If there is an Indian radio station in the city that you live in, chances are you have heard her voice on it. By successfully mashing up Indian and western music, Vidya Iyer, aka Vidya Vox, is one of those artists who have elevated mashup into a genre of its own.
By seamlessly blending a variety of songs like “Kabira,” and The Chainsmokers’ “Closer,” and The Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s “Something Just Like This” and “Channa Mereya,” this Indian American singer, with a crystal-clear voice and effervescent personality, has amassed millions of followers across various social media platforms. Since launching her YouTube channel in 2015 with mashups of western pop hits and music from India, her videos have garnered over 350 million views and over three million subscribers globally.
Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and raised in Virginia, this YouTube sensation, who now calls Los Angeles home, released her debut EP, “Kuthu Fire,” Aug. 18. The original songs featured on “Kuthu Fire” are an extension of her mashups, in that they blend together very different cultural styles of music, but they stand apart in their hip-hop and electronic-inspired arrangements, as Iyer, a trained Carnatic classical music singer, describes on her website.
Iyer’s initial direction was medicine, not music, she writes in her bio. But it was while she was on a pre-med track obtaining her psychology degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., that she indulged in her passion for music, and began posting YouTube videos. Upon graduation, she took the leap and decided to pursue a music career fulltime. She has been associated with clarinetist and music composer Shankar Tucker since her college days, and continues to perform regularly as a vocalist with the Shankar Tucker Band.
Along with posting videos on social media, Iyer performs live with her own band throughout the world, including India, Mauritius, Trinidad, Suriname, Dubai, Hong Kong, and the U.S. She has performed to sold-out shows in venues such as the White House, National Center for the Performing Arts in Mumbai and the Webster Hall in New York.