Who is Maya Neelakantan? 10-yr-old Indian girl hailed as ‘Rock Goddess’ after stealing the show on America's Got Talent (2024)

Who is Maya Neelakantan? A 10-year-old Indian origin girl delivered stunning performance on the latest episode of “America's Got Talent,” demonstrating her love for rock classic with an Indian twist.

Who is Maya Neelakantan? 10-yr-old Indian girl hailed as ‘Rock Goddess’ after stealing the show on America's Got Talent (1)

Neelakantan, who is well-known on Instagram for her metal renditions, mesmerised the crowd with Papa Roach’s “Last Resort”, which was filled with Carnatic elements. Everyone in the audience was enthralled by her stunning performance.

The Chennai girl stood out from other rock musicians, donning traditional Ghagra and the dazzling bindi on her forehead during the AGT audition.

All four judges gave her a standing ovation following her 100-second performance. A pleasantly surprised Sogia Vargera questioned, "Maya, are you sure you're 10 years old?" Neelakantan answered, "I think so," with a sly, apprehensive smile.

After watching her rocking performance, Simon Cowell had just one word to describe her head-banging artistry: “Whoa!”

According to Cowell, the Indian girl kicked off her performance by strumming slowly, but “turned into this rock goddess”.

“You know what I love about this audition, you just weren't expecting this. You were so shy, and you're 10! And then you turned into, like, this rock goddess,” he said. Cowell went on to share his personal guitar-learning experience, saying, “I gave up playing guitar, actually no my teacher gave up on me.”

Howie Mandel, a fellow panelist, precisely predicted, “I think you just picked yourself up a viral moment.” When Mandel asked her about her musical inspirations, she mentioned Adam Jones (Tool) and Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer).

Heidi Klum also acknowledged Maya's talent and praised her as “gutsy and incredible.”

Several media outlets have covered her electric audition and even the clip of her amazing performance has gone viral on social media.

Neelakantan has a YouTube channel which is run by her parents. She posted a video of her performance from the show on YouTube and wrote, “What an honor that I got to play for the first time on stage and it's on America's Got Talent! Thank you for creating an unforgettable memory for me!!”

Maya Neelakantan receives gift from Gary Holt

Neelakantan's rock and metal covers, which include songs by Tool, Metallica, and Slayer, have made her popular on social media.

In 2022, she impressed Adam Jones, Tool’s guitarist, with her rendition of Tool's "7empest."

Neelakantan received a gift from Gary Holt when she first met with him at his residence in March. On her Instagram page, she posted a video to describe meeting her idol, jamming with her, and receiving a guitar from his collection as a gift.

She called their meeting “the greatest day of her life” in one of her YouTube videos. With the gifted musical instrument, she has created mashups of Tool songs.

Also Read: Indian acrobats impress America’s Got Talent judges with performance to Deva Shree Ganesha

Anand Mahindra and netizens on X hail Maya Neelakantan

Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the Mahindra Group, posted a video of Neelakantan on X, referring to her as a "Rock Goddess from the land of Goddesses." Mahindra went on to say that she deserves to receive an invitation to play at the Mahindra Blues Festival, which the Mahindra Group hosts every year in Mumbai.

“Oh My God. Maya Neelakantan is only 10 years old. 10! Yes, Simon, she’s a Rock Goddess. From the land of Goddesses. We have to get her back here to do her stuff at the@mahindrablues! @jaytweetshah@vgjairam,” he wrote.

Commenting on Maya's performance, one X user wrote: “Dressed in a traditional Ghagra and shining bindi on her forehead, Neelakantan looked like anything but a typical rock musician with an Indian twist.”

“Maya Neelakantan is a talented student of famous guitarist, Berklee school of music alumni Guitarist Prasanna, an Indian- American. It's a wholesome package of India's pride!” another commented.

A third user wrote, “It was amazing how she was able to create sitar sounds with the guitar. I love that she is proudly wearing her cultural attire.”

“Indian classical fusion western rocks... amazing! Cut my life into pieces. This is my last resort. Awesome song with awesome play,” one more reacted.

Know more about Maya Neelakantan and love for music

Neelakantan, who developed interest in music from a very young age, plays thrash metal, Tool songs, and Indian classical Carnatic music. She's become a skilled guitarist who has performed live on several occasions.

When she was just five-year-old, she used to dance around the house while playing a toy guitar. Over the years, her passion for music grew, inspiring her to pick up the guitar and become a skilled guitarist.

Watch her full dazzling performance here

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Who is Maya Neelakantan? 10-yr-old Indian girl hailed as ‘Rock Goddess’ after stealing the show on America's Got Talent (2024)
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