Student Kavya Borra

Spider sophomore Kavya Borra is a viral singing sensation

March 29, 2022

Student Experience

Kavya Borra loves to sing. She started with classical Indian music and performed in competitions throughout her childhood. But everything changed when she got to high school.

“I really fell in love with R&B,” said Borra, a sophomore in the business school. “That’s when I started posting on TikTok, and discovered the singing community there. I wanted to be a part of that.”

She joined the platform in 2019. Her first post, in which she sang a riff from the movie Burlesque, received 1.6 million views. She started collaborating with other singers on TikTok, and co-founded EarCandy, an exclusively online a cappella group with more than 2.6 million followers.

Borra hasn’t even met in person with some of the 11 members, who are spread around the country. And the singers come from diverse backgrounds, which has contributed to their viral success, Borra said

“Being a South Asian woman, I've received a lot of messages from young Indian girls saying, ‘Thank you for being a representation for us,’” she said. “And that is the biggest compliment I could ever receive, because growing up, I never had somebody that looked like me in the industry.”

The group members record individual videos of themselves and edit them together. They perform pieces from multiple genres, and have collaborated with pop singer Andy Grammer, Broadway and Netflix star Ben Platt, and rapper Charlie Curtis-Beard.

The experience, though, has unfortunately been accompanied by a significant amount of cyberbullying. Borra has received hateful comments and even death threats in the comments on her videos.

“It’s definitely taken a toll on my mental health,” she said. “At one point I took a break from the app completely. Because while it is something I really love doing, I want it to be a positive place for me.

Borra hasn’t given up. She returned to the app and shared her experience with bullying on the platform, offering hope to young people who have also experienced these situations on social media. And she recently performed the national anthem at an NBA game.

“Sometimes removing yourself from the situation completely will allow you to kind of reevaluate and just think about the good work that you're doing.

“This has been my dream for a while, pursuing music and becoming a singer. And I think I can finally start to see some of the pieces falling into place,” she said. “It feels really relieving, too, to see your hard work go into something that's successful.”