Anirudh is a great positive energy in the room: Shilpa Rao

Shilpa Rao is the voice behind chartbusters like Besharam Rang, Chaleya, Kaaavaala and now Oh My Baby from Mahesh’s Guntur Kaaram and Hrithik’s Fighter. She was in Hyderabad last night. In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, the singer talks about what makes Anirudh a great musician to collaborate with and how AR Rahman music influenced her.

Besharam Rang and then Kaavalaa, you seem to be the go to person for raunchy numbers?

I don't classify Besharam Rang as a raunchy song because it is more than that.It is something that we accept and celebrate what you are. Yes, the format is it is a dance song and hence becomes different. But I think the best way to speak to people is to not complicate it and to be able to say it in a simple way. And I think that's the best way to communicate with people.

You created waves with Kaavalaa in jailer. Did you think it would be such a sensational hit?

I had no idea that I could also sing it. So the first question I asked them was “Why did you call me?” because I couldn't imagine myself in that song. So I just went with his conviction and they said, “You will have a lot of fun recording it.” There was no pressure to sing it in a certain way. We were both having fun. I have to say that Anirudh is a nice energy to be in the same room. The way we recorded, it was more like a jam. It didn't seem like a recording. I had no idea that the song would reach out to so many people, not just in India, even abroad that people would just connect to it so organically. I am very grateful.

Tell us about your Collab with Anirudh?

It was very chilled. He sent me the song and said take your time, it's a solo so go all out, do whatever you feel like, express yourself the way you. I think that gives you a lot of confidence because when the composer himself has given you that space to do whatever you want, then you start using your imagination, and trying to make it more fun. For example, the part where I had to say the part 'Ra ra ra', you don't need to sing it, it's an expression, so go for it. I will cherish that recording.

Is there a different kind of preparation that goes into singing in a language foreign to you?

There is a prep that is required because Tamil is not my language. But it's been a part of my life because of Rahman sir, since Roja we've been hearing his music in Tamil and I think it's one of the most precious things that I can remember from my childhood, from my school time. So though I have not sung in Tamil, the music has always been there, so the language, the phonetics, the poetry the language has, it's always been there. I think children learn languages by listening to it and I think thanks to Rahman sir, this language has gone above and beyond the entire world actually.

How did Chaleya happen?

Chaleya was the first recording with Anirudh. Shah Rukh sir's manager Pooja had reached out saying that there's a song for Jawan and sir wants you to try it out. I said yeah, why not, definitely I was very excited. The song is one of the most refreshing things I had heard in a long, long time. When you hear the song you will understand that there is this newness to it and I prepared before getting into the studio and It was a very short 20-minute recording with Anirudh. Like I said, he is one a great positive energy to be in the room when you are recording something.

You have sung songs across genres, which one do you enjoy the most?

I actually enjoy everything. I literally get into the studio like a child in an ice cream factory or a chocolate factory. I enjoy myself, I really don't think much. It's the time to feel if that song makes you feel something, makes you happy, makes you ponder, makes you think. I think you should just do it. You should not think much. You should actually see what the song is trying to tell you and try to express it. All the thinking and working should be done at home when actually there's no work. You shouldn't waste those days. Those days are very important when you are not working. When there's no recording or project is the day you need to learn new things and find more things that you can do with your music. And those days help you in the studio when you have a recording and do new songs. For me, any song is like a joy ride.

Singers have to watch what they eat and drink as vocal health is critical. What measures do you take to keep your vocals fit to sing?

I don't think oily food is the problem for me. I need to sleep well because if your voice is well rested, you can sound better. That's something important for me. It's different for different bodies. I have some idea as to what works for me. So I do that on a daily basis.

Any artists you want to collaborate with?

I want to collaborate with anyone and everyone who is doing very interesting music. All it takes is someone sends me a song on WhatsApp and I get into the studio and record it. It's not very complicated.

What are your future projects?

I have something with Thaman, it's Mahesh sir’s Guntur Kaaram. Oh My Baby is just out and people are loving it. Then there’s Fighter that's coming up with Vishal and Shekar. These are the songs I am looking forward to right now.

What's on your playlist right now

I am listening to everything right now—from Balkan music to Jazz and Karan Aujla. My playlist is the mix bag of everything, which I enjoy.

Shilpa Rao was in Hyderabad to perform at Signature green vibes, a festival with nature with the motto 'Live Good. Do Good'.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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