Aditi Iyer may have just turned 17 but she already has a slew of releases on streaming platforms. A prolific young singer, Aditi has worked on enhancing the range and dexterity of her voice from a very young age. The trained opera singer’s tryst with music began before she was two years of age and by three she was already a jukebox of nursery rhymes
What would you be doing today if not for this interview?
I’d actually be doing a lot of things. School’s one of them. Mine is super demanding so I’d definitely be doing various assignments, studying, or homework. But, naturally, I’d take a break for some peace of mind. I’m always trying to balance music with academics because there’s no other way to go about it. And I always prioritise my music by making it whenever I can. A lot of the time I leave studying when I have to so I can sing and write anything whether it’s one line of a future lyric or the whole thing. It all counts. I’m also always daydreaming a lot, namely lofty things like being famous and having millions of people understand what you mean. So I’d definitely be doing that a lot.
If you were to introduce your music and genre to someone unaware of your music, how would you?
I’d say varied because I never know where I’m going to go next. As an artist, I like to explore wherever the feelings take me in my music so I guess I’d tell someone unaware of my music to expect anything. But one constant thing in any music I make is emotions and reveling in them. And by emotions, I mostly mean things I haven’t experienced yet. I always tell people that I define myself as an artist who lives through her music. I think music is a really great way to empathize with people by learning about feelings you never knew about and experiences you’d never get to have. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m always looking to channel in any music I make.
Tell us something about your latest single. Inspiration behind the name and the project.
I just released Dollhouse, my newest EP, and it’s all about abusive relationships and the process of realising that they’re bad for you. It’s a topic really dear to my heart because abusive relationships are so horrible but also so common, even around me there have been real life examples. I knew I wanted to name my EP Dollhouse because dollhouses are always associated with innocence, perfection, and childhood, really. A lot of us probably played with a dollhouse when we were younger and marveled at how perfectly placed each piece of furniture was and how uniformly pretty the dolls were. It almost feels fake, now that I think about it because it’s no representation of how real life is and particularly how relationships are. Relationships are raw and real but in a way that frees rather than stifles you. I guess I was trying to say that we shouldn’t be caught up in this illusion of perfection.
An artist you’d like to collaborate with, but you know it’s not the right time now.
I’d give anything to collaborate with Taylor Swift one day. I’m so in love with her lyrics and the beautiful picture they paint. It just immerses you into what she’s talking about, and her lyrics have actually been a major inspiration for mine.
At such a young age how does it feel to be what you are and who you are?
It feels great honestly. I think the best part is knowing who I am and what I want. I can’t speak for everyone, but many teenagers don’t really understand these things and it takes a long time and a boatload of mistakes to actually get there. But I’ve always known I loved music and that I wanted to make music as a living, that’s who I am. The vision’s always been clear and it’s amazing, if I do say so myself, that I can be crystal-clear about this and begin learning about myself as an artist. Being an artist means constantly evolving and I think it’s an advantage for me to start as early as possible, though of course no time’s too late.
Who or what has been a vital source of inspiration to pursue music?
I guess I just always knew I wanted to pursue music because honestly it was like music was there growing up with me. My parents tell me I started humming songs I heard around the house at 9 months and that I sang all the nursery rhymes in my kindergarten class at 3. When I was old enough to think, I knew music was what I wanted to do and I never really needed anyone to tell me. I loved it so much, I couldn’t imagine anything else in my life. But I’ve had so much support from my parents which helped me build on my desire. They’ve been there every step of the way and they’ve never told me I couldn’t do it. When everyone thought I was crazy in Kindergarten (my teachers told my mom to get me tested), my mom was convinced despite what everyone told her that I was meant for something special. I’m really grateful for their support.
An artist’s Best Friend is?
An artist’s best friend is their attitude. That’s because there are a lot of times you feel everything’s conspiring to get you down. There will be people, often people you’re supposed to trust, telling you, ‘you can’t do it’. There will be times that well-meaning people give you some important feedback you may not like. And in all of those instances, you’ve got to have the right attitude to take and leave with the right things. You take feedback, for example, but not hate, and you take all the blows life throws at you so you can emerge stronger.
What was the first ever instrument/equipment you played? How did it inspire/motivate you?
I think the first time I felt like a real singer was when I held my first ever mic. My parents bought one for me when I was eight and I felt so powerful whenever I held it. It inspired me to actually practice a lot more and work on myself as a singer so I felt worthy enough to hold it. That’s why it’s so important I think to own an instrument or any kind of equipment not just to practice but also as a motivation tool.
How has your place of Origin been an influence on your music?
I was born in the UK and lived around the world until I came back to India at 5. I constantly went to international schools at this time. The first few songs I ever sang as a kid were in English and eventually, at 10, I began writing songs in English. So, my upbringing has been a definite influence in that sense. But India’s also been really important in terms of local support, in that it’s a two-sided coin. I had lots of people support me in terms of everyone labeling me a child prodigy and local journalists interviewing me for it. I also got a really great teacher, Situ Singh Buehler, when I was eight and she trained me in western classical and opera which has been a defining influence in my singing from then on. But, at the same time, I noticed a lot of television talent/reality shows approaching me to sing Hindi and then abandoning me when it turned out I couldn’t sing it as well as English. A lot of people have done that. The way I see it is that we should appreciate talent for talent no matter where it comes from. So, overall all, India’s been complex but isn’t everything in an artist’s journey?
How do you define success in your profession?
I think of success, as a musician, as whatever vision makes you happiest. It could be simple or really ambitious. For me, it’s the latter. It makes me happy to imagine that I could be a household name and hit the billboard charts. That people idolise me like I’ve idolised my favourite musicians and feel like there’s a place for them in my lyrics. But I wouldn’t define that as success for everyone. Success is subjective just like happiness, so that’s just what success means to me.
If we speak to you again exactly this date 5 years from now, How different are all the above answers going to be?
I think they’d be more or less the same. Things like my favourite artist or who I’d want to collaborate with and other more on-the-surface questions might get tweaked here and there but the foundational questions about who I am as an artist, for me, won’t. I know who I am and I’ll always want to honour and stay true to that.
If we speak to you again exactly on this date 5 years from now, your answer to which question would remain unchanged?
I think my answer to question 10 will always stay the same whether it’s 5 or even 10 years from now. I’ve always been clear about what I want to achieve and anyone who’s known me for a while knows I’ve been saying the same things for years. All my efforts have been a lot for that ultimate goal and I know it’ll stay frozen in time along with what I define success as in my profession. It’s honestly just what makes you happiest because, in the end, music was created to make us happy. It would be a form of injustice to music not to use it for that.
Well, thank you once again for spending time with us, giving us valuable insight into your career. We wish you all the very best of luck in your endeavors. See you soon at a Concert.
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