This year’s YouTube FanFest held for the fourth time in Mumbai, had a stellar line-up with a dynamic mix of music, comedy, dance, fashion and much more. The fest also had its widely popular YouTubers from around the world, one of them being the very pretty Indian born Vidya Vox. Vidya has built an incredible fan base from India and around the world with thousands of fans and was delighted to be in Mumbai. She has performed in some amazing venues around the world, including the White House, NCPA and Webster Hall.
VERUS FERREIRA met up with Vidya for a short chat before she went on stage for her performance.
Vidya, you have been in the music industry for the last several years, how old is the Vidya Vox channel?
The Vidya Vox channel is about a year and a half old and for me in the music industry it’s been about four or five years.
How did the name Vidya Vox come about and why the name change when you are actually known as Vidya Iyer?
Well, actually the idea came from Shankar (clarinetist and composer Tucker) who came up with it and that’s how he labels all my vocal tracks when I record. We thought of ‘vox’ which is actually ‘voice’ in Latin as it sounded really good and made a statement like VidyaVoc (Voice). I was looking for something that sounded really cool and also very good. We were all the time wondering what to add, should it be Iyer or something else and then one day when we were recording, Shankar just thought of this name and we decided to use it.
How did this transition from Chennai to the U.S. happen?
I was born and brought up in Chennai, and then when I was about 9 years old my parents moved to the U.S. with my sister. I have been singing since I was five years old. My guru D.K. Nargarajan was in the U.S. living in Maryland, so my sister and I learned music from him. So I have been singing with my sister all the time. We met Shankar at a youth retreat and became friends and ever since we have become good friends.
Academically where do you stand?
I did psychology from George Washington University and also medicine. But after I graduated, I was on a pre-medicine track, studying for MCAT. You see, I like science but I love music. So when I was preparing for my exams, I was singing on weekends with Shankar and his band. I was confused what to do, so I followed my dreams and decided to take up music.
Did your parents have any objections to what you wanted to do?
Well not really, my mum is in fact totally on board, and when I first told them that I wanted to quit after I finished doing my course in studying pre-medicine, they just asked me if I had a plan in mind. I told them that I had planned to head to India to do music and start my YouTube channel, they were like…. “Okay, fine go ahead”.
Do you plan to shift to Mumbai to concentrate on your music?
Well it would be U.S. and Mumbai for my work. I live in Los Angeles, so I would be going back and forth when required. I also lived in Mumbai for a year before I moved to Los Angeles, but we have moved permanently over there now and it’s also closer to family.
Is your sister Vandana also into music?
Vandana is with me in the U.S. and she is doing advertising full time. I really don’t get a chance to perform with her very often, though it has been here and there sometimes, though not as much as I would like to.