Meet the Sri Lankan sensation Yohani Diloka De Silva, popularly known as Yohani, who rose to fame with her voice, that captivated audiences across borders
Set to perform in India for a live club concert in Gurgaon and Hyderabad on September 30th and Oct 3 respectively under ZEE Live’s latest Sub-IP under the banner of Supermoon #NowTrending wherein the fans will also enjoy the opening act by DJ Barkha who has won maximum number of awards as ‘Best Female DJ’ till date. Yohani has been trending on various social media platforms ever since the release of the hit song which has gone on to garner more than 116 million views on YouTube in India, and has been adapted into Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bangla etc. by a number of popular artists.
Such has been her ever-growing fandom that the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Tiger Shroff, Parineeti Chopra, Krystle D’Souza, Rannvijay Singha, Neha Kakkar, and Yashraj Mukhate, among others have grooved to the song on their social media profiles.
In this interview, Yohani talks about the global buzz created by her cover of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ and the different renditions that keep appearing on the internet, her Bollywood debut with the title track of the film ‘Shiddat,’ her India tour and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic as well as her upcoming projects.
Q Your cover of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ has created buzz the world over. Were you aware at the time that it would become such a huge hit and catapult you to global stardom?
The response that I have received for ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ has been nothing short of overwhelming. And to answer your question, no, I did not imagine this kind of an attraction to the song, especially outside of Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh to so many countries. It’s been awesome to see the growth of the song in such a short time. We definitely did not see this coming.
Q Recently a flute cover of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ went viral on the internet. It is one of many renditions of the song that are going viral. Which is your favorite version other than yours and why?
There was a saxophone version, a violin version as well as a Hindi and Bengali version too that I really liked. I like these languages even though I don’t understand anything. I mean, every cover that’s been done is really interesting.
Q You recently made your debut with the title track of the film ‘Shiddat‘. What can we expect from you this time? What according to you is the USP of the song?
Well, this was a little bit tough for me in terms of the song because it’s a language that I am not very familiar with, since my mother tongue is Sinhalese. I thus had to sit down and write everything in my language and sort of figure out how to pronounce it while also understanding the meaning of the song word by word to get the emotion right and to make it better in terms of the output. I think I did an okay job. But in the future, I would be able to do a much better job if I learn the language.
Q Tell us about your ongoing India tour.
Well, I am performing under ZEE Live’s Sub IP, Supermoon #NowTrending in Gurugram and Hyderabad respectively that I am really excited about. My band and I, called Lunu, can’t wait to perform for our fans here in India. We have some surprises lined up that will blow your mind. Also, we have tried some Hindi and some Tamil songs that I hope everyone will enjoy.
Q Do you have any plans of shifting your base to India, especially now that Bollywood has spotted your talent?
I haven’t thought about that as of now but of course, there are so many opportunities coming in the future. But definitely I will do both, I guess.
Q How do you look at the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the music industry? What’s the way forward for indie artists once normalcy returns?
It has been a really bad thing for the industry as a whole, especially in Sri Lanka because we have been in lockdown for so long. We haven’t had any live shows or any gigs. I think many industries are suffering, not only ours. I hope this will end soon or be manageable and we’ll be able to do live shows again and bigger shows.
I think even before Covid, or during Covid, or in the future, what an artist should do is continue to make music and explore different avenues and different genres, or their own knowledge in music and that will take them a long way.
Q Tell us about your influences and inspirations. Also tell us about your upcoming projects
There have been a lot of influences because I listened to a lot of genres such as rock metal and EDM. I don’t stick to one genre, or one language for that matter. There are so many influences in my life and languages as well so I just listen to everything.
In upcoming projects, the first song for my album is releasing this month. It’s called ‘Ithin Adare’ and the album is named ‘Kella’. The album is already produced. I am just waiting till the lockdown ends and the country’s live shows open up to put it up.