This musician-entrepreneur is providing a national platform to young artistes

Young Artiste 2020, the brainchild of entrepreneur Kavita Iyer, aims to provide a national platform for students aged between 11 and 18 years in music and dance. It will let them showcase talent, access mentorship, and win scholarships.

Music has always been an integral part of Kavita Iyer’s life.

From a very young age, her grandmother, a Carnatic singer, encouraged her to actively pursue the art form. At many musical and cultural events, she opened for artists such as renowned flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.

“The knowledge and learning that you gain by being involved in the arts is immense. It was the biggest education I received outside the classroom; it enhanced my confidence, patience, and dedication,” she says.

Encouraging children in the arts

Being committed to the arts also served Kavita well later in life, when she became an entrepreneur with Minglebox, an online education portal, and now Young Artiste 2020, a platform that encourages young children and students to pursue the art form they are interested in, with a nation-wide talent competition.

Interestingly, Kavita graduated from IIT-Delhi with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and also has an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad.

She started her career with the Tata Administrative Service (TAS), working across Tata Group companies. After a fruitful stint with TAS, she moved on to do her MBA. She then joined ICICI and later spent time with Wipro Technologies in their banking and financial services group.

Kavita started her entrepreneurial venture as Co-founder of Minglebox, an online education platform that offered information and advice, and connected students to colleges for exams. It was acquired in 2012 by a company involved in the online education space globally.

Post-Minglebox, she has been involved in education through Singhal Iyer Family Foundation (SIFF), set up with her husband Sandeep Singhal. It runs the SIFF scholars programme, a 15-year scholarship and mentorship programme for children from underprivileged backgrounds.

A showcase for talent

About her latest venture, Kavita says Young Artiste aims to be a national platform for recognising and motivating young artistes to stay and grow with the arts.

“Young Artiste is for students of both classical and contemporary music and dance,” she says.

Through a national-level competition, Young Artiste aims to recognise young artistes and give them the opportunity to showcase their talent, along with a chance to be mentored by maestros and experts and win scholarships to help them continue their education in the arts.

She explains, “Young Artiste 2020 has a very simple format as we wanted to make it accessible to everyone. So, children between 11-18 years are invited to register by sharing a video of their performance on our website ( or WhatsApp (9513044491). Our panel of experts in each of the 20 categories will evaluate the entries. After this, the shortlisted participants will move on to progressively advanced rounds.”

At the advanced stage, participants will have one-on-one online sessions with Young Artiste’s team of maestros and gurus, who provide feedback, valuable insights, and guidance for the next step.

Best versions of themselves

The big finale, the Young Artiste 2020 festival, will be held in Bengaluru in August. The top 100 shortlisted participants will get a chance to perform live in front of celebrity artistes, mentors, and gurus.

One child will be conferred with the ‘Young Artiste 2020’ title from among the top 20 participants.

“We are very different from other competitions as we are closer to a scholarship-cum-mentorship programme and not like standard competitions. It will be a celebration of the arts where efforts of future artists will be acknowledged and rewarded,” she adds.

YA 2020, Kavita says, will create an atmosphere of healthy competition as the finale festival will be more of a jovial jugalbandi of different art forms rather than a face-off or elimination. At no point will children be directly competing against one another. Instead, they will get a chance to present the best versions of themselves in their own space.

Young Artiste 2020 is associating/partnering with some of the best minds of the performing arts industry. These include renowned artistes like Amjad Ali Khan saheb, Terrence Lewis, Shovana Narayan, Aruna Sairam, Shalmali Kholgade, Rukmini Vijaykumar, Ashwath Narayan, Gurumurthy Vaidya, among others.

“We live in an era where there are various means and platforms to showcase talent, but it is tougher to sustain it. We, at Young Artiste, aim to provide the students with a structured ladder so that they can work on their art. Another important aspect to sustaining talent is that you can learn from anywhere and any platform. It is not restricted to boundaries and in the future, Young Artiste aims to enable students to learn from experts across geographical borders,” Kavita says.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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