World Music Day 2021: Jaan Kumar Sanu on how Sonu Nigam inspired him to be a singer

Today marks a significant day for music lovers as we celebrate World Music Day, which originated in France in 1982 and is now celebrated in over 120 countries.

In an exclusive conversation with the Free Press Journal, singer and 'Bigg Boss 14' contestant Jaan Kumar Sanu spoke at length about his love for music, his inspiration and his upcoming projects.

"My music journey started when I was three years old and the first song I sang was a bhajan. My first music teacher was my nani (grandmother) and she gifted me my first harmonium as well. After that, I kept on listening to a lot of music. At the age of eight, I made my debut in a movie titled 'Escape From Taliban' with Sonu Nigam Sir. I started working at a very young age and did voice-overs for cartoons like 'Noddy', 'Bob The Builder' and others. So I had a bit of an experience in front of the mic by the time I made my debut," Jaan said. 

However, the ball started rolling and the singer then started doing voiceovers for advertisements. The other big break he got was with Shankar Ehsaan Loy for the film 'Taare Zameen Par'. He sang 'Bum Bum Bole' along with a few others. 

"I've never been into anything else and I never had a backup occupation or anything I can fall back on because I know for a fact that I am only and only meant for singing. Also, I did not start singing just because my dad (Kumar Sanu) is a singer. I started singing even before I realized my dad is a legend," Jaan added.

A major influence in Jaan's career has been singer Sonu Nigam. "It was his 1999 album 'Deewana' that made me realize that I want to sing for life. I remember I got that album home and I would listen to it all day and night and feel so happy. Then I realized that if this is bringing me so much happiness, then I should give this happiness to other people as well," Jaan said.

Recalling a fan moment with Sonu Nigam, Jaan said, "I once had the opportunity of hosting him in our Durga Puja. He had come to perform and there were no seats available so I sat on the ground near the stage just to listen to him. Sonu Sir has a section in his performance where he takes requests from people. So, I requested one song but he had said that he doesn't remember the lyrics of that particular song. So he asked me to help him with the lyrics. I stood up in the audience and kind of acted the lyrics and he kept singing. At the end of it, he was like 'Jaan ne aaj meri jaan bacha li'. That was definitely one of the top fan moments for me and I was absolutely on cloud nine."

Further talking about his love for music and singing, Jaan said, "Honestly, I don't know anything else apart from music in my life. Everything in my life is somehow related to music. It wouldn't be wrong for me to say that music has helped me in innumerable ways. It has kept me sane during the pandemic. It has kept me at peace and I listen to music when I am low, when I am happy and basically in any other mood. I need music all the time otherwise something just doesn't work for me. It is like breathing for me."

Last year, Jaan made his Bengali film playback debut with Rajesh Roshan. He says that it was a big achievement for him as his father has worked with Roshan a lot over the years and has given massive hits. "That was definitely a dream come true for me. I am glad that the song became a huge hit," he said.

While Jaan is all for old songs being recreated, he feels that some songs by the singing legends of Hindi cinema should not be touched as it would be an insult to the original. "In my opinion, recreating old songs is a fabulous way of keeping the younger generation in touch with the roots of Bollywood. There are many songs that our generation might not have heard if there wasn't a remix. It's a very good way of keeping our generation aware of the gems and the legends we had over the years in the film industry. However, there is also a flip side to it wherein certain remixes are honestly not up to the mark and I would say there are certain songs that shouldn't be touched at all because those songs have already reached perfection at the time they were composed. To recreate those songs would be an insult to the original," he stated.

Jaan, who was one of the youngest contestants in 'Bigg Boss 14', had often impressed the audience with his singing skills on the show. His friendship with Nikki Tamboli was also one of the highlights of his BB journey. When asked how his life changed after being a part of the show, Jaan said, "I was actually discovered after Bigg Boss, as people finally got to know about my existence. People recognize me and appreciate my singing. Now, I have a fan base that I never dreamt of until Bigg Boss happened. Work offers are coming in. When I go out, people want to click photos with me. It feels great."

Workwise, Jaan says a lot of things were in store for the audience, however, they got delayed because of the pandemic and the lockdown. "Once, everything eases a bit there are a lot of things coming up - mashups, music videos, two originals and there are also a few covers which I'll be posting on YouTube. I am also just waiting for the one big offer from Bollywood and I think that will be a life-changing moment for me," Jaan said.

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Free Press Journal