The music rock-star- Sonu Nigam talks about his highs, lows and his journey so far as Shubharna Mukherjee Shu takes notes.
Also Read: “I still haven’t lost touch” Sonu Nigam
You have been a part of the industry for over two decades now. How has your journey been?
I have literally grown up in this industry.. I acted in films as a child briefly.. Then went back to Delhi with family to come back here again at the age of 18, this time singing as my target. I have learnt and evolved a lot. Honestly, I feel I don’t belong here as I am too real and straight to be in a world of Dreams.. Yet I enjoy every bit of the perks, and ups and downs involved in this journey. God’s been really Kind to me.
Can you talk about the highs and lows you had during this journey?
Initial days, were days of insecurities, fear and loneliness. My only focus was to become a singer. I didn’t have friends, girlfriend, nothing to distract me, nor console me. Only my family by my side.
As success unfolded, and thankfully it was not overnight like many get sometimes, I got confident, busier, stronger and I saw a world I never knew. Since then life has been great. Often we come across speed breakers, so then I slow down, and watch around me, learn, and then accelerate again.
Over the years, how according to you, has the industry changed/evolved – has it all been for good?
When has world evolved for good or bad? It just evolves. Industry is part of the world. It experiences changes just like the entire world. As for music, earlier, technology didn’t permit just anyone to become a singer. You had to therefore practice hard to deliver. So there were lesser singers, and thus longer shelf life. Today, anyone can be made to sound pitch perfect and rhythm perfect. Thus there is a wide choice of voices. But shorter shelf life. Every age and era, has its advantages and disadvantages. I don’t criticise just for the sake of criticising. In fact sometimes I see the younger lot of musicians and singers more opinionated than the senior ones.
You have sung of almost all leading actors, but is there anyone who you have not yet lent your voice to, and wish to do so?
Arjun Kapoor just mentioned recently that he really likes me and would want me to sing for him. I would definitely wanna see his face on my voice, for two reasons. One, I think he’s got something in him that makes him stand-out. Two, his late Mother Mona, was a beautiful soul and loved me a lot.
You have sung all kinds of songs – from romantic to qawwali. But what are the kind of songs you like singing?
I like singing songs that are created by people who know their job, and are not incidental composers or lyricists. The space where a knowledgeable artiste comes from, is very different from an incidental artiste’s. Could be any genre. I enjoy all…
Is there a song which you wish you had sung?
There are a lot of them. But there’s a difference! I don’t wish I had sung that song. I just know that I’d have done a better job.
What is the hardest thing about being a singer?
The instrument called vocal chords is fitted inside your body… and is fragile… and irreplaceable…
What was the best advice you received regarding music?
My father always told me, just don’t merely sing, but emote in such way that even if the listener doesn’t understand the language, he knows what you are trying to say through merely your expressions. I hope I have made him happy.
Do you think being born into a musical family aided your growth as a singer?
It does, but there is no thumb rule to back this theory. I have seen a lot of scions of noteworthy musically families having not taken up their family art-form as profession. In my case, my parents were singers, but they never had to coax me into music. I was myself a very involved and keen child.
You will be soon seen making a comeback on TV. Your thoughts?
We literally started the show in India in 2004. I actually was the only person who read the philosophy behind the format according to the creator Simon Cowell in his book “I don’t mean to be rude”. As for myself, I have abstained from TV for half a decade and thus getting back on Idol is like getting back to my roots.