Business student by day and TikTok music phenom by night, sophomore Kavya Borra boasts a following of over 700,000 followers on the social media platform.
Borra regularly posts videos of her participating in singing trends and duetting other TikTok singers to create melodious harmonies over their voices. She’s also a founding member of the a cappella group Ear Candy on TikTok, which now features 11 members and a following of over 2.5 million.
After joining the app in summer 2019, she started noticing a singing community and thought to herself, “I want to be a part of that.” She first went viral in December 2019 after posting a video featuring a riff from the movie “Burlesque,” which received 1.6 million views.
After the takeoff of her first viral TikTok, Borra continued to post frequently, accruing a growing audience of supporters and befriending other singers on the app. These singers would soon become some of Borra’s closest friends and collaborators, including fellow TikToker Sri Ramesh.
“I made a lot of friends on the app that also had their own TikTok followings, and we kind of wanted a place to put all of our work together,” Borra said. “We wanted to collaborate, but we had no combined space to do so.”
Proposed in summer 2020, Borra’s plan was hindered by the ongoing surge of the COVID-19 pandemic with what seemed like no end in sight. Wanting to explore musical collaboration without the risk of in-person exposure, Borra explained the process of virtual musical arrangement.
“We arranged all these videos on FaceTime and then recorded everything separately and put it together,” Borra said.
In July 2020, Borra and her friends launched Ear Candy, which quickly garnered a mass following. Within three months, the account had reached one million followers. She attributed the group’s rapid success to their unprecedented idea.
“It hadn’t really been done before,” Borra said.
Borra was especially excited about the group’s success outside of TikTok, she said. In 2020, the group released An EARCANDY Christmas, in addition to several singles, including a cover of Destiny’s Child’s Bills, Bills, Bills. Their music is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.
“It’s been a really cool experience,” she said.
She frequently makes videos in collaboration with sophomore Billy Apostolou, who plays the guitar as Borra sings. Apostolou, a member of the local band Egdol, met Borra through a friend after one of his performances where they expressed their mutual interest in collaborating with the other.
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Apostolou’s favorite part of collaborating with Borra is her obvious vocal talent, knowledge of music theory, he said.
This talent is especially useful when the two meet up in the Booker Hall of Music and work on arrangements before they film, he said. The two hope to plan an on-campus performance soon, Borra said. Both are interested in exploring venues in the larger Richmond area.
Borra also credits music Professor Jennifer Cable for the development of both her skill and her branding as an artist. Having taken a music entrepreneurship class, which Cable described as teaching personal and professional skills for a future in the music industry, Borra gained insight into how to develop brands for both her individual platform and for Ear Candy, she said.
Cable described Borra as an invaluable resource to the class.
“Because of her work with Ear Candy… [she] had so much to share about that,” Cable said. “She is so passionate about her work, so creative about her many goals, so inventive about her ways of getting her work out there… she’s absolutely fantastic.”
Contact features writer Avery Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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