Aditi Iyer is not your regular 17-year-old, here’s how she created her EP Dollhouse, on Abusive Relationship and Bad Romance
“I feel I was genetically programmed to be devoted to music. I sang almost every nursery rhyme I heard when I was three, and I transitioned to more mature stuff like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston when I was four to five,” says Aditi Iyer as she starts to open up about her journey with music. The 17 – year – old singer and songwriter has recently released a Poignant, haunting and groovy 4 track EP, Dollhouse which digs deep into the vastly rampant pattern of abusive relationships and bad romance. The music of the EP is hard-hitting and so are the lyrics. And knowing that it’s coming from a 17 – year – old absolutely amazes us. And while we were simply digesting the beauty of her work, we ended up getting the pleasure of chatting with her. We spoke to her about her journey and about the EP. Here’s a glimpse of our conversation.
How did your musical journey start?
I began humming when I was nine months so it’s almost like I was genetically programmed to be devoted to music. I sang almost every nursery rhyme I heard when I was three, and I transitioned to ways more mature stuff like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston when I was four to five. I’d be lying if I said my journey’s been easy from that point on, though. I’ve made my fair share of faux pas, I mean which artist hasn’t? But it’s been really important to me developing my own style of music. I feel my voice has really come into its own so you can hear it and know it’s me and uniquely mine. I also know my songwriting has evolved from being something I tried to say to something I could. So, I’m really proud of that. About my evolution as an artist,
I have had definite influences that shaped the process out for me a lot. Taylor Swift is a huge one. Her lyrics are so emotive and really make you visualise what she’s talking about. I have always wanted to do that so I guess I tried to learn from her and it’s helped me a lot. A more recent one is Olivia Rodrigo for the same reason but also how deep and dark her melodies are which inspired me and helped me think about how melodies can be made to compliment the music. Fun fact, I also really idealised Celine Dion when I was younger. I wouldn’t call her a current influence but listening to her was a huge help when it came to developing my own way of singing from watching and learning so I can’t forget that.
Aditi Iyer telling about her EP, Dollhouse
Dollhouse is all about abusive relationships and the process of actually going through them over my four songs. I like being realistic when making music and writing lyrics and I want people to feel understood rather than preached at, so the aim for me in Dollhouse was to musically go through an abusive relationship myself from the melancholic Tearing Me Open, the introspective Hollow, the yearning Withdrawals, and finally, the empowered Your Photograph.
Honestly, I made this EP dedicated to my friend who’s currently going through an abusive relationship. She’s with someone who doesn’t appreciate her and won’t listen when I and our other friends tell her to call it quits. I believe music can really succeed where words fail and I wanted to make my EP a message to her but also to everyone else who’s going through what she is to realise your worth and dump anyone who doesn’t.
Q. Tell us about your experience of the time when you received a standing ovation from the judges of Next Star Romania.
It was honestly an amazing experience I still remember fondly. I was probably only eight at the time and I was called to a foreign country to sing Hero by Mariah Carey which was my anthem at the time. I wore a lehenga to emphasise my heritage, and I remember being really nervous on stage not because I was going to sing in front of so many people but actually because I’d be on stage with a python and I’d watched a few…grim documentaries on them.
I remember starting to sing and being very unsure because this was the first international platform I ever sang in, but I was really motivated by the judges and so many others giving me a standing ovation because it meant I was doing something right, especially because they did it while I was singing and stayed standing till the very end. It was such a boost for me and I think everyone should feel like that at least once in their lives, the feeling of being truly appreciated. But it’s not like it was all rosy for me because I did lose and I cried very ugly tears. Though, now that I look back on it, that was valuable too because I learned what it means to fail really early which really gives you more immunity in the long run and also has helped me reflect on what I did that went wrong and how to correct that. So, I’d say it was a valuable experience in more ways than one.
Q. How does it feel like being a teenager producing such mature music?
I think it makes me unique if I do say so myself. Or that it makes a lot of people see me as unique. Many people have told me they’re shocked a teenager could write something so mature and wise for her years but I personally don’t think of it that way. I think, while my content might seem mature, I just want to understand my audience and their experiences. So, I’m always tempted to write about something I haven’t gone through over something I have so I can actually experience it vicariously through my music. Also, there is a stereotype that teenagers have no depth, we’re hormone-driven, or we only think about sex and other superficial things which is totally not true.
I feel this affects my music and how people perceive it but also a lot of the other stuff out there aimed at teenagers which I feel mainly only taps into this on-the-surface thing. I know a lot of teenagers who don’t fit this at all, who think of really mature and deep concepts and go through diverse but equally important experiences. I guess I want to encourage more of us to come out and not be afraid to be mature.
Q. What are your expectations with the EP
I think my biggest expectation is to have more people tell me they resonate with my EP. I truly want to know I did something to help, even if it’s just connecting emotionally to a lot of people because I know that goes a long way. Other than this though, I hope it does well commercially and gets a lot more reach/exposure than my other works since I did do a few things differently this time in both my music and preparing for the release. Any artist’s dream, finally, is to cultivate a solid fan base and I hope my EP can do that for me.
Q. Tell us a bit about your future goals?
The biggest goal I have is probably really lofty but I want to be a super successful singer on the international scene. I want to hit the billboard charts, maybe collaborate with some of my inspirations. Many people have told me it’s too ambitious or impossible but the way I see it, everyone who’s that famous now was probably exactly where I am once upon a time, thinking about a goal that might not come true and then making it happen. If they can do it, so can I!