Yohani De Silva: Upcoming global star of Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Yohani De Silva: Upcoming global star of Sri Lanka

5 September, 2021

Sometimes history is made not by grand things, but by trivial things. This is especially true for singer Yohani De Silva. Until the time of her cover song, Menike Mage Hithe, became a viral hit , she was not even considered to be a singer in Sri Lanka. But after this song was released she has overnight become not only a forefront singer of the country, but also one of the most sought after artistes in Asia. The huge popularity she got around Asia, one can say, is too heavy for the young singer, because it is so difficult to manage such ademand even for a veteran artiste.

Current situation

For the moment, her ground -breaking cover song, Menike Mage Hithe, records more than 100 million views around the world, and the number of her Instagram and Youtube channel subscribers has also increased dramatically – by millions. Ever since it went viral in India, its views are increasing five times faster than before, and cover songs of Menike Mage Hithe are also being produced daily by the hundreds. Meanwhile, there emerged a huge competition among Asian singers to obtain rights for their cover songs of Yohani’s Menike Mage Hithe cover – singers in virtually all the languages in India, including Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Ode and Assam have launched their cover songs of Menike Mage Hithe. In parallel with this, Yohani De Silva’s net worth has also increased unbelievably – according to her biographical notes in Wikipedia it is LKR 100K – 500K. Because of this sudden surge, some predict that she would become Sri Lanka’s first billionaire.

Yohani has also become a popular figure among Bollywood artistes. For instance, Amitabh Bachchan, the most idolised film star after Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar in India, praised this song saying, “…. But truly an ode to that incredible Sri Lankan song Menike Mage Hithe… and edited here to my KALIA song by the genius in the house, granddaughter of NAVYA NAVELI… But honestly Menike… playing in loop whole night…. Impossible to stop listening to it…. SUUUPPEEERRRBBB”.

He shared Yohani’s cover song, Menike Mage Hithe in his Instagram account to promote it among his Instagram followers. Shah Ruk Khan also commented on Menike Mage Hithe song saying, though the song has a simple tune, it teaches what an impact can be exerted from that simple tune. And Siddharth Nigam, young Bollywood actor, was so crazy about the song that he posted a video on his Instagram account in which he sings the song passionately.

Who is Yohani De Silva?

As most people already know, she is the eldest daughter of ex-Army officer, Major General Prasanna De Silva. Yohani’s mother is Dinithi De Silva, Yohani has one younger sister, Shavindri De Silva.

Yohani’s full name is Yohani Diloka De Silva. She was born on July 30, 1993 in Colombo. She is Catholic, but has a mixed upbringing. She first attended Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, and passed the Ordinary Level examination in 2009. Then she went to the United Kingdom and attended Hatch End High School, in London from 2010 to 2012. There she completed her Advance Level examinationfrom its sixth form and came back three years later. She joined the Sir John Kotelawala Defense University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics Management in 2015, with a Second Class Upper. Next, she flew to Australia in 2017 and enrolled in a Master’s Degree in Professional Accounting, where she graduated with a first-class, from Central Queensland University, in Melbourne.

Getting involved in music

Most great artistes become involve in art by chance. But for Yohani, she started to learn the piano at a young age. Since then, she started to engage in the musical arena in various ways - she sang songs, wrote songs, rapped songs, and later began to produce music. There were no divisions in her musical interests, she sang all kinds of songs like rap songs, pop songs and classical songs.

To reach the current position, she was helped by some significant events in her life. First was, meeting with Dilanjan Seneviratne, co-founder of Theewra and Pettah Effect, a record label, in 2015. She made her debut record with the Pettah Effect label with the song Aaye in which she says how she came into the music industry. The second was, launching her own YouTube channel ,Yohan,i in 2016. The third was, putting aside her Master’s degree received from Australia and coming back Sri Lanka in 2019 and selecting to be a professional singer. Fourth was the collaboration with Chamath Sangeeth, music composer of Menike Mage Hithe in 2020.

Before her path-breaking viral cover song, there were a few cover songs of hers that went viral on social media. The first was was Deviyange Bare by Drill Team, launched in 2018. The second was Pana Senehas by Dushyanth Weeraman which came out in 2019. The third was Pop Hits Mash Up which also came out in 2019. This very cover went on to reach a staggering 10 million views, and it was a turning point in her career as it was the first true break into the Sri Lankan market.

Though Yohani De Silva is famous for her cover songs, she has also created her own singles too. Her debut single Aaye premiered in August 2020 and the second Sitha Dawuna in September 2020. Third was Rawwath Dasin in December 2020. This third single was a tribute to Yohani’s father, it reverberates a wave of emotion through the citizens who endured a 30-year battle against terrorism in the island, especially those connected to the military personnel that fought in the front lines. This was immediately followed by her first English original Merry Christmas Baby which premiered on December 21, 2020.

Multi-talented Artiste

The immense popularity of these songs was helped by Yohani’s modelling skills too - before embarking on the musical arena she has showed her talents in modelling. When one watches her songs on Youtube or any other visual media, he or she cannot help thinking about her other creative presentations apart from the singing – facial expressions, costumes, movements, colour contrasting, background visuals and other such features. Sometimes it is like a Spielberg movie. This is not surprising as she stepped into the field with highest academic qualifications and inborn talents. It is also noteworthy to mention that she was a celebrated swimmer and a water polo player at Visakha Vidyalaya, winning school colours.

Future Challenges

The most difficult challenge that she would face in the future is how to continue her success as a singer. To win the challenge, she has to first see the music in its wider perspective. In fact, a song is a component of music and it is the most basic and simple element in it. So, she has to touch the genre of music widely without stopping exclusively at songs. One cannot widen the horizons of music and fan’s sensitivity for music just singing for the gallery.

The young generation tends to create things ignoring tradition, but any high art is rooted deeply in tradition. Hence, Yohani De Silva has to be aware of her own tradition when producing her creative works. And it is also significant to reveal that most young artistes who are coming forward with new songs have no culture-conscience, so their works naturally end up as tasteless items for people.. Yet, Yohani appears to have a cultural-conscience and good taste. For instance, she correctly grasps the traditional and folk musical rhythms when she createdher cover song Pana Senehas by Dushyanth Weeraman. All in all, Yohani De Silva’s future will depend on not just other’s comments but Yohani’s own ability to choose good things and practise them in her art.