Aditi Iyer: I Would Love to Collaborate With Taylor Swift
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Reshmi AR
Meet Aditi Iyer, India's young pop prodigy, who released her first original composition when she was barely 10. Over the years, Aditi has worked on enhancing the range and dexterity of her voice, which goes on to show her passion for music. Her debut EP Dollhouse on abusive relationships, received much praise for its sensitivity. Her single 'Deleted Your Number' found a place on the coveted DRT Mainstream Top 200 music chart.
Now, her latest tracks—'18 With You' and 'Never Met you' are making waves in the world of music. Aditi is pursuing music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She's currently on vacation in India and shared her story with Deccan Chronicle. Read on...
Just 19, but already made your mark in music. How did it happen?
I always loved music from a young age. I was humming songs I heard around the house at 9 months, singing nursery rhymes at 3, and graduated to the likes of Celine Dion at 4-5 years old. Singing made me feel at home and my parents really identified that passion in me and encouraged me to pursue it. I started young, uploading my first YouTube video at 8 years old thanks to help from my family and writing my first song at 10.
I’d say I started young and had a lot of wonderful mentors like my Western Classical and opera teacher Ms.Singh Buehler who taught me the foundations of the singing technique I have now. My parents also instilled me with confidence to keep challenging myself musically and tell the world my truth. I still have a long way to go but I’m grateful to everyone who supported me because they’ve helped me learn so much along the way.
Which genre are you most comfortable with and why?
I’m most familiar with Pop and Western Classical music because that’s a lot of what I’ve been exposed to so far. But I am always open to trying more genres, such as Jazz and RnB, which I’m exploring at my college, Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Your debut EP Dollhouse created waves. What do you think about the song made it click?
I’m really grateful for the positive response I received with Dollhouse and I was stunned that so many people resonated with the EP. I think a lot of people could relate to the topic of abusive relationships explored because, unfortunately, it’s something so many have to go through. With the four songs of the EP, I tried to spread awareness about the terrible nature of abusive relationships and how it’s important to leave an abusive person. But I tried to do this in a non-preachy way by detailing the process of being in an abusive relationship, from being hurt by an abusive person’s actions to realising they’re toxic to leaving the relationship but craving them to finally being okay without them. I think empathising with people touches them more than preaching at them.
What was your inspiration for '18 With You'?
I wrote ‘18 With You’ last year when I’d just turned 18. 18 was a monumental year for me because I was about to leave my home in India to study music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. I was super excited but also really scared because I was like a child at 17 but at 18 was suddenly expected to live alone and be an adult. It felt like a lot and sometimes it was hard to appreciate being with my wonderful family and friends because I was so scared of moving and leaving them. I wrote 18 With You as a way to soothe my over-thinking and remind myself to just be in the moment and appreciate being with the people that love me.
Tell us about your latest release—Never Met You
Never Met You is about the frustration of being infatuated with someone who doesn’t feel the same. I wrote it as an ode to uncomfortable, angry, and immature feelings we get from time to time because those make us human too. I think a lot of us have liked someone who didn’t like us back, including myself, and it’s a frustrating feeling especially knowing that you have to get over them even though you got so emotionally involved.Never Met You can similarly be interpreted as being frustrated over a situationship: being so emotionally involved with someone who isn’t really ready to give you the same level of commitment. Either way, Never Met You is about the complexity of human emotion in whatever situation the listener feels fits best.
Your songs have always been so coming of age, focussing on social issues. Any particular reason for that?
That’s an interesting question! I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have supportive parents and so many happy experiences. But I also know that so many people have unfortunately been through grave injustices, including people I know. I think of my music, in a way, as a platform to use my voice and talk about the social issues I see happening and which I think shouldn’t be normalised. And music is such a wonderful thing because it reaches people in a way that words can’t and can definitely inspire change.
Who was your inspiration to pursue music?
I’d say one of my biggest musical inspirations as a child was Celine Dion. As a little kid, I mimicked her way of singing which, in the early stages of my musical journey, genuinely helped me develop my own unique style of singing. But, otherwise, my biggest inspiration has been my parents. My mom has always believed in me even when other people didn’t. And my dad always encourages me. Without the support of my parents, I wouldn’t have even thought it possible to pursue music.
Have you ever tried reality shows?
I have been on a reality show once. When I was nine, I participated in a very prestigious Romanian talent show for kids called Next Star Romania where I sang Hero by Mariah Carey in front of the judges and an audience, who gave me a standing ovation after I was done. It was a wonderful experience that I still remember fondly.
Do you think talent shows are a gateway to getting noticed and open up a window of opportunities?
I do think that talent shows can be a great way to put yourself out there and get people to know you. That can, of course, bring many opportunities. But, at the same time, I also think there is no one way to get noticed and everyone has a different path.
Do you think finding a place on Billboard charts is an indicator of success?
I think it definitely is for many people! Having a spot on the Billboard Charts means a lot of people have noticed you and your music which is definitely a version of success and, truthfully, something I aspire to do. But, at the same time, I don’t think it means there’s no more work to be done. I believe it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves and keep being determined and hardworking. At the same time, a lot of people don’t think of charting or such large-scale things, and are content with enjoying music for themselves and getting very accomplished at their art. That’s also an equal indicator of success. I do think success is subjective.
How important is it for the creative team to understand your artistic vision?
It is hugely important. An artist cannot flourish without a great creative team who understands their personality and artistic vision. If that goes wrong, I think an artist risks making music or having a persona that they think is inauthentic. Thankfully, I have a great creative team who understands who I am really well. Malvika Nanda and The Big Beat always try to do what is best for me as an artist and a person and I’ve always felt heard. On the musical side, Rohan Solomon who I’ve made many of my recent songs with always checks in with me so we’re making music that feels the most authentic to who I am as an artist.
Do you have a big name on your collab wishlist?
I definitely would love to collab with Taylor Swift. I admire her songwriting in songs like The Lakes and would love to get an opportunity to work with someone as accomplished and learn from her.
What next after this?
I am always working on new music so you can definitely expect more from me in the future. As an artist, I’m always trying to be as versatile as possible and try to challenge myself. As always, I’m also working towards my broader goal of being an accomplished and world famous singer-songwriter!