Born in a business family from Lucknow, Shanti Hiranand was interested in music even as a child. Her formative years as a student of vocal music were spent at the Music College in Lucknow, but she had to shift to Lahore in the early forties. She presented her first performance on Radio Lahore in 1947. Her family returned to Lucknow following Partition. She then began learning from Aijaz Hussain Khan of Rampur. During this period, she continued performing on All India Radio. In 1957, she became a disciple of renowned vocalist Begum Akhtar and received training from her in thumri, dadra and ghazal.