Mathai was born into a traditional Christian Indian Keralite family of medical professionals and similar to many Indian youths growing up in the United States had a studious pathway etched for her in the medical field. For the self-described “nerd” whose school had always been a priority, the pressing “calling to music” occurred one day and with tough negotiations and planning with supportive parents, Mathai devised a strategy to pursue her dream by completing and combining her freshman and sophomore years as a nursing major in one year at a local college.
The freed sophomore year allowed Mathai to put her talents into full thrust by moving to Atlanta in August 2011, signing with her managers Stone Stafford and Ian Burke and rigorously auditioning for The Voice.
On the topic of the show and her Indian roots, Mathai favors its approach of not spicing up artists “it does not ask you to be anything but what you are,” nothing is changed and “I loved how they welcomed my family.” During Mathai’s audition her parents were interviewed and the camera also panned to many of her parent’s joyful reactions to which the artist admits, “We often want to hide our FOBiness or our Indianess. My mom was not a soccer mom and it was hard growing up different but it is the same people who make a difference. I am proud of my culture and its way of thinking, this is what makes us who we are and it is great for me to have America see this.”
Mathai also credits her mother and Christian background to her success “My mom noticed something in my voice when I was three years old and placed me in traditional choral and voice lessons by the age of five. She also participated in choirs and listened to Christian music for many years.”
The new found celebrity status is “astonishing in a good way, as the fans have been so supportive.”
A notation which made Mathai burst in surprised laughter was the mention of her avid male fans that are often unabashed in professing their love on social media sites for the young and beautiful artist. Mathai appreciatively responded, “So funny that I have male fans. My personality is not sultry or sexy, sassy nor sexual. I am a normal girl, just ask my friends. I just perform from my inner self.”
While Mathai is living out her dream, she still remains humble and remembers where she came from and has a soulful empathy for her family’s wishes “I know a huge part of my mom wants me t.o live a normal life and be safe and marry a nice guy, but if I do not pursue music I will not be happy. I have to play this out to the end.”
The aspiring jazz artist who considers herself a little bit of “soul, R&B and folk” has always wanted to impact people and hopes to emerge as a “revolutionary artist in my style, bringing new things to the table.”n
The Voice on NBC, Mondays at 8 p.m.