Music: Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers

It's not often that someone sketches out his or her life path as a 13-year-old and sees the results materialize in adulthood, but Shilpa Ray is an exception. "I just knew I wasn't going to lead a very conventional lifestyle and eventually do something cr

It's not often that someone sketches out his or her life path as a 13-year-old and sees the results materialize in adulthood, but Shilpa Ray is an exception.

At that age, the New Jersey-bred, Brooklyn-based musician heard The Velvet Underground for the first time, an event that had a massive impact on her.

“I just knew I wasn't going to lead a very conventional lifestyle and eventually do something creative and not just something practical,” the 31-year-old says, calling from outside a noisy club in Houston before she and Her Happy Hookers take the stage. “At that age, I didn't really think I was going to end up playing music this seriously or anything like that. I wanted to do a lot of different things — visual art, be a filmmaker for a little while. I stuck with (this) because I was more comfortable playing music than any other medium of art.”

But giving Lou Reed and company all the credit for sending Ray down the road of loud, impassioned Rock & Roll is a bit deceitful. Ray was originally turned toward music by her parents — Indian immigrants who wanted her to play and sing traditional Indian songs as a way of appreciating her cultural background. At 6, she was given her first harmonium, a keyboard instrument that produces an accordion-like sound and is common in Indian music.

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers play a free show at MOTR Pub Wednesday. Go here to read Reyan Ali's full interview.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.