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Sonu Nigam Interview – Live in Hong Kong
Sonu Nigam Interview – Exclusive Interview with HKYantoYan.com
A day before his performance in Hong Kong, we managed to exclusively catch up with the Bollywood singing sensation, Sonu Nigam. Read on as he intimates his thoughts with us, and shares some of his secrets to success.
You have been called the Golden Voice of India. How does that make you feel, and what do you attribute your success to?
The success of a person should be assessed more internally. Externally you may be the richest or most popular, but eventually, one realizes that success is from inside, and how secure you are. My success comes from my own understanding, assessment & evaluation of myself. Others’ evaluation doesn’t matter to me. In my cosmos inside, I am very much aware of what my success actually is, and how much hard work I have – and haven’t – put. It’s not just about money I’ve made, or how many fans I have; it’s about how happy I am from within, and I’m genuinely very happy, which is where my success comes from.
Your fans have loved you on TV, and you haven’t appeared on any TV show since X Factor in 2011. Is there a reason for this?
Every musical show comes to me first. After I choose and select which shows to do, they then approach others. I say this not with pride, but with a lot of pride! It’s something which I deserve, having invested a lot of time understanding music. People respect my earnest and unbiased comments, but I’ve done enough of TV: Sa Re Ga Ma in 1995-2000; the first two seasons of Indian Idol in 2004; Lil’ Champs in 2008; Chote Ustaad in 2010; X Factor in 2011. How long can I go on judging people? I don’t relish being a judge anymore; everything looks the same to me, and I got bored. Of course, it brings in great money, but I’m happy with the money that I’m making. Unless I get another platform, wherein I am rejuvenated mentally and physically – maybe next year, or the year after…
Before you started singing, you had small acting parts in movies like Pyaar Dushman, Takdeer, and Kam Chor. You also acted in movies as an adult. Would you like to reprieve your acting career in Bollywood?
I understand that my fans want to see me in films, and I do have people coming to me with movie projects who know that I have the calibre to live up to it. There are two things that have stopped me from doing movies. Firstly, it has to be a right project on paper, which means an amalgamation of the right production house, release plan, co-actors, director, budget, and of course my role. Apart from Love in Nepal, there’s no movie which I’m really proud of – but even that didn’t have a proper release plan. My fans love me a lot, and they do not want to see me in a second-grade setup. The people that I work with have to be as sincere and fond of their art as I am, and not have any other motives or agendas. Only then would I think of working with them.
Secondly, I actually don’t even have the time to invest in a movie.
Music in Bollywood films seems to be undergoing a major transition. There are a lot more singers in today’s times, and more emphasis is given to masala songs. How does this compare with when you first started, and which would you prefer?
I’ve learnt that one should never criticise today and praise tomorrow. I see people comparing the joys of their times to today’s tribulations, and I know that it’s not really possible. Every generation has had their geniuses and duffers, relative to the intelligence of their era. We’ve seen both, good and bad work in every decade, and it’s no different now. The only difference is that in my initial days of the early 90s, one had to already be proficient singer to become a professional singer. Unlike today, you couldn’t be technically or digitally corrected then, and this has encouraged more people of today to try their hand at singing, thus bolstering competition. Competition is so tough, that it is difficult for anyone to really make a mark, unless one is really very talented. I’m lucky because I made a mark since the 90s, and my legacy comes from then so I don’t really need to make an effort to stand out.
Speaking on the influx of new singers. Which new singers are you really fond of?
In every generation, there are very good singers. In my times, my seniors were Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, and Vinod Rathod; before them there was Suresh Wadkar, Hariharan, and SP Balasubramaniam. Those who came after me include Shaan, KK, Kunaal Ganjawala, Kailash Kher, Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhvinder Singh, Neeraj Shridhar, Sunidhi Chauhan, and Shreya Ghosal, all of whom have made a great mark for themselves. In today’s singers, Javed Ali and Benny Dayal are very good.
There has been a recent trend of music composers asking multiple singers to sing the same song. It has happened with you for “Tere Bin” from Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji, and “Phir Se” from Toh Baat Pakki. What do you think of this, and how does it have an effect on the singers or industry?
This trend is mainly followed by Pritam (music composer). He can make even nine singers sing the same song, from which he then selects the best ones. That’s just his way of functioning. Of course, he respects me a lot, and he tries to ensure that he doesn’t do this with me. What happens is that composers go to various singers, and when they cannot find what they want, they then come to me, and I’m their last stop; but a lot of them don’t come to me, because they know I wouldn’t appreciate it if they went to someone after me. This doesn’t bother me though, because I’ve done enough and I’m not hungry for songs; I don’t need to be one of those nine singers for anybody. More importantly, I feel a composer should have a vision of who would suit their song best.
Which is your most memorable song?
While I have many number of memorable songs like the title songs of Kal Ho Naa Ho, Main Hoon Na, and Saathiya, Sande Se Aate Hai from Border, Yeh Dil from Pardes, Suraj Hua Madham from K3G, my most memorable one is Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin from Agneepath. I wanted a song which would consolidate my singing prowess. This song was not promoted by the film; it wasn’t lip-synced, and they didn’t even have a proper music video for it. It caught on by sheer word of mouth. My caliber is decided by the way people meet me.
Which are your latest songs, and what are your future projects?
Now Takedein from Warning has just been aired and is doing well, while God Allah aur Bhagwan from Krrish 3, Pitah from Boss, and Mahi Ve from Besharam are gaining popularity each day.
Also, I have recently started venturing into composing, and have composed music with my friend Vikram Ghosh for forthcoming films like Super Se Upar, Singh Saab The Great, Jal, and Happy Anniversary.
You have performed all over the world. Where did you enjoy performing the most?
Most recently, I enjoyed performing in Moscow. The place was beautiful and the show was awesome. I’d never expected such a large number of Russians to turn up and enjoy my songs.
Other places like USA and UK have also been marvellous, and in some places the crowd were even moved to tears when I performed, which was very heartening.
The HKYantoYans are looking forward to your performance on 1st October, and we’re sure you’ll make it memorable for us. What can we do to make it memorable for you?
Just throng there, and I’ll take there of the rest!
What advice would you give to the aspiring artists?
Humility. Never be so arrogant that you think you know everything. The arrogance of an artist makes him very small. You cannot say that your genre, or only the genre that you know is the best. When you open your heart and say that every genre is worth learning, you will know that there is an entire world of music to be learnt and appreciated, then the Cosmos will grant you success.
Sonu Nigam performed an enthralling show on 1st October in Hong Kong where the crowd sang along, laughed, cheered and even cried. Organized by Mercury Entertainment, the show was well received and produced.
What did you think about his Performance on 1st Oct? Leave your comment below in the comment section.