How Divya Vivek Went From Paatu Class To Pursuing Music Professionally

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Born and brought up in Madras, Divya Vivekanandan started her vocal training at the age of 3.

Though she was immersed in Carnatic music as a toddler, and for years to follow, singing without comprehension of the art form kept her from feeling fully connected to the experience. And so she stopped going to classes in high school.

But music would keep coming back to her, in new ways. Whether it was singing with bands, on tracks for composers, in jingles for ads, whole new worlds emerged and converged. Some of these opportunities would include singing with renowned composers and musicians Illayaraja, during a private event, S.P. Balasubramiam on an Indian television show, and K.J. Yesudas.

Divya Vivek

After completing her undergrad she left for Toronto to pursue her Master’s Degree in Marketing. Music took a backseat while she studied and traveled, immersing herself in a new city and ways of life.

Then as luck would have it a long lost friend, Guruprassad Badrinarayanan, connected via Facebook 2 years ago when he realized he and Divya were in the same city once again. Many years had passed since they’d both lived in Madras, but Guruprassad was still pursuing music and encouraged Divya to dive back in.

One opportunity led to another, and Divya began singing with bands, taking part in productions of covers, and hitting the stage in Toronto and Ottawa.

Today she works as an RJ at Chennai Radio, where she interviews musicians and artists, and chats about all things music.

Reflecting on her path so far, Divya feels that learning the fundamentals and basics of Carnatic music all those years ago is what’s helping her learn more and more without giving up or feeling insecure. What she couldn’t grasp at a young age in the repetition of notes, svarams and lessons from her musical gurus, she feels immense gratitude for today.

Looking ahead she’s excited about developing further as an artist, through vocal training and delving further into content creation to expand the reach of her music. Though she’s always had friends and family in the film industry, becoming a playback singer isn’t a goal of Divya’s. She strongly believes that it’s not just industry involvement or recognition that certifies you as an artist. That can be amazing in its own right, but an artist can be an artist anywhere in the world, taking part in whatever platform they choose; the possibilities with music, especially when collaborating with other artists, are endless.

“I am an extrovert when it comes to my music. I sing anything and everything that is out there. I love to learn and experiment with sounds and rhythms. That’s how I best know to communicate with the universe.”


Catch Divya hit the stage at desiFEST this Saturday, June 3rd in Toronto! Her performance will include tracks produced by Kedar, and she’ll be accompanied by saxophone and violin player, Harini Skantha.

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Nivethika Thambithurai

Nivethika Thambithurai

Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Nive is a dreamer and writer who loves exploring how Tamil culture varies around the world in fashion, food, films and music.

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