Yohani, a singer-composer, claims she had no idea her rendition of “Manike Mage Hithe” would become one of the most popular songs of 2021. Months after becoming a viral success in India, the singer is still unable to comprehend how far her “simple song” has gone. “The recording was really basic, the music was very basic, and everything was very basic.” And there wasn’t much more going on; it was just one perspective. “We did it for fun,” she told indianexpress.com confidentially.

On YouTube, “Manike Mage Hithe” has approximately 193 million views. It swamped social media with reels, TikTok videos, and fan covers in several languages within days of its publication in May of this year. “It was incredible.” I had no idea it would get this far. It simply goes to show what music can accomplish,” Yohani said as she reflected on the song’s virality and how it catapulted her into the spotlight in 2021.

When celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit, Parineeti Chopra, and others commented about the song on social media, it quickly became a hit in India. “I don’t believe I’ve still gotten it into my head,” Yohani joked, adding that she realised “this has gone a lot further than what I imagined” when Bollywood bigwigs recognised the song.

Satheeshan Rathnayaka’s song “Manike Mage Hithe” is in Sinhala. Yohani has teamed up with Satheeshan to sing the song’s cover. The song has been dubbed in a number of languages so far.

Since then, the 29-year-old has been travelling India and other parts of the world to sing and promote the song. She has been on Bigg Boss 15 alongside Salman Khan and in The Big Picture with Ranveer Singh. “I sing a lot of Sinhalese music so at first I thought maybe they wouldn’t understand it,” she added, referring to the overwhelming reception from the Indian audience. “Apparently the crowd in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai was phenomenal.”

So, has Yohani managed to pick up any Hindi? She admitted that she is still learning the language but is certain that she will eventually master it. “I’ve mastered the phrase ‘jaldi chalo.'” But I can’t get’main’ and the letter H,” the singer stated, recalling the difficulties she had while recording her first Bollywood song, the title track for Sunny Kaushal and Radhika Madan’s Shiddat.

Yohani made the transition from accountancy to music. And she claims that this was particularly difficult for her as a woman in her nation. “Switching to music is something we aren’t taught even in school,” she says. Music is seen as a recreational pastime. Nobody teaches us how to be a musician or an artist. That, I believe, has been the most difficult task for me. What counts is that your content with what you’re doing.”

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