5 South Asian Artists You Didn’t Know Came From Desi A cappella

By Neha Gandhi

Over the past two decades, the world has been blessed with a cappella geniuses from Pentatonix and Pitch Perfect to Penn Masala. The South Asian a cappella genre has grown exponentially, especially as the collegiate a cappella scene continues to push its musical boundaries.

Did you know that some of your favorite Desi artists were actually former collegiate a cappella singers themselves? Check out some of your favorite Desi stars who made appearances on the collegiate a cappella stage!

1Aditya Rao

That’s right! The talented Aditya Rao with his smooth, buttery voice has worked with incredible artists like A.R. Rahman and has won awards including “Best Debut Artist” (92.7 BIG FM Tamil Melody Awards) in 2015. But did you know that during his tenure at Carnegie Mellon, Rao was actually a part of Deewane, the university’s all-male South Asian a cappella group? His voice can be heard in classic mash-ups such as “Ainvayi Ainvayi/Sadi Galli”.

He is now taking over the music industry, pursuing his immense passion for music by collaborating with A-list and upcoming artists from around the world, fusing Indian classical vocals with global rhythms.

2Satchith Harve

It’s likely that Harve has been a part of some of your favorite Bollywood jams and you just didn’t know it! His musical career pursuits first began when he joined the University of Michigan’s South Asian a cappella group Maize Mirchi. As the group’s musical director, he guided the group to their first two placements in competitions with his arrangements. Harve has continued with a cappella even after graduating college by producing his own a cappella covers, and judging competitions, including the first national championship competition All-American Awaaz in 2017. He then broke into the sound engineering scene by joining the renowned a cappella recording company Liquid 5th Productions.


Neha Gandhi is a communications and media specialist based out of New York. She is also a co-director for All-American Awaaz, hosted by the Association of South-Asian A cappella, aimed to foster the growth and expansion of the South Asian a cappella community, both competitive and non-competitive. You can usually find her harmonizing with the sounds of the Q train.


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