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Sanjaya Malakar on American Idol

From Billy Watson,
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Sanjaya Malakar, Sanjaya Malakar, and more Sanjaya Malakar: Sanjaya Malakar auditioned for American Idol on September 19, 2006 (just 9 days after Sanjaya's 17th birthday). When the Seattle American Idol Auditions aired on January 17, 2007, Sanjaya and his sister Shyamali Malakar became famous overnight as the siblings on American Idol.

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Sanjaya Malakar Personal Information: American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar was born on September 10, 1989 in the Seattle area. Sanjaya spent most of his life in the Seattle area, most recently in Federal Way when auditioning for American Idol, but has lived in Hawaii and California as well.
Sanjaya Malakar Family: Sanjaya Malakar and his sister Shyamali quickly became American Idol Season Six fan favorites after back to back Idol auditions in Seattle. Sanjaya and Shyamali’s father was a classic Indian (East) musician. Shyamali notes the importance of their father raising them around music, while Sanjaya credits him for giving them their American Idol-worthy voices. Sanjaya’s cousin Camila is a talented singer (not featured on American Idol). Camila has several songs available on her MySpace Music page, including a duet with Sanjaya.
Sanjaya Malakar Musical Influences: Sanjaya sang Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” at his American Idol audition (video). “My idol is Stevie Wonder. I’ve been singing to his music for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure my mom listened to him when she was pregnant with me, so I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder since I was in the womb,” says Sanjaya Malakar.
Sanjaya credits both his father and mother with influencing his music. His father may have given the American Idol contestant his voice, but his mother surrounded him with music his entire life. Sanjaya calls his sister Shyamali his biggest ally and biggest competition. Shyamali has always been the one person Sanjaya could rely on to be honest with her feedback on his singing, which helped him grow as a singer.
Sanjaya Malakar Education: Sanjaya attended Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington for one year before transferring to Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way. According to the American Idol, Sanjaya says, “I’ve gotten in trouble for singing in school pretty much all my life. I was always sent out because I was ‘distracting the class’ but that's just the entertainer in me. I’ve wanted to be a ‘musical entertainer’ since I was about 5. Sanjaya elected to get his GED and focus more on his music.
Sanjaya Malakar Name: Sanjaya will likely endure a lot of misspelling and pronunciation of his name during his time on American Idol. The most common misspelling is Sunjaya. Other than Sunjaya, we have also seen Sanjay and Sunjiya.
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