Vidya Iyer, better known
as Vidya Vox, a singer popular for seamlessly fusing Indian and Western tunes
was in Mumbai for YouTube Fanfest and spoke to SpotboyE.com exclusively about
her mashups (in which Bollywood plays a big role), how she grew up in the US
Vidya released her first mash-up on YouTube in April 2015 and has gained over 2.5 million subscribers since and every song of hers like -- mash-up of The Chainsmokers' hit Closer and Kabira from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and others just grows on you like magic.
Excerpts from the interview:
How do you come up with such interesting mashups?
Shankar and I do it together and it’s quite a process. We start with a song we like or we hear on the radio and I have a list on my phone that I go through and think, ‘Hmmm... what Indian song can this go with?’ It’s a lot of trial and error. Shankar lays down a rough track and by now we know if it’s working or not in not more than one hour.
Image Source: cdninstagram
How do you deal with the trollers on social media?
I never read the comments. It’s difficult not to read the comments, while I love to engage with people -- but music is so personal, so subjective – what you like today, you might not like it . And when you work really hard on something and people just dismiss it immediately, it hurts – which is why I don’t read.
Being an Indian and brought up in USA, have you faced any racial discrimination?
No, I grew up in the DC area which has a lot of Indian families. But as a woman on YouTube, it’s different. There are so many double standards that our society has – people judge you just by the way you look. I have got comments like ‘Oh, why does she have dark armpits?’ and that too from Indian people. It’s not necessarily from the West, it’s home-grown and those kinds of perceptions are engrained from decades. We need to change that. I am happy that there are some amazing conversations happening, our generation is really fighting against this and hence this age of social media is amazing. Hopefully, in the next 5-10 years, we won’t be having the same conversation (smiles).
Mani Ratnam’s office is trying to get in touch with you, what’s your reaction? Are you getting Bollywood offers?
Oh my god, this is something I just found out when I came here. I am not actively looking out for something in Bollywood because I am in LA and focusing on my music there. I have lived here in Mumbai for 2 years and Shankar has lived here for 6 years. And I will keep coming back. When I got here, I didn’t know the enormity of the venue but I when I walked on stage and saw people—it was surreal, I am still trying to process it.
Image Source: popopics
Do you think that Bollywood is overrated?
No, I don’t think so. India produces the most films in the world. And that’s amazing. I would love to see more mainstream and independent films. My favourite was Dangal, the story was amazing. Raam Leela, and stories which are traditional are also great. I am huge fan of Bollywood.
One piece of advice you would like to give to people who want to create content on YouTube?
I think it’s important to be authentic. I know it sounds cheesy but people can see through when you are not being authentic. And you have to be proud of your work. Not everyone’s going to like what you put out and if you can’t stand behind it, it’s going to be really difficult to exist on the Internet.
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