63rd Grammy Awards and Rao is elated to be part of the big Grammy family. In a candid chat, the Malang singer spoke about her songs, being old-school and working with composer Pritam. Excerpts:
When we spoke in January about the song, none of us knew that the EP would get nominated for the Grammy. How are you feeling?
Anoushka must be having some idea about it because she has been nominated in the past but I had no vision. Frankly, even in general, I don’t have much foresight. I am very short-sighted.
What was your first reaction when you heard the news?
The first reaction obviously was to crosscheck! We all wanted to make sure that the news was true. It feels good to be in that Grammy universe, in whatever capacity. Let’s hope this is the beginning.
Announcing the news on Instagram, you had said it was something unexpected and not in your list…
There is nothing in my list. I used to be a lazy zoned-out kid. I did not have any ambitions in life and I just wanted to chill. However, the only thing I can do is committing to the moment which is there in front of me.
The nomination has put you in the same league as that of celebrated singers Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and others. How does it feel?
It’s great to be a part of the big musical family. The world is in a very big chaos right now and we need to put out a message for the people reminding them to let love and humanity trend again. Beyoncé has been the torchbearer and she has spoken about racial discrimination, gender bias, refugees and poverty through her music. With our all-female album, we wanted to say that we are in it together.
How did the collaboration with Anoushka happen?
I met Anoushka many years ago in Delhi at a music festival and then reconnected when I went to London. She later sent me a basic track with sitar and cello and I was drawn to it instantly. Anoushka is just the same as me. We both like recording in person. I am not a very tech-savvy person; I still believe in keeping it old school.
Your last Bollywood number, Hardum Humdum from Ludo has become quite a hit.
Pritam is known for his wacky ideas and he wanted to create a ghazal in an EDM format. I am grateful for having the opportunity to work with him. He lets me thrive.
I don’t know what lies ahead but I know that I need to put in more effort now, and I am going to do that. My next song is a collaboration with Yellow Diaries for Sony Music, which is an independent single. And there will be more music with Pritam.