“Indian music, western clothes, brown skin and an American accent- that’s me. I am free, free to be me”. These words are spoken by Vidya Iyer in a video on her channel where she talks about her journey as a musician. Vidya Iyer has a YouTube channel named as Vidya Vox that has over 6.1 million followers and counting. She is famous for creating mashups that are least expected in a conventional sense of music and yet she has delivered some great songs with over 656 million views (and counting) in total on just her YouTube channel.
If you use YouTube, you must have come across her channel where she takes two forms of music, mostly Indian and Western and blend it to her taste and produces a unique mashup that is so pleasing to ears and peaceful to your mind. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure to know her, let me enlighten you with some basics you need to know about Vidya Iyer.
Some quick information about Vidya Vox
Age(as of 2019): 28
Sun sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Current address: Los Angeles, California
Music Genre: World Music, Pop
Hobbies: Tennis, Dancing
Favorite food: Burritos, Oreo
Siblings: One sister, Vandana Iyer
University: George Washington University
Favorite Artists: Beyonce, Sia, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Hans Zimmer, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran
Favorite Indian Music Artists: A.R. Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan
YouTube channel name: Vidya Vox
Debut: Big Girls Cry/ Kabhi jo Badal Barse Mashup, 2015 on her YouTube channel
Boyfriend: Shankar Tucker
Vidya Iyer was born on 26th September 1990 in Chennai. She took lessons in Classical Carnatic music from the age of 5. A major change came in her life when at the age of 9 she moved to the U.S with her parents as well as a sister, Vandana Iyer who has also appeared in some of Vidya’s music videos. In her early days in school, she had been subjected to racism and bullying for being “brown” eating different kinds of food from others.
After completing high school, she studied Psychology and Biomedical Sciences from George Washington University. Later, Iyer aimed to go to a medical school but she decided to pursue music. At that point of time she made music her priority and came to India to learn and rehearse more forms of music. She stayed for two years and finally went back to the U.S.
Vidya Iyer didn’t have a happy and healthy childhood as she has talked about her abusive father who had both, mentally and physically abused her. This reached to such unbearable point that Iyer’s mother, with Vidya Iyer and Vandana Iyer ran away from the house. Vidya Vox, that we see today, as a celebrity and YouTube star has had her share of difficulties as she has gone through a lot of anxiety and stress and had very low self-esteem in her early days of life because of a broken family. She has also talked about how divorce for women is still a taboo in Indian society that needs to be accepted by people. Iyer reiterate
After two years of training in India of different forms of Indian music, she came up with the idea of blending Indian and Western music. So, Vidya Iyer started her YouTube channel in 2015 and since then it has been a success. She has blended Classic Bollywood songs with Western pop songs as well as songs in different Indian languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu. Vidya Vox has always talked of her “two identities” and challenges that come with it. That idea of dual identity is beautifully shown in her songs. Her songs tell stories of her identity, multiculturalism-that she is a part of and the idea of home. She has sung folk songs of Kerala and the famous Kerala Boat Song,” Kuttanadan Punchayile” where she has included her original English lyrics written by her and her boyfriend, Shankar Tucker who is a part of Vidya Vox’s band.
Vidya Vox is allegedly dating Shankar Tucker who is a music producer and composer. Iyer and Tucker have penned down a number of lyrics of Vidya Vox’s mashups on her channel. Tucker has also made an appearance in Vidya Vox’smusic videos on her YouTube channel.
Works and recognition
Vidya Iyer has mixed works of famous artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran, Chainsmokers, Zayn, Gomez, Bieber, etc. to name a few. The most viewed song on her channel is “Be Free(Pallivalu Bhadravattakam) that has over 162 million views. “Pallivalu Bhadravattakam” is a Folk song of Kerala that was blended with English tune and lyrics written by Vidya Iyer and Shankar Tucker, her boyfriend. This video also features her sister, Vandana Iyer. (Attaching the link of the video to check out her brilliant work https://youtu.be/eiGdsH1g20k)
Not just YouTube, she also does tour all around the world with her band. She has performed in Canada, South Africa, India, U.S, Dubai, Hong Kong and many more places.
She is seen many times with Bollywood stars. She has been seen with Shahrukh Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, and many others. Bollywood has always been appreciative of Vidya Vox’s works.