- Journalists - Soumi Sen & Sreetama Thakur
- How was your India tour & concerts Vidya?
It was amazing! It was stressful and challenging; however, it was so rewarding. Being able to perform live is a privilege and I’m so grateful to everyone who came out to watch the shows. It still blows my mind how many people came!
- Since you are born in Chennai, it would be very nostalgic & special for you to perform in India. Share with us your feelings regarding this.
I love performing in India. The love and support are unparalleled. The energy is so infectious, and it really propelled me on stage.
- Why did you begin your career singing mashups? How did this idea pop up in your mind? And yeah, how did you implement it?
It was something very organic and natural to me. I didn’t invent the idea, it’s been happening for decades, especially in places like Trinidad, Suriname, Mauritius etc. where people of Indian origin have moved and are still trying to stay connected to their roots and assimilate to the local culture. I personally felt connected to it because I was growing up in the US, but still trying to hold on to my Indian roots at home. It always felt like two separate worlds, so when I recorded the first song, I realized singing all in English didn’t show my love for Indian music. So, I decided to add “Kabhi Jo Badal” to Sia’s “Big Girls Cry” and haven’t looked back since.
- You began as a Youtuber, so do you attribute your popularity to the social networking sites? Don’t you think many people who should receive the deserved popularity are denied, as there are so many Youtubers all around the globe. Everyone is of course not talented but social networking gives a fair chance to everyone, but not everyone is a performer worth to be remembered. What do you say about it?
I think social media is amazing because you can create your own opportunities and reach your audience, without waiting for someone to give you a chance. I think it’s important to be genuine and be who you are, and I think a place like YouTube really gives people a platform to do so. Even then, it is important to continue to focus on your craft and keep perfecting it. It’s better to be remembered for your craft and who you are, rather than numbers.
- Do you feel that the Youtubers get that much respect as compared to a “traditional” singer?
I think “traditional” singers are also using YouTube and social media platforms to put out their work and connect with fans. It’s just the way forward now, with the internet, the world is a very small place. I still think it’s valuable to perform live and meet your fans and supporters. No social media platform can replace the energy of a live concert!
- What are the criticisms you received so far for your mashups of original songs from the viewers or the respective artists?
Fortunately, I’ve only received compliments so far from the original artists of the songs. They usually reach out because they love what we have done with the song. But I can’t make everyone happy, because music is so personal. It’s very subjective, and one person might like a song the next person hates. So, I just keep making music I love, without worrying about other people’s opinions.
- You had released your solo, Kuthu Fire. It was something out of the box for the fans from you. So, was this fruitful enough?
The album was great because it was my process of finding my sound with my original music. We wrote about 25 tracks and only put 6 on the EP. It was a soul bearing process and I’m proud of the way it turned out. Mashups and covers are great, but nobody gets to hear your own songs and style. I think that’s why releasing my own album was so special.
- You are an Indian so, don’t you wish to try your luck in Bollywood?
Right now, I’m working on my own music. If the right project comes along, why not!
- Vidya Iyer or Vidya Vox- which one do you prefer? And what’s the story behind your stage name?
Vox means “voice” in Latin. I wanted to come up with an interesting channel name and Shankar Tucker names all my vocals in his sessions has “Vidya Vox”. So, he came up with that idea! Vox or Iyer, still the same person 🙂
- Behind every successful singer lies the credit of some excellent mentors. Tell us something about your mentors.
Shankar Tucker is my biggest mentor and partner in crime! He’s truly a musical genius and has an intuitively strong vision for the music he makes. I’m truly so lucky to be working with him every day. Apart from him, my amazing music teachers, my family, especially my mother. She is such a strong, independent woman, and she single handedly raised my sister and me. I always look up to her when the going gets tough and if I’m facing any challenges.
- You have an excellent taste of fashion as evident from your Insta profile, if you were not a singer did you ever think of trying your luck in the fashion world?
Haha! Thank you 🙂 I love fashion so much. It’s synonymous to music in the sense that it’s personal and subjective. You can say so much without saying anything at all, so it’s important to me. I would love to have a clothing line one day, that’s the dream!
- Internet says you’re a dancer too. How do you manage so many things at a time?
I grew up learning dance as well as music. I learned Bharatanatyam and it’s always been a passion of mine. I danced in cultural shows in high school, and was in a garba-raas and Bollywood fusion team in college. I also incorporate dance into my live shows, it’s just who I am!
- We would like to know about your upcoming plans.
Right now, I’m working on music videos for the songs from the EP. As always, writing new music!
- What would be your words for the aspiring singers who are deliberately trying their luck through YouTube?
I think it’s important to sing songs you love, not just because they are popular. When you love something, it translates through the screen and people can see it. Don’t stop working at it, and keep practicing!
- What message do you want to give to your millions of followers?
I’m truly grateful for each one of you. It’s because of you guys I get to do what I love, make my passion my work. We are just getting started and can’t wait to continue this journey together.
- And finally, your words for LaughaLaughi would be?
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, it was a pleasure. Keep it up, big hugs to both of you!