Shubha Mudgal is a singer who is as comfortable singing classical music forms like khayal, thumri, dadra as she is singing for Bollywood or pop. She was born into an academic family - both her parents, Skand and Jaya Gupta, were professors of English Literature at the Allahabad University. Her parents' deep interest in kathak and classical Hindustani music is what drew Shubha to the arts.
As a child, Subha started learning kathak but later switched to Hindustani classical music. Under her first guru Pandit Ramashreya Jha, she started her basic training in the Gwalior gharana of Hindustani classical. When she moved to New Delhi to study at the Delhi University, she continued her musical training with Pandit Vinaya Chandra Mudgalya. Subsequently, she also trained under Pandit Vasant Thakar, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, Naina Devi and Pandit Kumar Gandharva.
During this time, she married Pandit Mudgalya’s son Mukul Mudgal, a promising lawyer. She later got a divorce and married Aneesh Pradhan. She has a son from her first marriage, Dhaval, who is a member of the Delhi-based rock band, Half Step Down.
Shubha Mudgal started her career as a Hindustani classical vocalist in the 1980s, performing extensively. By the 1990s though, she started exploring other forms of music. It is one of these experiments for the album "Ali More Angna" (1996), that brought her mainstream success. This album was followed by the wildly popular "Ab Ke Saawan" (1999) and “Pyar Ke Geet". Her 2000 album "Mann Ke Manjeere" brought to the fore, for the first time, the issue of domestic violence. Her other albums include "Chaahat" (2003), "The Awakening" (2006) and "Jahan-E-Khusrau" (2007).
Shobha Mudgal's foray into Bollywood have been limited yet prominent. Hers Bollywood songs for the films "Raincoat" (2004) and "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" (2005) were acclaimed critically as well as by the masses.
Shubha continues to experiment with music while retaining Indian classical and folk roots. In recent times, she has collaborated with the folk-rock band Swarathma on several occasions, including the award-winning song "Pyaasi" and the song "Duur Kinaara" for which she appeared with the band on an episode of the TV series, The Dewarists.
Subha has received several awards for her work. At the National Film Festival of India, 1996, she won the award for the Best Music Direction in a non-feature film for her score for the documentary "Amrit Beej". The same year she also won the Aadharshila Award. She won the Kalashri Award instituted by the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Education Foundation in the year 1997. At the 34th Chicago International Film Festival in 1998, she received the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music for the music in the film "Dance Of The Wind". The Government of India awarded Shubha Mudgal the Padma Shri in 2000.
In 2003, Shubha Mudgal co-founded the music label Underscore Records, along with her musician husband, Aneesh Pradhan, with the aim of promoting Indian music and artists globally. The label organizes the annual music festival Baajaa Gaajaa at Pune. Shubha Mudgal also writes periodically. Her articles have been featured in Live Mint, Outllook, Tehelka and other publications.