Sounding Out with Izzy #47: Shilpa Ray

“Everyone always expects something very specific when they see a person who looks like me, and I won’t give it to them. That’s always been the inner trick with me. A lot of [my Indian heritage] and Indian culture is still ingrained in how I write and how I think in a subtle way, but I refuse to be defined as an “ethnic” artist in the eyes of white people, who think they get to decide how I sound, and what I get to sing about. I probably could have been more successful if I played that role, but that’s just [not what I’m about].”⁠

– Shilpa Ray


Sounding Out with Izzy” is a podcast where I engage in exciting conversations with dynamic female and queer musicians, music fans, and industry professionals about their personal backgrounds and how they’re fighting for positive change in the music industry. In the second episode of Season 3, I interview Brooklyn-based punk songwriter and poet Shilpa Ray. We discuss her striking latest album Portrait of a Lady, her upbringing in a Bengali family in New Jersey, being mentored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and why so many “progressive” political movements continue to reproduce structures that are oppressive to women.

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