- The 17-year-old from Severna Park, Maryland, sang a rendition of Labrinth’s hit “Jealous,” and got praise from all four judges who turned their chairs.
Maryland teenager Parijita Bastola of Severna Park, Maryland, the first Nepali American to audition in the music reality series “The Voice,” has become an instant sensation after her blind audition late last month. The 17-year-old sang a rendition of Labrinth’s hit “Jealous,” and got praise from all four judges who turned their chairs.
The now-viral video of Bastola’s audition, which is also posted on her social media handles, shows John Legend turning his red chair first, followed quickly by Camila Cabello and Gwen Stefani. Blake Shelton eventually turns his chair as well. “That was probably my favorite that anybody has sung so far,” said Cabello after Bastola’s performance. Legend called her “one of our most formidable artists in this competition this season.”
Wearing a white and gold lehenga and a bindi, the young South Asian woman told Legend that while her favorite music genre is R&B, she likes to incorporate her Nepalese heritage into her singing and her music.
When Legend asked if she had brought any family with her, she said she brought her parents and her aunt. “Since season 1, The Voice has always been our family show,” Bastola told him. She said her family owned a small restaurant in Glen Burnie which closed on Mondays just so they could watch “The Voice” those evenings.
The Severna Park High School senior eventually chose Legend as the coach to mentor her, along with the encouragement of her parents and her aunt. But before that, she gifted the judges Rudraksha beads from Nepal, placing it around each of their necks.
In an interview before her performance, Bastola credited “The Voice” with bringing her family together. “My cousin and I used to play Voice and we would take little chairs and pretend to be the coaches and our family would be the audience,” she said. “It was super fun.”
She is the lead singer of her namesake band, Bastola, made up of friends. The group mostly performs at local venues, with a few out-of-state performances. The band was recently selected to perform at the 2022 International Blues Challenge, as reported by Baltimore Fishbowl.
The current members of the band — Parijita, Jack Slote, Jesse Kegley, Bennett Terhunt, and Dylan Hood — came together in early 2020, according to Severna Park Voice. The band covers songs by Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna, and more. “It’s in order to refresh and incorporate blues into the next generation,” she told the local paper. “We wanted to make enjoyable for other people what blues can sound like and what blues can look like.”
A report in Baltimore Fishbowl noted that Bastola grew up around music, where her father previously owned an entertainment company. “Bands from Nepal would come to the United States and do USA tours and he would always have musicians over and they’re singing all night and they always encouraged me,” she told the publication.
Her parents watched her “passion for music grow at such a young age,” she told the Fishbowl, and “once they realized it was something I was going to pursue, it grew into my family’s dream. She continued: “Watching my dream come true, along with my family’s dream, which makes this success 10 times better.”
But at the same time, she talked about the “pressure of success,” which “always exists in southeast Asian kids, even though I have such supporting and loving parents.”
She also thanked her family and friends in Nepal, where her sister still lives, as well as the support from her hometown in Baltimore. “I know that everyone from Nepal must feel so much pride and love through me, and I am so grateful to be that vessel or bridge from Nepal,” she said to Fishbowl. “My hometown is going absolutely crazy, I mean, everyone here knows how much music meant to me, and it is a part of my identity at school. I am witnessing nothing but genuine proud feelings from my friends, peers and teachers. This has been such a validating experience.” “I’ve wanted this my whole life and now I’m experiencing it,” Bastola said. “It’s truly surreal. I feel like I am in a coming-of-age movie.”
Several from the Nepali diaspora took to social media to praise and bless Bastola, including her mother and her brother-in-law. The night the pre-recorded program aired, her mother, Bira Tiwari, took to her social media handles to thank family and friends for all the support.
Some called her “an absolute star,” while others congratulated her for “uplifting” the image of Nepal “in the global music forum.”