Shirley Setia is an Indo-Kiwi singer and performer hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. She is known for her YouTube videos where she performs on Hindi songs. She happens to be a University of Auckland graduate and has worked as publicity and marketing intern at Auckland Council. Her fame is a result of a happy incident. Indian music label T-Series organized a competition and Shirley, just for fun, recorded a video for a song in her bedroom, in her pyjamas. She ended up being one of the winners of the competition and this opened ways for her to take her talent to thousands of people and she started making and uploading more videos. And now, she has become a celebrity and has collaborated with YouTube stars across Canada, India and UK. Very recently, she shifted her base to Mumbai to try her luck in the Indian film industry. She has been recognized by several media houses. New Zealand Herald wrote a feature on her and gave her a moniker ‘Pyjama Artist’, Forbes magazine said that she is ‘Bollywood’s next big singing sensation’ and Hindustan Times also ran a story on her praising her as the next big thing on Internet.
Childhood & Early Life
Shirley Setia was born on 2nd July 1993 to Indian parents in Auckland, New Zealand to a homemaker mom and a businessman father. She has a younger brother named Shane. She has said that her roots belong to Daman, India, and she would love to settle in Mumbai one day as a successful artist.
Setia was never quite interested in pursuing a career in music, even though she used to listen to and love old Hindi songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, thanks to her parents.
Shirley was good in science back in school and always dreamed of being an astronaut, but somewhere down the line, she started dreaming of being accountancy professional. However, music was something she held very close to her heart and never quite let it go. She hasn’t received any training and sang just in front of her parents and relatives.
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Shirley did her schooling back in Auckland and went on to the University of Auckland to pursue a career in Commerce and briefly worked as an intern. ‘Tiny girl with big dreams’ is what her parents used to say about her ever since she was a kid. Shirley was always interested in being a public figure and used to sing for herself, and never received any professional training.
She would sing her own versions of old Hindi songs to her parents and upon receiving encouragement from family and friends, she went on to participate in an online singing competition organized by T-Series, a mammoth Indian music company. Hundreds of thousands entries flooded in and Shirley was one among them. She performed ‘Tum Hi Ho’, sung originally by Arijit Singh for the film ‘Aashiqi 2’.
Her charming looks and beautiful voice struck a chord with the organizers and she was selected as one of the winners of the competition. This event infused a lot of confidence in Shirley and she started doing stage shows in her hometown, where Hindi songs were apparently well received. And during that time, she started making and uploading YouTube videos of her singing in her home or amidst nature.
She was wholeheartedly accepted by the Indian audiences and she finally decided to make a move to her native country in hopes of making it big in the music industry as a singer. Meanwhile, in order to sustain herself, she started working in radio and kept uploading YouTube videos side by side and her viewership kept growing.
She collaborated with different ‘online stars’ from the UK, the USA, India and Canada and kept polishing her singing skills. She is in talks with a few leading Indian music companies and is keeping herself busy with tours and shows apart from collaborations.
She has been the recipient of two awards in 2016; the ‘BIG Digital Sensation Award’ at the BIG Golden Voice Award Show and ‘Musician of the year’ award in the Outlook Social Media Awards.
A self confessed Pizza Lover, Shirley is a massive fan of Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor and has openly expressed the desire to work with them someday. Apart from actors, she idolizes KK and Lata Mangeshkar and says that singing for A.R. Rahman, the ace composer, is her lifelong dream.
Shirley has more than 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube alone and happens to be ranked among the ‘Top 30 most subscribed channels’ on YouTube. On photo and video sharing app Instagram, Shirley has a massive fanbase of 1.4 million and it continues to grow as her popularity increases.