One of the biggest reasons for the success of Secret Superstar is its plot where Insia Malik, a 15-year-old Muslim girl, (played by the talented Zaira Wasim) who is an aspiring singer, becomes an overnight Youtube sensation after she posts a song that she has sung, online. To maintain her anonymity so that her abusive father does not find out, Insiya dons a burkha and sings under the name Secret Superstar.
Much like Insiya in Secret Superstar, the internet, and Youtube, in particular, has given a platform to many talented and aspiring singers who otherwise would not have a place to showcase their talent. We take a look at Indian musicians who have become Youtube sensations, gathering thousands of subscribers and millions of views.
Vidya: Vidya Iyer, better known by her screen name Vidya Vox, has taken Youtube by storm with songs such as her popular mashup Closer/Kabira which has garnered 3,901,140 views so far. Vidya, who was born in Chennai and brought up in Virginia, America, began her YouTube journey in April 2015, and there has been no looking back for her since. She has 3.6 million subscribers on Youtube with her list of fans including Hrithik Roshan, Major Lazer and Diplo. Her covers and mashups of popular songs such as Hosanna/Love Me Like You Do, Let me love you/Tum Hi Ho, and Sorry/Kandukondein kandukondain, have become viral hits.
Sanam: Often called India’s ‘One Direction,’ the quartet Sanam, famous for its original hit ‘Itni Door’ which has received more than 1.6 million views on Youtube, was started by Sanam Puri, the lead vocalist and his brother Samar Puri, the lead guitarist. Venkat Subramaniyam (bass guitar) and Keshav Dhanraj (drums) are the other members of the band. Sanam, which has 2,847,789 subscribers, has also composed music for films such as ‘Gori Tere Pyar Mein’ and ‘Ishq Bulaava.’ The band also composed the hugely popular ‘Main Hoon’, for the film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Aakash Gandhi: The Mumbai-based Indian American singer, songwriter, pianist and composer created 88KeysToEuphoria in January 2008. Since then, his Youtube channel, which primarily features piano and instrumental covers of popular Bollywood songs, has garnered more than 85 million views with 244,546 subscribers. Gandhi has collaborated with other singers and musicians such as Jonita Gandhi, flutist Sahil Khan and Samar and Sanam Puri to bring out soulful renditions of songs such as ‘Ae Dil Hein Mushkil’, ‘Pani Da Rang’ and Galliyan.
Shirley Setia: The Youtube celebrity and singer from Auckland shot to fame when music label T-Series ran a competition for which Shirley Setia sang the song ‘Tum Hi Ho’ from the film Aashiqui 2. Despite sending across a video shot at her parents home in Dannemora, East Auckland, wearing pyjamas, the singer won the competition and there has been no looking back for her since. The singer currently has 1.6 million subscribers on Youtube and has collaborated with YouTube artists from India, US, UK and Canada.
Shraddha Sharma: The Dehradun based singer uploaded her first Youtube video in April 2011, when she was just 15 years old. The song, ‘Mein Tenu Samjhawan Ki’ from the film Virsa, has received 1.1 million views so far. The hugely popular singer’s channel ‘Shraddharockin’ is one of the most subscribed ones in India, with 233,488 subscribers and more than 20 million views.
Arjun Kanungo: His Youtube channel describes him as a singer, composer, producer, actor, writer and entrepreneur. Arjun Kanungo, best known for his work in Go, Goa, Gone and for the 2015 sensational Youtube blockbuster Baaki Baatein Peene Baad, has a diploma in Sound Engineering and is a trained actor from Lee Strasbourg Theater and Film Institute, New York. Arjun’s Youtube channel has 92,644 subscribers and has garnered more than 8 million views. The versatile performer, who started off young when he set up his own studio at the age of 18, is currently signed up with Sony Music.
Jonita Gandhi: The Indo-Canadian singer is both a Youtube sensation and a successful playback singer in Bollywood. Jonita Gandhi started off by posting videos of her collaborations with Aakash Gandhi when she was just 17 years old. She continued with covers of hugely popular Bollywood songs such as Pani Da Rang, Tum Hi Ho, Tujko Jo Paaya, which became Youtube hits. She debuted in Bollywood began with the title track for Chennai Express, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. The talented singer performs originals, covers and mashups of English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu songs.
Sanah Moidutty: With close to 100,000 subscribers and 263,000 views, this Malayali lass is climbing up the popularity charts on Youtube. Sanah Moidutty is trained in Carnatic and Hindustani classical music as well as in western vocals. She has been singing since the age of seven and has sung in Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, English, Punjabi, Telugu. The versatile singer has also collaborated with Sanam and Vishal and Shekhar.