HT City Exclusive: Manike Mage Hithe viral sensation Yohani says she is not just ‘aiming for views’

Sri Lankan singer Yohani talks exclusively to HT about life before and post her viral song Manike Mage Hithe that has become the most trending track for Instgram reels as well.
Singer Yohani has crooned the popular cover of Manike Mage Hithe.
Singer Yohani has crooned the popular cover of Manike Mage Hithe.
Updated on Sep 18, 2021 11:54 AM IST
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By Rishabh Suri

Sri Lankan singer Yohani’s song, Manike Mage Hithe, is perhaps the biggest example in recent times of music transcending all boundaries. Many of us don’t even know the meaning of the lyrics of the cover she has sung, yet we’ve heard it at least once on Instagram reels.

The Sinhalese song has gone absolutely viral, crossing 100 million views on YouTube, and climbing many chartbuster lists. For the 28-year-old singer, the response has actually also brought along with it some pressure: To deliver a hit like this one again.

“That’s a big problem for us,” she admits, “I’m not a person who’s aiming for the views as much, I usually produce the songs that I like, according to my taste. I’m hoping you guys will like the next one, I’m not too sure.”

Manike Mage Hithe, which translates to ‘Baby In My Heart’, has found such a fanbase in India, that many celebrities have been raving about it, too.

Talking to us over a video call, an excited Yohani says, “All of them have reposted and shared it, it’s amazing, like Amitabh Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Madhuri Dixit (Nene), Priyanka Chopra (Jonas), it has been really cool to say that!”

The power of social media has been further made clear to the singer, and she adds, “I think it’s really a good way to just connect with people and share your music. Not just that, but whatever you want to share, it’s just right there.”

What comes as a surprise is that it just took five years for Yohani to reach this stage in her career. However, initially, she wasn’t even sure that music is what she wants to pursue professionally.

“A lot of things have happened since 2016. I honestly didn’t know when I started, whether I wanted to become a musician. I was doing accounting. I started with doing covers of songs on my YouTube channel, then moved on to originals, and now it’s just a bit of both. The growth has been really amazing, and for my team as well. It’s incredible,” she gushes.

Viral song, fame, fans — what’s next on the list of this viral sensation now?

Yohani exclaims, “My immediate one is my album... I’m done with it, I just have to release it now. If I go a little further, I want to be able to perform live for a lot of people, like hundreds of thousands of people one day, maybe.”

Covid has played spoilsport, she continues, “It has been a little awkward. I really miss live shows, everyone in the music industry does. I just have to wait.”

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