By Anvita Reddy
Vidya Iyer, better known as her YouTube moniker Vidya Vox, is the rising Indo-Western mash-up queen with an ethereal voice. Her viral song mashups have garnered global attention, ranging from American DJ Diplo to Bollywood actors like Shah Rukh Khan.
Vox’s love for her two worlds culminate in her work. She creates mash-ups of popular Bollywood songs but also features regional music including Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. Since launching her channel in April 2015, she has gained almost 5 million subscribers, performed at coveted venues like Webster Hall and The White House, and gone on an international tour.
We traced the evolution of our favorite mashup star.
On September 26, 1990, Vidya was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
She started learning Carnatic music at the age of 5.
Vidya immigrated to the United States with her sister and parents. She met her collaborator and fellow performer Shankar Tucker while attending George Washington University, where she majored in Psychology while pursuing medicine. She was a vocalist for Shankar Tucker’s band and performed with him at the White House Diwali celebration in 2012.
In April 2015, she posted her first video, a mash-up of “Big Girls Cry” by Sia and “Kabhi Jo Badal Barse” from the film “Jackpot.” She collaborated with Kurt Hugo Schneider, Sam Tsui and Shankar Tucker on a “Chaiyya Chaiyya”/”Don’t Stop Believing” mashup that caught the attention of Indian cinema’s superhero Shah Rukh Khan. Other notable mash-ups from this year include “Love Me Like You Do”/”Hosanna,” “Am I Wrong”/”Yeh Duriya” featuring Rohan Kymal, “Blank Space”/”Mental Manadhil,” and “Lean On”/”Jind Mahi” featuring Ricky Jatt, Raashi Kulkarni, Raginder Momi.
In 2016, Vox released a mash-up featuring the Malayalam folk song “Kuttanadan Punjayile,” otherwise known as the Kerala Boat Song, which became a massive hit. Other notable mash-ups from this year are “Closer”/”Kabira” feat. Casey Breves, “This Is What You Came “(Tabla Remix), and “We Don’t Talk Anymore”/”Pani Da Rang.” She also started incorporating and introducing some of her original work like “Sandcastles” and “Endless Summer Stars” into her mashups.
In August, she released her EP “Kuthu Fire,” which was produced and co-written by Tucker. She also embarked on a world tour including Dubai, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru. She performed at YouTube FanFest in India. She also released original tracks featuring her sister Vandana Iyer called “Be Free” and “Diamonds” feat. Arjun. Her mashups included “Cool Girl”/”Jiya Re” and “Shape of You”/”Cheez Badi Hai”
This year, Vox released music videos for her original songs “Minnale” and “Tamil Born Killa.” Vox and “Minnale” were a part of the Discover LA campaign series, which also featured Indian celebrity Malaika Arora Khan.
Vox collaborated with clothing brand My Global Desi for a fashion collection. She recently partnered up with Google for their “The Female Planet” series, where she embarks on a journey of telling her story via 360 VR experience!
It’s exciting to see Vox climb the musical charts, especially because her work is symbolic of her hyphenated identity.
“From being an ex-premed student to creating content for HerCampus and Spoon University, Anvita Reddy is breaking the South Asian norms and pursuing her passions. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Communications and Media and she is the Social Media Coordinator at MannMukti. She can also be found binge watching all things Bollywood and Hollywood. As an avid beauty and fashion junkie, she is often researching skincare on PubMed or at Sephora swatching her heart out. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.”