Sonu Nigam needs no introduction as his work continues to speak for him. In his singing career spanning nearly three decades, the ace singer-composer has carved a special place in everyone’s hearts through his soulful music. His talent and lyrics remain unmatched as he has proved his versatility time and again like no other. However, he believes he would have been a “second-level singer” if he had received formal musical training. Nevertheless, the singer has no regrets.
In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the singer opened up about his musical journey, changing music trends, virtual music concerts, music reality shows and more.
How did your journey with music begin?
I was born to parents who were singers. I watched him sing since childhood and realized that I want to do the same. It came very naturally to me. Even when I was studying or playing sports, music was always a part of my life. It was always stirring in my heart, mind and soul.
Which of your songs is closest to your heart?
Though it’s hard to choose, I’ll choose Messages come, Ye heart is crazy, Suraj is maddham, now I am somewhere, tomorrow will not be there, Satrangi Re, what name should I give to this love, Mera Rang De Basanti Chola And Sarfaroshi’s wish among others.
What do you think about the changing trend of country music?
Music will always be changing. Music is culture and culture keeps on changing. You can’t always stick to traditional music. A new generation has arrived and they evaluate music and art in general differently. We are different from our parents and our children are different from us. We have to keep adopting new trends to understand the generation and its pulse. Music has changed and the music business has changed too. And, we’re going with the flow!
Do you think that thought-driven music is overtaking good music?
People don’t judge ‘good music’ by the number of views. They evaluate ‘hit music’ through this. Good music is always appreciated. There are a lot of songs sung by me and other singers like Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi etc which don’t have so many views. But, people who like those songs still go back and listen to them. Good music is different and hit music is different.
There are some iconic names in the music industry that have emerged from the popular music reality show. Do you see a show like this as an important step in one’s music career?
These shows give them exposure. This is not to say that they are the only reason behind the success of an artist. Shreya Ghoshal I sa re ga ma, But, you can’t say she wouldn’t have been successful if she didn’t sa re ga ma, This show brought him success and people’s homes. I believe music reality shows play an important role.
The pandemic led to an increase in virtual concerts. Do you think such shows are here to stay?
I even did some virtual music shows during the pandemic. It was difficult but not that much. You have to sing for yourself in these shows and imagine people’s reactions. It was a different experience. To be honest, I don’t care about them but a live audience is a live audience. The live show experience is incomparable to a digital event.
How has the lockdown affected you as a singer?
I had almost lost the habit of working hard. I worked so hard before. It took me a while to get back in the groove. I got lazy like everyone else. Work Riyaz There’s nothing like catching multiple flights at home and working out constantly. But now I have finally gotten my groove back. I’ve worked really hard over the past few weeks and I don’t regret it. In fact, I missed it.
What do you think about the growth in music videos over the years?
The growth in music videos is spectacular. This is great news for the independent music industry. Great music coming in now. I’ve also sung some incredible songs lately. Good work is going on and it’s a good day for independent music.
Many indie music bands and artists are finally gaining recognition in the country. What do you say?
This is a good sign. Recently, we saw a boy named Shakeel, who was sitting and singing on the streets with a guitar in his hand. He said that he wanted to collect money for his music education. So, Artium Academy came forward and provided him a complete course free of cost. I have a label called ‘I Believe Music’ which I am going to be very aggressive on now. This is the platform where I will introduce new talent like Shakeel. How wonderful would that be! One can only give what he has. I have my voice I can pass it on to others. If I can collaborate with someone and give my voice to him, that would be good karma for me.
What role does formal musical training play for a singer?
People always tell me that after I entered the scene and when did it start? sa re ga maAn entire generation of musicians began to understand the value of learning music. Even though I did not get a chance to learn music in my childhood, but I have always been a learner. If I had got a chance to learn music from the right person at the right time and age, I would be a singer of a different level. In these days and times, due to the advancement of technology, you can actually do much more. Everything is easily accessible.
How will Artium Academy nurture musical talent in the country?
I am the Patron-in-Chief of Artium Academy, an academy educating people interested in music, vocals, instruments, music production or even music engineering. It is for all those who are interested in learning but do not have access to coaching. We have created live courses and teachers have been trained on the syllabus which will be taught to the students. We aim to eventually make artists out of them. It just started a few months back and it has picked up the pace beautifully. It is our way of giving back to the music that has given us so much.
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