She was born in New York, but considers herself 'Indian' and is making the country proud with her talent. Born to Indian parents, singer Sharon Mathai is making waves on the singing reality show, The Voice 2, for both her great voice and her Indian looks.
Talking to us over the phone from Los Angeles, 19-year-old Mathai, who studied medical science in college, said it all just came about. "I just woke up one day and knew that this was the thing for me. But it's my goal to finish my studies one day," she says, adding that the auditions for the show too, happened by chance. "I had just moved to Atlanta Georgia and a friend told me that the auditions were the very next day. So, I went for it," said Mathai, who gave her own twist to the song, Rumour Has It, by British singer Adele. "It's not really my style of music but I wanted to show sassiness to America and get people excited with my first song," she says, adding: "My style of music is very organic. It has a lot of space for my vocals to breathe, instead of crazy drums and instruments."Known for its different format, the show that airs on AXN every Saturday, has a blind auditioning process. The judges sit with their backs turned to the performers, and press a button to turn around if they like the singer (hinting that he/she wants the singer in his/her team). If more than one judge turns around, the performer decides whom to choose as his/her mentor. When Mathai performed, the judges — Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton — instantly loved her style, with Levine and Shelton trying hard to convince her to join their team. "That was so crazy and shocking. I've always loved to sing but to see worldwide famous celebrities fight for you is an affirmation that you can sing and it's the biggest pump," said Mathai, who chose Maroon-5's lead singer, Adam Levine, as her mentor.
Mathai's parents - Samuel and Elsa - belong to Kerala, but they raised her in Texas after moving to the US. She has been singing since she was three years old, and is happy with the support she has got from her parents. "I'm proud to represent my culture. And it was awesome for me to see my parents cheer for me on the show, breaking that stereotypical image of Indian parents being too strict and not letting their children do anything," said Mathai, who understands Malayali but says she can't speak the language very fluently.
A fan of late singer Amy Winehouse, Mathai calls India her "home" and said she has been here several times. "My mom wants me to go this summer too and I'm going to try. I love coming home. It's where it all started and I'll always come back for tours or visiting or tourism purposes," she said.
Recalling her childhood memories in India, Mathai added: "My grandfather lived in Kerala and he owned a farm. Every time I went to India, we would have a lot of fun there. I even had a little goat there and we used to enjoy taking out water from the well, sometimes even dropping our ball in it - those were things that would never happen in the US. I have really fun memories of India."
Mathai, who in the past made it to the top 20 on The Glee Project, also has a favourite Indian artist - AR Rahman. "I attended his concert a few years ago absolutely loved it. He's so smart and his music is awesome. He just has the whole package and I'd love to sing with him in the future," she said.