Britney loved my voice: Sonu Nigam

         Priyanka DasguptaPriyanka Dasgupta, TNN | Jul 14, 2011, 12.00am IST


Sonu Nigam is in Leh to shoot a music video. The singer is over the moon after Britney Spears congratulated him online and even praised his voice in his desi remix of Britney's I wanna go . Excerpts from an interview with Sonu:

Last month, you sang a number with Jermaine Jackson. And now, you've collaborated with Britney Spears. How did it all happen?

I was approached by Britney Spears' management to do the collaboration. I didn't want to disclose anything about the project before the management had okayed the remix. On Tuesday, Britney sent me a message on my microblogging account saying she was so excited about having me on board for I wanna go . She said my vocals add a different feel which she loves! She followed it up with: Watch out Bollywood, it's Britney and Sonu! I don't think any Indian vocalist has ever had a collaboration so big. Of course, AR Rahman is there, but then he is a composer.

But, one had Sunidhi Chauhan collaborating with Enrique...

Yes. That's true. Britney Spears is on some other level. The Pussycat Dolls used to open for her.

Since you are as good a listener as a singer, what do you feel about Britney the artiste? Britney comes from a country that respects music. In America, there is music and there are movies. She is almost a legend. She started off at a very young age. She is controversial and she is hot. She knows the pulse of the listeners.

So, when did work start on this collaboration?

A month ago they sent the sound tape to me. DJ Llyod worked with me on the tape. We used a lot of Indian drums, including matka, for this number. I penned the Hindi and English lyrics that I have sung in this remix. The lines go like: Asoolon ki hadon se tujhe chheen loon/I wanna take you to a world that's crazy and new/Aaja panahon mein . Then, we sent the tape to the management. We didn't come out with the news till we had the go-ahead from the management.

Have you interacted with Britney?

In these kind of collaborations, we don't really deal with the artistes. But, it was really a pleasure when Britney herself sent me a message on a microblogging site!

So, is there any chance of you performing with Britney any time soon in India?

If she come down to India, I will definitely want to perform with her. Now that I have a song with her, it is all the more exciting for me. With you having recorded with Britney and, then, news of Lady Gaga coming down to India, do you think such developments will change anything in the Indian music scene?

The scenario in music might take a turn. I hope, music labels understand that the huge business of music is not supposed to be only seen as a film commodity. Unfortunately, in India, music is diluted by only harping on Bollywood.

But fact is that your two most-recent international acts have had no connection with Bollywood...

Yes, that's true. Last month, I wrote and composed a tribute to Michael Jackson where I collaborated with Jermaine Jackson. We performed the English number in Toronto too. Now, this Britney number is also not connected to Bollywood. I think, that's is a significant step in the context of Indian music

Sonu Nigam collaborates with Britney Spears

         TNN | Jul 14, 2011, 01.40pm IST


Sonu Nigam, a name to reckon with in the world music fraternity, can be best described as someone with raw energy, startling talent and a performer par excellence.

And this time he has done it again by collaborating with none other than the youth icon of today and the singer of Baby one more time, the mezmerizing Britney Spears. It's the fusion of east meeting west with an Indian touch to it. The song is called I Wanna Go. And is a current chart topper on the international charts.

Sonu, who's currently shooting for a video in Leh and Ladakh, told us that he had kept this news under wraps as he wanted Britney and her management to announce it. This is Britney's personal album and she's very passionate about it. To Sonu's utter surprise, Britney decided to send a personalized tweet to Sonu praising his rendition and that he's taken the song to a different level.

This is by far the biggest ever collaboration between two singers of America and India feels Desi-hits, the people responsible for this collaboration. Sonu has personally composed and written his bits in the song and Dj Lloyd has worked on the grooves. So after This is it with Jermaine Jackson that hit the market just recently, this is Sonu's second International release in a Month.

Sonu Nigam sings sargams with Britney Spears

         Priyanka Dasgupta, TNN | Jul 13, 2011, 10.27am IST


It couldn't have got bigger than this. Sonu Nigam has collaborated with Britney Spears on a remix of her popular, "I wanna go", number.

Says Britney on her microblogging site: "So excited about having @sonuniigaam on I Wanna Go. His vocals add such a different feel which I love! Watch out Bollywood. It's Sonu and Britney."

Sonu Nigam's portions in the Britney Spears ft Sonu begins with a sargam: "Ni ni sa sa ga ga ma ma/ ma ga ni ni sa pa ni sa ni pa..." Then Britney takes over before Sonu enters with two lines in Hindi and English. The English lines go like: "I want to take you to a world that's crazy and new..." Then, it's over to Britney again to complete the number.

Sonu, of course, is excited with this collaboration. On his microblogging site, the singer wrote: " India loves you Britney @britneyspears. Welcome to Bollywood! Am loving the fact that it's OUR Collaboration that marks your first step here. God bless you and more power to Great Music!!! :)"

Sonu to pay tribute to MJ

         Prithwish GangulyPrithwish Ganguly, TNN | Jun 16, 2011, 12.00am IST


Sonu Niigaam has composed his way into the record books. BT has learnt that the late pop legend Michael Jackson's family has green-lighted their first ever tribute song to MJ by collaborating on a composition that will soon be released worldwide. What makes this interesting is that Sonu happens to be the co-singer and composer of this special song.

Michael's older brother Jermaine Jackson too, has lent his voice to the song, and we've learnt that Sonu and Jermaine will perform the song together for the first time in Toronto, Canada on June 24 €” the eve of MJ's death anniversary. Many of MJ's family members and close friends will attend the concert that is set to draw in a sea of Michael's fans from across the US and Canada. A top source, who is also a witness to this collaboration, reveals, "Sonu met Jermaine in 2009, when he had come to see his show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He invited Sonu for lunch later at the Beverly Wilshire. Who knew at that moment that Sonu would be a part of MJ's tribute collaboration."

The insider adds that the tribute is a soulful track describing the unforgettable impact that MJ and his music have left behind. "The song is about how noble MJ's soul was and how he is dearly missed the world over. As soon as Jermaine heard the song, he was spellbound and very emotional."

Sonu confirms this, saying, "I had written and composed this song when MJ died. But when I recorded it, I never thought I'd be singing with his brother. I am humbled that Jermaine and I will perform together for this tribute to Micheal in Toronto. Now that's called divine intervention!"

Sonu Nigam is on cloud 9

         Iti Shree MisraIti Shree Misra, TNN | May 23, 2011, 03.45pm IST

         Singer Sonu Nigam is a proud man today. The singer's first international single has been released by Universal Music. This is the song that Sonu created for the ICC World Cup, which incidentally India won too!

The single titled " Let's Go For Glory" was first sung by the singer at the ICC World Cup opening ceremony in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Giving his comments about his first international release Sonu said, "I want to thank you all for blessing me. I wouldn't have been where I am had it not been for your constant belief in me. This is a small but very significant step for me. But this is a much more Universal song and I truly believe in. I pray that all of us, eventually Go For Glory!"

The singer also made a humble request to all his fans to not to download the song for free. He said, " I'd like to request my friends to make sure that the song is not circulated on free downloads. UMI will notice the power of my music only when the song is legitimately bought. Needless to say the more it's bought, the better we are positioned. It is truly crucial and pivotal for my music thus I am requesting you to Give me your Power."

Sonu flies high

         By: Urmimala Banerjee Date: 2011-04-26 Place: Mumbai

         Sonu Nigam is super thrilled. His song Let's Go For Glory that he sung at the opening of the World Cup 2011 has been released by a top American recording company.

"I had put my whole heart into that composition, and this appreciation is truly touching," he says. And that's not all; Sonu has also been composing music for a feature film called Jal, which focuses on saving the flamingos.

CS spoke to Sonu about his new project, his love for nature and the idea of singers promoting various causes.

In harmony

The film is based on water scarcity in Kutch, and the problems resulting from it. The director (Girish Malik) wanted a score that was very rooted and yet had an international feel. One of the best parts has been collaborating with Bickram Ghosh for the music. I am huge fan of Bickram. He is a fabulous tabla player and percussionist. We have also found a term for our music Muddy Electronica. It describes a kind of music that's western with a distinct Indian touch. We also have with us Shubha Mudgal, who is a superb singer.

One with nature

I am a crazy guy (smiles). I once disappeared in 2006 for seven-eight days without saying a word to anyone. I was trekking in the Nandadevi Biosphere savouring the wonderful sights of nature. Again in 2009, I told my wife that I needed to disappear for a while. I spent two months alone in the countryside in the US. Spending time with nature is a great form of 'me-time'. When I am surrounded by nature, I realise that music is not my profession, it's me. As I introspect further, I feel that the money, fame, awards, etc are just peripherals. The worldly achievements are just a part of the inner journey into the world of music. Well, I haven't had much time for a break recently but I'm soon planning to head to Ranthambore National Park for a wildlife holiday.

Singing for a cause

Well, no one has approached me to sing for any particular cause till date. Recently, when Kailash (Kher) sang in support of Anna Hazare, I felt it was a wonderful gesture. He behaved like a true Indian citizen who believes in putting his best for his country. Sadly, there are many singers both in India and abroad who use social causes as publicity vehicles. This hurts me a lot. I have sung for various issues right from anti-dowry to AIDS to women's causes, but I don't like to talk about them. However, if someone approached me to compose some music or sing for tiger conservation, I would do it instantly.

Sonu Nigam to recreate Mohammad Rafi magic

         Meena Iyer, TNN | Apr 30, 2011, 12.39pm IST

         When he started his playback singing career Bollywood's most famous male voice currentlySonu Nigam sang a lot of Mohammad Rafi songs.

Later Sonu developed his own distinct style and is now one of the most sought after male voices in Hindi cinema. But at the behest of music composer Pyarelal Sharma of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal fame; Sonu has once again agreed to recreate the legendary Mohammad Rafi magic. On 7th May at Mumbai's Andheri Sports Complex Sonu will present some immortal songs sung by Mohammad Rafi.This show is named "A Musical Journey Of Maestros".

After a gap of two decades Pyarelal is going to perform live in open air stadium in Mumbai. Alongwith Sonu Nigam other singers such as Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy,Sudesh Bhosle,Shail Hada,Vibhavari Joshi and Shrikant Kulkarni(known as Mukesh's voice) will also mesmerise the audience with the chart buster songs tuned by Laxmikant -Pyarelal. To make this show very special and spectacular more than 100 musicians will be performing live on stage with a chorus of 60.

Speaking about this show Pyarelal says,"Our entire team has worked very hard for this show. Even while doing the song selections for this show we had lengthy discussions with our singers and musicians.Indeed it was the tough task to select the songs.While preparing for this show, I got nostalgic and started reminscing about the creation of each song. I'm grateful to Sonu for agreeing to pay homage to Rafi saab by singing his songs.

Sonu is giving Sachin a run for his money

         Mumbai Mirror | Apr 27, 2011, 12.00am IST

         Sachin Tendulkar is not the only person who has one million followers on his micro blogging site.

TOI has learnt that acclaimed singer Sonu Niigaam too has got a million followers and has in fact beaten Sachin on another social networking platform. "I'm not even that active on it. I got to know about this feat a week back and I was overwhelmed by the love and support that people of India and my fans from across the globe have been showering me with. It is a big honour to receive.

Actually Shyama Govind who is like my sister keeps a tab on my site. I have promised myself that I'm going to be more active and keep in touch with my fans more after this feat," Sonu told us. The singer has 1,035,088 followers (as of Tuesday noon) compared to Sachin's 1,025,282 followers

Back in action

         Srabanti Chakrabarti

         The versatile singer Sonu Nigam will be returning to the small screen, as a judge. Read about his views on reality shows and more

Think reality shows and the first name that come to ones mind is Sonu Nigam. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that Sonu Nigam and Farah Khans combination in Indian Idol is perhaps the most popular judge-jodi till date.

Sadly, Sonu was out of reality shows for a while due to his other commitments and also due to the way talent hunt shows were transforming into TRP hunts! After a gap of couple years (he was last seen in Chhote Ustaad last year), the genius will be seen in a new show X Factor that will look for musical talents across the nation soon.

I have always stayed away from reality shows where judges created unnecessary scenes for some extra TRP. I have always said that I will not participate in a show where quality can be compromised,he says while elaborating the reasons for his absence from reality shows for a while.

The host-turned-judge Sonu Nigam also seems to have very strong views on the selection of judges by the makers. Why should a non-dancer celebrity be the judge for a dance reality show? Why should an actor judge a musical talent hunt show? Just because a filmstar is a crowdpuller? I strongly feel that a song-based reality show should be judged only by composers or singers and likewise for dance-based reality shows. Point taken, Sonu. Something the makers need to take care of.

In the past, there have been loads of controversies on reality shows for children and the impact it has on their studies, childhood and innocence. But that has not deterred producers and broadcasters from making newer reality shows for children. How does Sonu view this phenomenon? I feel todays kids are under too much of stress and that is definitely not good for their future.

Let me share an incident with you while judging Chote Ustaad, one parent asked me about what would happen to studies if kids continue to do reality shows. I told her, look at the bag which todays kids take every day to school. Dont you think it is too heavy for them? We have to think differently. It is high time we should.

Lata Mangeshkar or Sachin Tendulkar did not think of becoming a singer and cricketer all of a sudden. They started learning and practicing right from the childhood. I feel that is how we should deal with our children as well, he says.

I was a pretty good student in school. In fact, my class notes became a popular tool for success and used to be called Nigam Notes! But thanks to my parents, I had no pressure or stress related to my studies. I could pursue my singing in parallel as well. I feel that is how todays parents should look at things, says the singer who will be seen in a new avatar in X Factor.

I dont trust music shows: Sonu Nigam

         Published: Thursday, Mar 10, 2011, 11:02 IST

         By Prachi Kadam | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Singer Sonu Nigam is on cloud nine, post the super success of a filmy number that he sang in 54 variations. He also crooned at the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup in Dhaka and sang with international musician Bryan Adams during rehearsals.

Now the singer is back on a music reality show after a short hiatus. Nigam had earlier judged a couple of music reality shows, but he says that they were primarily for kids.

Ask him what kept him away from judging more mature singing shows and he says, Initially, I was hesitant about the show because I dont trust music shows. The team approached me about three months ago and I had refused. I felt that all reality shows go the TRP route and influence responses and circumstances. Music is too pure for me and I dont want to pollute it.

He further adds, At first I thought that X-Factor would be like that too. But then when I saw the international shows and then I realised that this was different, which is why I agreed to be a part of it.

Of late, Nigam has been making frequent trips to the US. Talking about it, he says, Los Angeles is like my second home. I felt peaceful when I was there for some time. I got time to analyse my life and realise what I should be doing. I started at a very young age so I wanted to take time off to do things that I like. Also, I met many international musicians there.

Nigam is a content father and says that he feels elated that his son Neevan has sung with Lata Mangeshkar, Neevan is a very bright kid. He likes to sing, play and do Judo. I feel Neevan is very blessed to have sung with Lataji, he signs off.

Sonu, Bryan to team up!

         Prithwish Ganguly, TNN | Mar 1, 2011, 12.00am IST

         It will be the perfect mix of the East and the West and efforts are on to get Indian music sensation Sonu Nigam to team up with iconic rocker Bryan Adams.

Sonu, who met Bryan during the cricket World Cup grand opening ceremony where they individually performed at Bangladesh, is set to travel to London to meet Bryan at his residence.

A top source from the music industry informs, "Sonu had the confidence to compose and sing an English song on a platform that had the international rock legend Bryan Adams. After hearing his song Let's Go For Glory, record labels want Sonu to collaborate with Bryan for an English album." When contacted, Sonu said, "I'll travel to London soon to meet Bryan. It will be great if we can work out something together. As of now I just want my mother's health (his mother Shobha has been detected with cancer) to improve before I can get going on my projects."

Sonu Nigam's on cloud nine

         Piyali Dasgupta, TNN | Feb 19, 2011, 12.00am IST

         Sonu Nigam was on cloud nine when he spoke to us just as he was boarding his flight from Delhi airport to Bangladesh.

He was to perform at the opening ceremony of 2011 World Cup Cricket in Dhaka, that happened on Thursday evening. "As a child I always had a passion for cricket. I grew up playing the game in my school and college days. Frankly, I never got the opportunity to watch any match in a stadium till now, that is," he laughed. "But now, I shall try to watch at least the final in Mumbai. It is a great pride for our nation to be hosting such a mega sporting event for the first time. As an Indian, I feel immensely proud to be associated with this event. And as a singer, I thought it was high time that I did something more creative and innovative besides doing regular Bollywood numbers in films. Hence, I decided to write and compose a special song dedicated to the Cricket World Cup," he lets in.

"This will be one of the most prestigi to be singing before such eminent international cricketers. It will be awesome. But the message in my song is not only for the cricketers, but for people from all walks of life. Whatever you are an actor, singer or painter whoever is struggling and striving hard to make a name for himself and is trying to attain glory will identify with the song," said the singer. It definitely did, Sonu.

So does he think India will win the CWC? He promptly said, "Yes, surely. The team is good and they have been performing very well. There are a lot of young, talented players in the team and they have proved themselves for the team. I am sure they will perform well and win the cup. I am a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar and will be looking forward to watching him play during the World Cup."

Sonu to sing at World Cup opening

         TNN, Feb 7, 2011, 12.00am IST

         Ace singer Sonu Nigam is set to bring the World Cup opening ceremony at Dhaka alive with his performance.

He has composed a song in English titled Lets Go For Glory that salutes the spirit of sportsmanship. It is certainly a huge honour for the top Indian singer. Sonu confirms, "It is true that I'm performing at the World Cup. I will sing when the teams are being introduced at the stadium.

My song will be a toast to the spirit of cricket. It has a universal theme of playing it fair in life and going for glory which I think will appeal to one and all. I feel very proud that I've been selected to perform at a global event, moreso because I'm going to represent India."

Music runs in my blood: Sonu Nigam

         Divya Pathak, TNN, Jan 14, 2011, 12.00am IST

         Sonu Nigam, one of the best singers in the Indian music industry, is not very happy with the industry, which, he feels, does not have many opportunities for the sea of talent that exists in India.

During his recent concert in Delhi on New Year's Eve, Sonu told TOI about his life in the industry and beyond, his aspirations and his dreams for a music industry that is independent of Bollywood.

How does it feel to come back to the city New Delhi the place you grew up in?

There are no words to express that feeling. I was born in Faridabad and I spent a major part of my growing up years in Delhi before shifting to Mumbai. Delhi-NCR is still very special to me. That is why I never think twice when I get a chance to perform here.

You have completed almost two decades in the Indian film industry. Does it make you feel like a veteran?

Well, there are singers who are older than me. But if you talk of experience, yes, I do feel like a veteran. Having said that, I would like to add that I feel I am the youngest veteran.

From singing Rafi songs, hosting shows to becoming the most sought-after singer in B-wood. How has the journey been?

It has been a rollercoaster ride. When I started, I faced a lot of hardships. People used to call me a Rafi clone because I used to sing my favourite singer's songs. Then "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" happened. It gave me a good break. Surviving in the industry without a godfather was difficult for sure. But over time, things started to get better and good opportunities were soon coming my way. The rest, as they say, is history. I was lucky, I must say, but everyone is not..

Why do you say that?

Arre, look at the sea of talent that is here in India. But does everyone make it big? No. There are many singers who have got an exceptional talent, but spend their lives singing in local trains or hotels. Does the country even know who they are? Music in India is restricted only to Bollywood. Whoever manages to make a mark there is remembered. The ones who fail to reach and make it big there are forgotten. But there are bigwigs who do not belong to the industry but have managed to make their mark in India. Classical singers, instrumentalists... Yes. They've carved out a niche for themselves. But they started their careers when there were plenty of opportunities in India. At that time, classical music, bhajans, children's songs and patriotic numbers were prominent in Hindi films as well. Do the films of today have any of these? There is a serious dearth of opportunities these days in the industry.

Is this the reason why the musical talent hunt contestants get a lot of hype when they are in the show and then fade away into oblivion after the show is over?

Yes. Now you are getting there. The simple reason is: There is a lot of talent, but there are no opportunities. Singers from all over the country assemble on the platform of music-based reality shows to reach Bollywood. It started with "Meri Aawaz Suno" and "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa". But except Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and Kunal Ganjawala, no one made it really big. It is not that there was a lack of talent. In fact, there were singers who were much better than even the winners. Even now, very few talent hunt contestants actually manage to reach that level. And even after reaching there, unfortunately, they need to continue holding on to the crutch of Bollywood to make their presence felt. This is a slap on the face of music in our country.

So what is the solution?

This situation won't improve until and unless we get a music industry, which is independent of B-wood. An industry where singers get tremendous opportunity to prove their mettle. An industry where no talent is wasted...

You have tried your hands at classical, Indi-pop. You can dance and play so many instruments. What is the secret behind this versatility?

I'd say music runs in my blood. My parents are exceptionally talented singers, so even before I was born, it was a known fact to them that I'd become a singer. Thanks to my genes, I started off at the age of three and since then, music has meant everything to me. That is the reason why I try to make myself as versatile as possible.

Has this musical gene come in your son as well?

Oh yes! Although Nevaan is only three-and-a-half now, he has already sung with Lataji. He is a brilliant singer.

Sonu Nigam's Christmas wish!

         Ruman Ganguly, TNN, Dec 26, 2010, 12.00am IST

Sonu Nigam is a thorough professional. On Christmas Eve, the singer was in town to perform at a Calcutta Swimming Club event, which was presented in association with The Times Of India.

On being prodded if he asked for a gift from Santa Claus, Sonu said after a pregnant pause, "Yes, I did! I want my ailing mother to recover soon."

Overheard at the venue was that Sonu's mother is seriously ailing and the news reached his ears just before the perfomance. But such is his professionalism and commitment towards work that the singer didn't let it affect the show.

Sonu to start a band

         Roshmila Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times

His title track from Tees Maar Khan, sung in 54 different voices, is getting him a standing ovation everywhere, be it the Lucknow Mohotsav, concerts in Hoogli and Belgaum or the Comedy Circus finale. Everyone wants to hear me sing it live, smiles Sonu Niigaam, whos recently returned from a concert tour in the UK.

Unfortunately, while on the All Is Well tour, he learnt that his mother is seriously unwell. Now, he has cancelled all commitments that would take him away from the country for longer than a couple of days.

Hes put his plans of cutting an English album on hold. In 2003, he had recorded Spirit Unfolding but before he could release it, he got busy with Indian Idol and could not go to the US to market it. At the time it was a trendsetter but times changed. I want to move on, sighs the singer. Id planned to collaborate with American artistes. But for that I have to spend time in the US. This year Ive been in India for Chhote Ustaad and now, I cant think beyond praying for my mother whos been detected with cancer.

Niigaam had also planned to set up a band, Nirvan, with DJ Gaurav, guitarist and composer of Dus Kahaniyan and Knock Out: We met a couple of months ago and decided to make music together. Our band will play at my solo concerts. We also want to come out with an album soon.

Meanwhile, a unique album, Time Travel, with voice aligned with erstwhile singers in yesteryear Hindi songs, released on a couple of Nokia handsets. Encouraged by its 1 million sales, Niigaam wants to turn this the eight-song album into multiple CDs comprising 50 songs.

Hes also in talks for an Indianised X Factor, a TV talent show franchise that originated in UK. All my musical shows, from Sa Re Ga Ma and Music Ka Maha Muqabala to Chhote Ustaad, have done extremely well. I like the format of X Factor and the people who are handling it. Were in talks, he admits.

Hes open to another season of Chhote Ustaad too. During my concert in Karachi a bomb exploded, narrowly missing wiping out my family. It upset me but I cant hold it against that country. Its unethical to boycott any artiste, he reasons, adding that Chhote Ustaad helped improving ties between India and Pakistan because unlike the opinionated 21-plus group, children dont discriminate on community, nationality or creed.

Niigaam himself is a proud father to Nivaan who at three sang with Lata Mangeshkar. It was a €˜sargam that made it even more difficult, he beams. Hes a good boy who always wakes up with a smile. Ill support him in anything he wants to do.

Papa himself hasnt been doing much playback. There was a time when he had two-three nominations during the award season. Im nominated every year€¦ Main hoon naa€¦, Kabhi alvida na kehna€¦, All izz well€¦, Shukran Allah€¦. But there were no awards till The Best Live Performer (Male) Award recently. The business has changed but good songs that require emotions and expressions still come to me, he asserts.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming response to his stage performance at a recent award function has prodded Niigaam into giving movies another thought. He acted in half-a-dozen films as a child artiste, including Pyaara Dushman (80), Kamchor (82) Ustaadi Ustad Se (83) and Betaab (83).

Later, there were the forgettable Jaani Dushman€”Ek Anokhi Kahani (2002), Kaash Aap Humare Hote (2003) and Love In Nepal (2004). Except for Love In Nepal that didnt get a proper release, all the other movies didnt match my stature. So, Im waiting for the right project.

Reportedly, hes interested in Aankhon Aankhon Mein, about a blind singer? Yeah, theres that one and three other offers too, he admits. But right now my mother is top priority.

Sonu Nigam takes a break to be with cancer-stricken mom

         Published: Sunday, Dec 19, 2010, 11:01 IST

         By Soumyadipta Banerjee | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The world has come to a standstill for Sonu Nigam. The singer has put a full-stop to all his assignments and has rushed to his Mumbai home after his mother, Shobha, 61, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer that has now spread to the kidney and her bones.

The doctors are saying that shes stage four (widely considered as the last stage of cancer). She used to complain about pain but we first thought that it was arthritis. She herself used to brush it off saying that its just arthritis due to old age..., says Sonu. But the pain never stopped; its been ten days that the doctors have confirmed cancer.

Then we decided to get all the checks done and a biopsy revealed that she has cancer. We are all devastated...Nobody (the doctors) is saying encouraging things. We have now gone to an ayurvedic doctor. He has given me hope. I am still trying to come to grips with my reality. Its real and its bad for me. My wife and my family understand what I am going through right now, the singer adds.

Sonu says that he will put a break to his work till he gets a grip of the situation.

I am laughing, joking and trying to concentrate on my work but I only know whats going on inside me. I just hope that I get to know of some solution that will put an end to all this... I am planning to take my mom to the US after this treatment, he ends.

Im Being Choosy : Sonu Nigam

         Itishree misra, TNN, Dec 11, 2010, 12.00am IST

         Singer Sonu Nigam sure takes his job as a mentor very seriously.

And that is precisely what dragged him into some unwelcome news recently, when he flew to the defence of his proteges Abhijeet Sawant and Prajakta Shukre, after the singers were accosted by a belligerant crowd and Nigam was forced to intervene to sort out the matter. Undrestandably reluctant to talk about the episode, Nigam nevetheless did let us in on his point of view, while in Lucknow to perform at the Lucknow Mahotsav. "Of course! These are young people and if they look to me for guidance, I will help them to the best of my ability. It's my moral responsibility," he reacts when we point out his involvment in the episode.

But controversies are not all that are happening in Sonu Nigam's life. In fact, he says he's a busy man who chooses work carefully now.

"I'm being choosy about my work," says Sonu, and explains why: "I strongly believe that life mein quality honi chahiye. One should respect one's art and not over utilise and over expose it. That way one can maintain a quality and respect in one's profession, which is what I'm doing now."

And it is this mindset that perhaps led him to explore a new facet to himself recently, that of singing in 54 different voices for a track in the forthcoming "Tees Maar Khan". "Yes, that was very interesting. Initially Shirish (Kunder) had thought of making 10-15 singers sing the same track and I was supposed to be one of them. So he came to my studio to record the track and when I started singing he offered me to sing all of them. And then the track went on to be in 54 different voices right from females to different male voices. It was fun."

Another activity that keeps the singing star engaged and excited is the Singer's Association of India (SAI), formed this year in June, which he's an active part of. "Yes, it's been a dream come true for singers in Bollywood. It was actually Lataji's (Mangeshkar) dream but somehow she could not fulfill it. Along with me there's Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala and Alka Yagnik who are all a part of the association and we hope to help protect the interests of the singers in India."

Among the issues the organization plans to take up are ensuring that singers are given their due. "If you notice, there have been a few films like "Lakshya" where the names of singers wasn't mentioned, which I feel is not right. We can't be ignored as most movies do well because of their music. The association will bring in a moral code of conduct in the industry towards and for the singers. We'll also be helping old and out-of-work singers so that they can lead a life of dignity," he says.

Sonu Nigam is hitting the high notes!

         Published: Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010, 13:32 IST

         By Akansha Naval-Shetye | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

When Sonu Nigam quit micro blogging site Twitter he did that with a promise to host a live workshop for music lovers, absolutely free of cost.

And true to his word, thats what the singers doing. Sonu recently resurfaced on Twitter, only to announce a workshop that he plans to organise in Mumbai. There are also plans for a live webcast of the same.

However, Sonus plans might need a little re-planning, since, while the singer was expecting a crowd of around 20 to 30 persons, thereve been almost 600 whove confirmed participation. And though Sonus overwhelmed with the unexpected turnout, he does admit that he may have to re-think the venue now.

I am humbled by the response. We were planning to have the workshop in Mumbai on December 3. I dont think that well change the date, but we will definitely need a bigger venue.

And according to reports there are not only people from across India, but also music lovers from overseas keen to participate in a live music session with the singer, whos riding high on the success of the title track for Tees Maar Khan, having sung it in 56 voices.

Yes, its true. Weve had enquiries coming from places like New Jersey and UK for the workshop. As soon as we arrange for the venue we will make the formal announcement, confirms Sonu.

Talking about what inspired him to conduct such a workshop, he adds, I think many times all we need is a little guidance and thats all Im trying to give, show others the direction €” which I wish I had during my younger days.

Sonu Nigam sings in 54 voices for one Tees Maar Khan song

         Published: Friday, Nov 12, 2010, 10:55 IST

         By Aakanksha Naval-Shetye | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

This one?s sure to get Sonu Nigam in the record books. The singer?s recently sung in 54 voices for the same song. No mean feat considering this required him to not only sing in different male voices, but also female voices. Confirming this, Sonu says, ?Yes, that is true. I have sung the title track of Tees Maar Khan in 54 voices.? Admitting that it wasn?t easy, Sonu adds, ?Maintaining a consistency in the voice and the pitch which is not yours can be very tedious.?

Talking about how the idea originated, the singer revealed that they were trying different versions for the same song and it was music composer Shirish Kunder?s idea to merge all the versions together. ?After I recorded several versions, it was difficult to choose any one. So Shirish incorporated all of them in one song. I am the chorus as well as the singer for this one, and all have still managed to sound different,? adds Sonu.

The singer apart from singing in several female voices has sung the song with a Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, French and several such accents. ?But the one I enjoyed the most was singing in Akshay?s (Kumar) voice. In fact, I sound so much like him that even Farah couldn?t make out the difference,? he smiles.

So is he aiming for a place in the book of records? ?Well, we hadn?t recorded the song with that in mind, but now that we have done it; I think Farah and Shirish are considering sending it for the record books. I don?t think any singer has done that before on the big screen, so yes, I will keep my fingers crossed for this one,? smiles Sonu. Well, that?d be another feather in the Bollywood cap too, so here?s wishing him all the luck.

Sonu?s son sings with Lata!

         Aakanksha Naval-Shetye, TNN, Aug 22, 2010, 12.00am IST

Little Nevaan Nigam's turning out to be a regular chip off the old block. At three, Bollywood rocker Sonu Nigam's son has already cut his first song. And, that too with the Voice of India ? Lata Mangeshkar herself!

The story goes that Lataji approached Sonu and asked him if Nevaan would conclude a song on her new album by performing a sargam. This, those into singing and Hindustani classical music will know, is far more difficult than just singing or reciting words.

But Sonu, who himself has contributed and sang alongside Lataji on the new album, immediately agreed. And the singer is now brimming with pride and joy because the songstress posted on a networking site that her two most favourite singers are Sonu and Nevaan.

Sonu told TOI, "I believe that Nevaan is truly blessed. To be asked by Lataji to sing with her at this young age, is in itself a great honour. Her compliment to Nevaan even tops all the ones that I've got through my entire career."

Nevaan isn't formally being trained as a singer yet. "But he's an intelligent child and grasped every sur very quickly. He has a good music sense," said the proud father. "When we taught him the sargam, the incentive we gave him was the opportunity to sing on the mike. Nevaan was eager enough!"

?Composers conspired to not give me work?

         Sonu Niigaam

Sonu Niigaam who was recently in news for having deleted his twitter account after being panned by his followers for having sported two pig tails in one of his music shows, is now back in scene with a reality show Chhote Ustad.

He would be seen judging the kids singing reality show that has roped in 10 Indian kids and 10 from Pakistan. They will together form 10 teams in which each team will have one Indian child and one Pakistani child. The teams would compete against each other and not the nationality. The show aims at spreading the message of love and peace across the countries.

As we all know Sonu has been choosy about the TV shows he has done so far. In a candid interaction with media he spoke about the appeal of Chhote Ustad. Scroll down to also find out Sonu?s opinion on religion and cosmic energy.

You are one of the popular reality show judge on television and now you are set to judge the kids in this show.

According to me judging is wrong concept. Since it?s a format of the show it has to be done. I don?t think that I am capable of judging someone just because I am somebody big. Also I don?t think that I am better than the contestants who I am suppose to judge on the show. There can be someone who is better of me. It?s just the matter of age.

You have been very choosy about doing shows on TV, so what made you take up this show?

I liked the concept as I believe it is difficult to change the adults? mentality. If they have grown with the view that Muslims are enemies or Hindus are enemies they will continue to believe so, no matter how much you pursue them. So when the children from the neighbouring country would come to our nation and receive the warmth here, definitely they would go back and spread good words there. It has to begin from somewhere so why not us. For sure, you will see the difference soon.

How do you look at religion?

I feel religion should be domesticated and not internationalized. It means one should follow the religion at home but should not create noise of it. The minute religion steps out of house, peace is disturbed and hostility prevails because one tends to promote his/her religion as superior most.

Isn?t the reality shows are adding pressure on these little ones?

As far as the pressure of competition is concerned, competition exists in schools as well. The reality shows are good platform for kids to learn and gauge their standings. Sachin Tendulkar did not decide to become cricketer at the age of 18. He had been playing since he was a child. So when these kids participate in reality shows, they actually avail the opportunity to learn.

Today as a leading music personality, what do you suggest to all those children who aspire to make career in music?

I would suggest to their parents that they should teach their children at least one instrument so that the child does not rate the songs as good for the number of times he has heard it but for the quality of it.

You have worked with Gajendra Singh in past as well.

We have seen the days when we use to shoot three to five episodes in a day. It use to be so hectic that I had started dreaming of Sa Re Ga Ma when I am asleep. At that time there was no voting system. In a day we use to have several guests on the show for the different episodes and then I had to prepare respective songs in their honour. I remember I have written my own scripts so many times. So I would sum up saying that the bond has grown stronger by the day.

You have been constantly doing something or the other with your hair.

What if someday I turn bald! You never know about men hair fall. I simply grow them. Last time I trimmed my hair in October. Also it?s my age, I can?t carry the same chocolate boy look all my life. Also I like to play with my hair do.

You are the first Indian to delete your twitter account.

I was not there on twitter to let people know that I got up or I had food. I am too good with words to do something of that sort. It is also dangerous for blunt people like me. If somebody?s writing wrong things about me obviously I would react to it. I had started giving back to people in a manner I was not suppose to, so I finally decided to delete it as I realized it is bread and butter of the people who are doing it but not mine. I should not retaliate to it. I will be back on twitter just for the music workshop. For that matter, Facebook is better as there you have a choice, here in twitter anybody who likes me can follow.

You have also been singing less in films these days.

When I said that I have reduced on work I did not mean that am not working. But the leading composers like Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Vishal-Shekhar and Pritam made it a point that if he?s not singing let?s not give him work only, and they all made the best use of this opportunity. It?s been a long that I sang for them. That?s not right, instead one should look at it in a way that when the person is exclusive that means he is not selling cheap.

What do you have to say about many Pakistani singers flourishing in India?

If one is destined to earn name and fame in India it will happen to him. His destiny has already been written. It is all upon the one?s cosmic structure. I completely believe in cosmic structures, it is difficult to comprehend but everything in this world happens for a reason.

But it?s never other way round. We have never seen any Indian singer flourishing in their country.

When there are two brothers, one is rich and the other is poor. The richer one would only be able to help the poor one, similarly when our industry is stronger than theirs obviously it becomes our responsibility to help them avail the opportunities here. We have a market for our music and films there and also our industry appeals them. Give and take is between equals. If we are capable of giving then why not!

Sonu again

         S. M. Aamir

Though super singer Sonu Niigaam has been away from public glare for some time, he has never been too far away from controversies. Whether it is a spat with a journalist or getting embroiled in a squabble with Vidhu Vinod Chopra some time ago, he has been getting some share of newsprint off and on.

Donning a new hairstyle, sweet-faced Sonu promises to turn a new leaf now. He is all set to come up with his new album of world music. Also, he will now be seen on television in the role of mentor in the music reality show Amul Chhote Ustad -Do Deshon Ki Ek Awaaz, coming soon on Star Plus.

Speaking at the recent launch of the show in Mumbai, Sonu clears the air about his absence from the industry. ?People misheard me. I said that I am not going to do bad work, I was always open to good work. People like Shankar Mahadevan, Vishal-Shekhar and Pritam never offered me work. In the industry cinema has become a very big thing and singers are just a little subordinate. Now, I am coming up with a new album on world music. The album has seven songs in different languages. Four songs are in English, two in Hindi and one in Gujarati. The album is going to be released shortly.?

Sonu is indeed trying to bring the world closer through his music. He believes that music can help India and Pakistan find a common chord and defends the participation of Pakistani artistes in Indian shows, including Chhote Ustaad. ?Our industry is bigger than the film industry in Pakistan. The public there follow our films and our music. So, it is our duty to invite them as the big brother. We have the greater responsibility of encouraging music in our neighbouring country. Give and take comes when both parties are equally strong,? he says.

By Sonu's side is Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, also a part of the reality show. He says, ?It is not that we do not want to invite Indian artistes, but the present political situation in our country is not conducive for it. Terrorism is there, even shows are not held. People in Pakistan have the utmost respect for Indian artistes. We like Indian films and Indian artistes more than our own. We only like to see Indian stars.?

Sonu states, ?Chhote Ustaad is going to be a one-of-its kind show, and it is going to play a good role in improving ties between both countries. What I believe is that you cannot change the mindset of an adult. The seeds of peace can be sowed in tender minds. The kids from our neighbouring country, who are participating in the show, are subject to Indian hospitality. They are going to spread the message of peace when they are back home. We will see the positive effect of this, maybe after a decade when this generation grows up.?

Sonu goes on to add, ?It is a music show and we are going to talk only about music.Both me and Rahat are going to give a personal touch to the kids. It is not a competition between the children of the two countries. We have 10 voices from each country; they are kids and we cannot divide them.?

They don't know me well in America: Sonu Niigaam

         18 Jul, 2010 11:55 am ISTlRUCHIKA KHER/IANS

There was a time when he was the voice behind every other hit Bollywood song, but now Sonu Niigaam says he wants to chart a new course. He's working on a musical project in the US and judging a children's show aimed at bringing Indian and Pakistani children together through music.

"I want to do something different now. I recently came back from Los Angeles. I am working on a musical project there," said Sonu explaining his irregular presence in the film world.

"In India everybody knows me, I have a name here but in America they don't know me so well. So there is a song that I want to release in America. I'm just seeing if I can facilitate the release over there...currently I'm busy with that.

"Working on a few other collaborations as well, but won't be able to reveal details just yet," added Sonu, who is known for chartbusters like " Sandese aate hain " ("Border"), " Yeh Dil " ("Pardes"), " Kal ho naa ho " ("Kal Ho Naa Ho") and " Saathiya ".

Sonu gained popularity as a host for music show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" in the 1990s and he is now set to return to the small screen -- this time as a judge.

The singer will be judging music reality show " Chhote Ustaad 2 ", which will feature 10 children from India and 10 from Pakistan, along with Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

"I did get offers for shows earlier too, but I didn't like them too much. This one is more musically inclined and also spreads a wonderful message of love and peace across the border," Sonu said.

"Children have an impressionable mind; so inculcating positivity and a feeling of brotherhood in them from this age will result in a very good future. It's a good initiative and I hope people will appreciate it," the singer said.

Apart from his new ventures, there is something else Sonu is proud of -- his three-year-old son Nevaan. Sonu, who got the gift of music from his father, singer Agam Kumar Niigaam, says his son not only sings but has already turned composer!

"He sings and dances all the time. In fact he has also started composing even though he is just three. He has composed three songs which are very catchy," said Sonu.

The 36-year-old singer married Madhurima Feb 15, 2002, and they had a son July 25, 2007.

"In fact it's not that he's become musically inclined now. Since Nevaan was eight months old I used to sing and he used to sing in the same pitch. It is shocking but true!" said Sonu.

Sonu Niigaam to attend Asian awards in UK

         Press Trust of India Saturday, July 10, 2010 (London)

Singer Sonu Niigaam is all set to lend some Bollywood glamour to the upcoming Asian Awards in UK on October 26.

The Chiggy Wiggy hitmaker will be one among the many well-known faces gracing the event.

"We are so thrilled Sonu Niigaam will be leading our entertainment. His pre- eminence as a popular Indian entertainer demonstrates the high quality of this great and unforgettable evening," said Caroline Jackson Levy, managing director of UBM Awards, in a statement to Asianet.

"Guests at this prestigious gala ceremony will witness the honouring of individuals in eleven categories including business, philanthropy, cinema, music and sport," she added.

The Asian Awards, in partnership with Lebara, honour achievement and excellence by individuals born in or with direct family origin from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Winners of the Asian Awards will be selected by independent judges chaired by baroness Verma of Leicester, a Government Spokesperson in the House of Lords

You must make room for the cosmos, says Sonu Niigaam

         Ashish Virmani / DNAWednesday, July 7, 2010 10:42 IST

Mumbai: What prompted you to do an album like Buddha Hi Buddha Hai?

I have just one song in it? the title track. Rajesh Dhabre approached me through my friend programmer Jackie Vanjari, who was working for my World Music project at that time. I liked Dhabre?s passion and taste, and agreed to be a part of it.

I once read an interview where you said that you seek inner and outer peace in your life. Is this something that is manifesting in your life nowadays?

Well.... the seeking days are almost over. I had understood it, but couldn?t apply it until last year. It?s only then that I realised what I am and what this stuff (spirituality) is about. So do I quit everything? Or do I opt for everything? I decided to opt for everything because only then I?d know there is nothing to quit from, nor opt for! The perceptions of happiness and non-happiness, these imaginations have been my own choices all this while!

Have you ever had a spiritual experience while performing or connecting with your fans?

I?ve said this before, I?d say this again... I die on stage. I don?t exist when I am on stage. I wouldn?t be able to do half as good a job if I existed. I believe it?s only when you make room for the cosmos to intervene, excellence happens. Every show is a spiritual trip. By spiritual I don?t mean religious by the way. I don?t see the conventional Gods, like Sheravaali maata, Shivji, Allah mian, Jesus to be honest! I just feel a vacuum, a timelessness, a no gravity situation. No sorrows, no happiness...just pure bliss!

Have there been any turning points in your life that set you on the path to becoming a spiritual seeker?

Well,it?s difficult to put it all in words. Like any typical Indian, my journey began with religion. Hinduism, in my case. In the year 2003, in my home temple, I felt something strange, something I still can?t explain. But I was crying. Then I separated from my wife for a while, and then reunited, and then separated again. And then reunited again. During this patch, extensive yoga initiated me in this quest. Then interactions and discourses with a close and realised friend of mine added reality to it. But at the end of it, it?s our own journey, willingness and surrender.

Spirituality is a word that I generally don?t use as it?s more misused than used in the world. But this experience has given me the strength to walk alone if required.

Is there any spiritual philosophy or spiritual values that you follow?

The only thing that I am doing on this path is, to keep a check on myself. I am not ruthless with myself. On the contrary, I socialise often, party, drink, laugh, entertain, etc. But I watch my Self. I?m witnessing my patterns. For instance I just witnessed myself having a lot of fun beating people in word play on Twitter. Even though the excuse was that I was giving it back to the ones who had been unfair or nasty, I could notice myself getting entrapped in negativity, secretly enjoying hurting the other party. The old Sonu resurfaced. So I quit.

Sonu Niigaam hits highest note for patriotic song

         Sharin Bhatti,Hindustan Times Mumbai, June 30, 2010

Music director Shamir Tandon can?t stop raving about Sonu Niigaam who hit the highest note ever for a patriotic track in the film Kandahar. Directed by retired army officer, Major Ravi, the trilingual project in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam, toplines Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal.?The song in question is Naman hai.. and Sonu has hit the highest note in human vocal registry with an open-throat effort without singing falsetto,? explains Tandon. Technically, the last octave is the highest possible note that can be humanly hit. And it?s usually achieved while singing falsetto when the voice begins to vibrate and turns shrill.

?Sonu was unaware of what he had done. Very few people in the world can go this far. The late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was an exception but even he sounded shrill. Sonu sustained the pitch admirably and the heaviness in his voice added a melancholic touch to the song,? exults Tandon.

Naman hai?has been penned by lyricist Sandeep Nath who also wrote verses for Tandon?s earlier soundtracks for movies like Page 3 and Corporate. ?Ravi wanted lines that weren?t overdramatic and he wanted a Hindi synonym of salaam that could be used across the three languages. Naman is another word for salute in Hindi,? says Tandon.

This soft rock number, complete with electric violin, guitar distortion and live drums, though in Hindi, will be used in all three versions of the film. The other songs will be dubbed in the respective languages.

Sonu Niigaam to soon release Michael Jackson tribute

         By indiaabroad, Thursday Jun 24 11:55 PM

Mumbai, June 24 (IANS) Bollywood playback singer Sonu Niigaam, who is a huge fan of late pop legend Michael Jackson, said he is working on a tribute for Jackson with his brother Jermaine Jackson.

'I am working on a song which will be my tribute to Michael Jackson. This will be the first tribute song to the singer with one of his family members. After the song is recorded, I will work on a music video and release it soon,' Niigaam told reporters here.

'I am very happy that Jermaine agreed to work on the song with me,' he added.

Jackson died June 25 last year. On his first death anniversary, 92.7 Big FM will play the songs of the King of pop all day and Niigaam will be on air dedicating his favourite Jackson songs.

'Micheal Jackson was a great artist and as an artist it is my duty to appreciate his commendable work. He changed a lot of things in the music industry and I don't think any singer around the world is left untouched by the kind of work he has done,' said Niigaam.

The singer, who has been the voice behind chartbuster songs like 'Kabhi alvida na kehna', 'Saathiya', 'Kal ho naa ho', 'Dil chahta hai' and 'Sandese aate hain' among others also revealed that he was in Los Angeles last year when the news of Jackson's demise broke.

'I was just two miles away from Michael Jackson's house where he died. When we got to know the news. I, my wife and my son, we went to his house in the evening and lit a candle there. So many people were standing there,' he revealed.

On the professional front, Niigaam informed that he is currently working on an album on world music.

'I'm not singing too many film songs nowadays because I am not getting the kind of songs I want and I am not willing to do mediocre work. I am working on a world music album currently because I want to focus and encourage non-film music as well,' he said.

Sonu Niigaam, Bickram Ghosh team up

         Reagan Gavin Rasquinha, TNN, Jun 7, 2010, 12.00am IST

One of the great things about music, what infuses life into sounds and gives birth to endless possibilities, is the whole aspect of collaboration. And here is the latest. Veecon has launched a mega project with two big names from the world of music: A singer who needs no introduction, Sonu Niigaam and percussionist Bickram Ghosh, to create a world music project which boasts of some of the biggest international names as guest artists. And theirs will be a symbiotic relationship, freewheeling and embodying all that is positive and should make a musical prioject stand out. While Sonu Niigaam is composing melodies, Bickram Ghosh will weave in world music sounds and rhythms to create their own aural tapestry.

Bickram, how did this collaboration come about?

I met Sonubhai for the first time when I requested him to sing a song for an upcoming film Gumshuda, for which I scored the music. I had always admired his powerhouse talent and having met and interacted with him, I found him to be a lovely person as well. We found (sic) we had a connection. The interaction that followed resulted in our feeling that we could take our connection to the next level. We were both looking at breaking new ground and felt that being musicians from two diverse genres, we could bring something substantial to the table. With what we have already created, I think we are onto an amazing sound.

Sonu, what attracted you to this venture?

Bickram has been introduced to me by my longtime friend and colleague Manisha Dey and I found him to be a person who is not just a great artiste but also free from insecurities and negativity, an essential characteristic requirement for any one I?d collaborate with because I believe if the process is not fulfilling, the product is not worth it. Four years back, I was a musical wholeseller like most Indian musicians are, but due to the partial hiatus I took from playback singing, having stayed in America a lot lately, bonding with musicians there and having upgraded my music sensibilities manyfold, I realized that composing comes too naturally to me. I found this collaboration as an opportunity to create and sing music that is far more classy and deep than what we hear usually. I suggested Jackie Vanjari from India and Bickrambhai brought the famous American drummer Greg Ellis (Iron Man, Matrix, 300) on board. Its like magic and the process of recording is like a divine fusion of various perspectives of music.

So what kind of sound are you two creating Bickram?

The idea is to bring an eclectic mix of artists from across the globe who will help to create a premise of virtuosity and variety. We are also looking at achieving a comfortable mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. We want people to move with us into a musical zone where the brilliance of performance combines with the excitement of composition which is free from the dictat of film.

And Sonu, is your trip into world music a lasting one or one-off?

Just like interracial sex results in creating an altogether new race of mix breeds, so is the music today. Music lovers and musicians consciously thrive upon different sounds and wish to rediscover music, stretch its boundaries. So all music is world music today. I only thrive to be associated with good music.

Sonu and the Sugababes!

         ROSHNI K OLIVERA , TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 12.00am IST
The Sugababes are coming to Mumbai. This hot English female pop group from London will perform live at the IPL on April 25th. But there?s something else on their agenda, too ? they will be recording with Sonu Niigaam.

Sonu?s ready with three tracks that he has composed himself. He will record one of them with the Sugababes. ?The tracks are totally mainstream,? says Sonu. Talking about the collaboration, he says, ?Their music is really good. I did a lot of study on their kind of music and with my programming team, we?ve come up with three tracks.?

The Guinness Book of World Records has named the Sugababes as the most successful female act of the 21st century, thanks to seven UK No. 1 singles and 18 UK Top 10 hits. Sonu is naturally excited about this collaboration and he?s also enjoying his new role as a singer-cum-composer. ?Until recently, I was just a singer, but now I?m really enjoying making music along with singing. I have always been interested in music, gadgets, software and now it?s coming to my help,? he says.

And since he?s going global, was there any special preparation? ?I did a lot of research on the contemporary music scenario. I spent time upgrading my sound sense and I feel now I?m able to get the kind of sound which is acceptable worldover,? he says. Music apart, will the video with the Sugababes be quite a bold one? ?It?s going to be very interesting for me and the Sugababes,? smiles Sonu.

A book changed Sonu Niigaam's life

          Nilanjana Nag , Mar 8, 2010, 12.00am IST
Leafing through the pages of a book, Sonu Niigaam looks up and says, ?This is what changed my life forever.? Authored by Richard Carlson, the title reads: Don?t Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it?s all small stuff.

Sonu recounts the eve of his 30th birthday, which he celebrated at the Miami airport, ?I decided to gift myself something. I went to a bookshop and approached the lady at the paying counter with three books that I?d chosen. ?Nice choice,? she said, ?but you?ve got to try this one?, and handed me this book by Carlson. ?I?m not getting an extra cut on this one. It?s truly brilliant!? she said. The three-and-a-half hour-long flight that followed reaffirmed all that I had known but had hesitated to believe. While reading this book, whenever I?d pause with a question, the answer would be right there in the following pages.?

Aage se right

Sonu admits that as a kid, he would often observe others behave a certain way and would wonder why he acted differently. He says, ?These questions remained unanswered and childhood just passed me by. Born in a typical lower middle class family, we started keeping domestic help at home only 1993 onwards. I grew up saying thank you to anyone who would take my food plate away or offer to iron my clothes. From washing my own undergarments to picking up the utensils I ate in, I had always led my life a certain away. Some of my friends found it funny and I started questioning my habits, until decades later, I chanced upon this book. It didn?t teach me how to treat my help as equals; it taught me to trust my own opinions. In one chapter, the author talks of sweeping the streets one fine morning, just to see what it felt like. This book redefined my naive definition of ?being cool?.?

As good as it gets

As for added advantages, the book seems to have worked wonders on Sonu?s temper too. He says, ?While trying to become a singer, I encountered some of the worst people who tried to bully me, pull me down by calling me a ?baccha? in the industry, and the result was extreme anger and frustration. A chapter in this book told me how to picture things differently. The trick is to look at the person who you?re angry with as though he/she were an infant. When you picture this, you realise how he too must have gone crying to his mother on being bullied by someone in school. The anger vanishes instantly. You?re automatically ?above? him and that is an immense source of confidence.? Sonu claims to have become a calmer person now. Earlier, things would affect him easily and would make him temperamental. He says, ?Now, I?ve actually started driving my car not to reach from point A to point B but to enjoy the ride itself, despite the Mumbai traffic. Think about it. If you are not in a hurry, why treat every drive of your life as an ordeal??

I'm not supposed to die just a singer: Sonu Niigaam

         10 Feb, 2010 11:26 am ISTlTNN
Where have you been all these months?

I have been in Los Angeles. For a long time now I have been seeking silence. I have wanted to move to a place that was quieter, perhaps a farmhouse. At that time, I didn?t understand that peace of mind ought not to be sought from outside. You don?t need the silence to feel silence.

So, if silence is to come from within, why LA?

I have known for the longest time that music is only a by product in my life, it?s not my whole life. I?m not supposed to die just a singer. My aim in life is not to just sing 25,000 songs. There?s much more to me. This is the direction my thoughts had taken, when something happened and Chaka Khan came into my life. Chaka is a legend, the American singer who has sung I?m every woman. She is the person responsible for my new life.


Chaka heard my album in which I had sung some classical and jazz stuff, she really fell in love with me and wanted me to come to America to make music together. Last year I went there and she introduced me to the people who have made music for Janet Jackson including the song Scream for Michael and Janet Jackson together.
I didn?t do too much with Chaka and Judi Jam and Terry Louis, but I created my own space there. I also realised that I wasn?t too keen to do anything in Mumbai. I applied for my green card and in fact for the first two months I didn?t even let my wife come there, I just wanted to be alone. I lived in a small room in my friend?s huge house with not even a TV. I had nothing to do, I just had some books and my laptop and I would just sit and look at the walls. I?ve never done that in my life I?ve never sat doing nothing. In those two months self-realisation happened.

What did you discover about yourself?

I?m not me. This is not what I am. I don?t want people to call me mad but I died last year. I don?t exist because what I thought existed, never existed. I realised last year that I?m an eternal creature. We say that life is eternal, the soul is eternal, and God is eternal. Do you really understand the magnitude of this statement that I will never die and I will live for ever and there is no separate God. There is no superior God. I?m not an inferior creature. I?m just a limited vision because I?m trapped in this body. If you pinch me I get hurt, close my eyes, fifty per cent of it is gone, close my ears another forty per cent of me is gone, what am I left with, only ten per cent of taste and pinching. What kind of world does that create outside me and around me. I realised that everything is about perception and I heard the silence and the noise within. It?s a very contradictory thing. There is something happening inside which is silence but you can hear it and it?s only when you sit within or around yourself, that you realise that there is nothing.

This realisation couldn?t happen in Mumbai?

I just wanted some space within myself. When I am in Mumbai, I work all the time. People call up, and there are social obligations. When you go to a place where nobody knows you, you get that space. There is nice mix of nothingness and everythingness.

So what happens to work, to singing songs, your primary job?

I work over the internet. I did at least forty five songs over there during this period. The tracks were sent to me, I would book a studio and then over skype for video conferencing, with me and my mixers on laptops I would record the songs. I recorded Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and English songs.

You got your green card within a few months...

Yes, in two and a half months. Even my lawyer was surprised. There was no interview, nothing. Evidently the authorities just googled me, saw my credibility, noted that I don?t have litigations against me and no controversies either. And so, on Diwali I got the news that my green card had been approved.

What is the sort of work you will be pursuing in America?

Multi genre work, actually. There is this very famous rapper called Mr. Vegas, who heard of me and sent me a song. He said can you add something to it. Normally these guys take a lot of money. It?s a reverse thing. You have to pay them money, if you want to collaborate with a big artiste. This guy googled me, saw my stuff and asked me what I could do with the track. I reprogrammed the song and that song is creating havoc everywhere in UK and USA.

If you have achieved a oneness with yourself why do you keep changing the spelling of your name. It implies that other factors matter. I did that nine years ago. If I had an option, I wouldn?t do that today but nine years ago, I was not where I am today and that?s when I changed the name, so now whether I rechange it or I keep it, doesn?t make a difference to me.

Your marriage has been the subject of many rumours and innuendos. What is the truth actually?

The truth is that marriage is never a happy story. You can never be happily married and I say this very openly. In the next 100 years there will be no marriages. There will be contracts, I?m sure and that?s better that way because the killer of a marriage is security. The moment the woman or the man feels secure ke ab to ye mere saath mein hai

oh she is going to be with me for her whole life, it?s like ok lets not make love to her now, next week, I?m tired today. You won?t do this to your girlfriend because you know she is going to walk away in the morning. The moment you start feeling secure, you start taking people for granted. It?s nobody?s fault. It?s just that the institution of marriage is now so cumbersome and so boring. I feel if you have mutual contracts, three years or four years contract, every day you will feel ki ek din kam ho gaya, one day less. The last six months will be the most romantic months. I understand this very clearly and I have no qualms talking about it because I am speaking the plain truth.

I haven?t seen one happy couple, really really happy couple. I?m not looking down on them. We all understand this but yes Madhurima and I have had our issues in the past but my son Nivaan is so beautiful, so awesome, I?m honored to be parenting a child as intelligent and as positive as that little boy. He?s also brought a lot of samajh into me and Madhu, and into our relationship. I know it?s impossible to live with a person like me who is always searching for something. Madhu would have probably expected that I would be like the normal husband, get up at 9 o?clock and come home in the evening. She sleeps alone the whole night while I go to bed at 6am. If I am at home, I am working on my music. Of course, I am an irritating husband. I can?t blame her but this is me. So she has her own problems with me, I understand, but we are trying to do a good samajhdhari ka relationship, trying to put things together nicely. I can?t guarantee the future but right now we are fine.

Niigaam to sing for 150th anniversary

          Jan 23, 2010 9:07 PM | By Santham Pillay
Popular indian playback singer Sonu Niigaam will perform in South Africa in March as part of the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in the country.

Niigaam's appearance will form part of a two-week programme that will include the annual Miss India Worldwide pageant, Africa Night and the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (Gopio) international conference.

The north Indian singer and game-show host kicks off his series of concerts in Johannesburg on March 21 before moving to Cape Town on March 22 and Durban on March 26.

He will be accompanied by a live band and a troupe of Mumbai dancers.

Arriving a day after Niigaam will be the 30 Miss India Worldwide contestants, who will compete for the title at Durban's International Convention Centre. The pageant programme will run from March 20 to 28.

The Gopio conference begins on March 28 and will run for three days.

Sonu Niigaam records two 'Joker' songs for free

          By Bollywood Hungama News Network, January 21, 2010 - 18:52 IST
Sonu Niigaam recently recorded two songs free for Krishan Chaudhery & Sunil Thadani's upcoming film Joker. The film, to be directed by debutant Vikram Tuli, deals with a father-son relationship. When Sonu heard the script of the film he got very emotional and returned the cheque due for his song recordings.

The recording took place at Spectral Harmony Studio in Andheri on January 17, 2010 and the two songs he recorded were 'Shukriya' and 'Loorie'.

Joker will see Rajeev Khandelwal and Prachi Desai in lead roles. The film goes on floor in February and it will be Bollywood's first film to be shot start to finish in New Zealand.

Sonu Niigaam: Rahman and I share an ehsaas

          Jan 14, 2010 - 06:20 PM
          (Excerpts from the interview)
I die each time I perform on stage

Yet nothing can match the ?ecstasy? of performing live for Sonu. ?The idea is to shock people. I keep innovating. Recently, I paid a tribute to Michael Jackson performing the Billie Jean number and even did the moonwalk,? he recalls. ?For the period of two to three hours that I am on stage, I die. I cease to exist. I don?t itch, I don?t feel hungry and I don?t feel the urge to go to the loo either. The only thing I need is water because my throat goes dry. My wife, my child, my parents, my career cease to exist then. It?s just a feeling of being suspended. Being on stage gives me an orgasmic high.? And then he adds esoterically, ?Orgasm is death after all.?

The rollercoaster can kill you

Sonu explains why he has deliberately weaned away from playback singing. ?I don?t want to depend on anything to the extent that when you don?t have it you are devastated. The same happens in love. I learnt the lesson that one should not love anyone so much that he or she breaks you down. It?s the same with your career. You get so involved with it, you forget that there?s a life beyond. If there is a high, the downslide is certain too. The rollercoaster can kill you. So I changed my path and withdrew into a shell,? he explains. Pausing, he adds,?I had problems in my personal life too. It?s then that I started living alone for a while. I went to the Himalayas for a week and enjoyed the isolation. I told myself, ?One fine day you will find that your singing has gone obsolete and girls are no longer falling over you and you have neither learnt anything nor seen life from any other perspective?.?

Rahman and I share a silence, an ehsaas

So Sonu deliberately ?hiked? his price to distance himself. ?Instead of doing 50 songs a month I decided to do just two songs. The rest of the time I wanted to spend in silence and in seeking who I am,? he says adding, ?Music composers today have understood that money lies in events. So they have either started singing songs themselves or giving songs to those who will perform in their shows. The entire game has changed. Composers come to me only for special songs, barring a few like Sajid-Wajid, Shantanu Moitra and A R Rahman with whom I have worked consistently.? Interestingly, Sonu and Rahman, both dubbed as soul-searchers, are not really comrades in conversation. ?We share a silence of sorts. He knows that I know what he knows. He is quite like me ? detached from things. We meet each other cordially, we do the song and I leave. We don?t connect via emails or talk on the phone. I think it?s good this way. Rahman and I just share an ehsaas (feeling),? Sonu decodes the equation.

(For the full interview by Farhana Farook, pick up the Filmfare issue dated January 20, 2010)

Sonu Nigaam composes for 26/11

          IANS 26 November 2009, 10:20am IST
Paying tribute to Mumbai, a year after the 26/11 terror attack, singer Sonu Nigaam Wednesday unveiled a song he has composed in memory of the victims and heroes.

The song "Ungli uthe to, koi bare to, kardegi bagawat Mumbai" was unveiled exclusively at the Big FM office Wednesday. Written by Subbu, the song has been sung by 15 singers.

"I composed this anthem because I thought if this has come my way, there must be some good reason behind it," Sonu said. Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kunal Ganjawala, Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod and Hariharan among others have sung the song. Even Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice to the opening lines, before the song.

Apart from Bachchan, the song also features 14 prominent singers, including Sonu. They include the likes of Hariharan, Shaan, Kailash Kher, Jagjit Singh, Suresh Wadkar, Kunal Ganjawala, Talat Aziz, Roop Kumar Rathod, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, Alka Yagnik, Richa Sharma and Mahalaxmi Iyer.

"We all think it's a lovely concept and wanted to do our bit for the cause," said Sonu. "The lyrics of the song have been written by Subuu and having Amitabh Bachchan to sing for it was an honour. His coming on board has made the initiative's aim a fruitful one."

Sonu Nigaam composes song as tribute to Mumbai

Prithwish Ganguly / DNA           Wednesday, November 4, 2009 2:52 IST
Mumbai: Paying tribute to Mumbai, a year after the 26/11 terror attack, singer Sonu Nigaam on Wednesday unveiled a song he has composed in memory of the victims and heroes. The song "Ungli uthe to, koi bare to, kardegi bagawat Mumbai" was unveiled exclusively at the Big FM office on Wednesday. Written by Subbu, the song has been sung by 15 singers. "I composed this anthem because I thought if this has come my way, there must be some good reason behind it," Sonu said. Shankar Mahadevan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kunal Ganjawala, Kailash Kher, Roop Kumar Rathod and Hariharan among others have sung the song. Even Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice to the opening lines, before the song. (IANS)

Larry King live in India!?

MEENA IYER , TNN           24 November 2009, 12:00am IST
It would seem so given the rumour that Sonu is said to be currently scouting for an apartment in New York. The singer, however, doesn?t confirm this. Yes, he admits that he?s spent almost six months this year between New York and Los Angeles working on various music concerts and shows. And, on a recent visit, he was even invited to the home of America?s sought-after talk show host ? Larry King..

Asked how he managed this coup, Sonu says, ?I got to know Larry through his wife Shawn King, who is a brilliant country music singer. Music producer Damon Elliot introduced me to Shawn. And she invited me over to her home where I had my own personal audience with the revered Larry King.? Excited by that meeting, Sonu is planning to bring Larry down to India now and reveals, ?He definitely wants to come... but we have to see how we can steal him away from his daily television commitment.?

Sonu found Larry charismatic and with a crazy sense of humour. After spending hours in the television anchor?s home, the Bollywood singer says, ?I was fascinated by the work that the Larry King Cardiac Foundation is doing. It was started by Larry after he suffered from a heart attack. The Kings raise funds to cover millions of Americans who don?t have medical insurance to pay heart treatment. I?m invited to attend one of the foundation?s functions.?

Larry King ropes in Sonu Niigaam for charity

Prithwish Ganguly / DNA           Monday, November 23, 2009 23:59 IST
Mumbai: Legendary American talk show host Larry King has teamed up with songster Sonu Niigaam for his Larry King Cardiac Foundation that provides free check-ups, medical help and surgeries to underprivileged Americans suffering from heart problems.

Sonu, who is friends with Larry's current spouse Shawn Southwick (having interacted with her many times during his overseas music projects), says it was she who introduced him to Larry."I've know Shawn for a long time now and she made me meet Larry. He is very committed to the cause, having suffered a heart attack himself (it was a heart attack that Larry started the foundation). He thought having me on board would help his foundation and I'm honoured he thought so," Sonu told DNA.

Sonu adds,"I strongly felt I should do something for people even in America. I believe in Oneness, and for me, Indians and Americans are the same. If I can do philanthropic work in India, why can't I do it in America? I had a great dinner meeting with Larry. He has a different sense of humour and is very curious about our country."

Big B lends his voice to city anthem

Prithwish Ganguly / DNA           Wednesday, November 4, 2009 2:52 IST
Mumbai: As Mumbai prepares to look back at the tragedy that unfolded a year ago, on 26/11, the city police -- which lost some of its bravest men on that fateful day -- approached singer Sonu Niigaam to compose an anthem that salutes the spirit of the city.

Among those who will be lending their voice to this endeavour is actor Amitabh Bachchan."A tribute yes, but more on the spirit of Mumbai, its resilience and its character of being able to withstand all storms. You may try to damage us, but you will never succeed in bending or breaking us," Bachchan told DNA.

Sonu added: "The Mumbai police approached me to compose a soulful song that will be the anthem for Mumbai. I don't think any city in India has an anthem. This is the first time a particular city will have its own song." The song also pays homage to the hundreds of people who lost their lives in the carnage.

Apart from Bachchan, the song also features 14 prominent singers, including Sonu. They include the likes of Hariharan, Shaan, Kailash Kher, Jagjit Singh, Suresh Wadkar, Kunal Ganjawala, Talat Aziz, Roop Kumar Rathod, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, Alka Yagnik, Richa Sharma and Mahalaxmi Iyer.

"We all think it's a lovely concept and wanted to do our bit for the cause," said Sonu. "The lyrics of the song have been written by Subuu and having Amitabh Bachchan to sing for it was an honour. His coming on board has made the initiative's aim a fruitful one."

Golden notes

After years of struggle, the mellifluous Sonu Niigaam is glad that he can now make his choices
He really is a busy man. There he was posing for a photograph with the security guard, two minutes later he was on the stairs beaming a ?Hello, how are you?? to a stranger gentleman who looked pleasantly surprised to bump into a celebrity. Next minute he smiled generously at the dithering jack of a waiter who didn?t know which was the right moment to take coffee to the man who gave him the ?haage summane? hangover. Apart from hectic singing schedules, concerts, interviews and tours if there is someone, at every step, dying to soak in your grace, busy is perhaps an understatement. If you are willing to oblige, it only complicates matters. Sonu Niigaam, the inspired singer, who has his hands really full travelling across continents, wears his celebrity status lightly. The charming and affable musician holds his hands out to everyone ? not just literally.

It?s not unidirectional: Sonu Niigaam hasn?t just stolen the true-blue Kannadiga?s heart with his romantic, starry-eyed numbers. He has lost his heart to Kannada as well. ?Ever since I sang Anisutide?haage summane has become a part of my lingo. I have infected all my friends also with it,? he laughs. ?I sing so many Kannada songs these days, that in spirit I have become a Kannadiga. In fact, real good music gets made here,? he acknowledges, as he hums the beautiful ?Neene Bari Neene? gently waltzing to it. ?I think we should not listen to people who are not serious about the music they make. It is nothing less than cheating!? Of course you know he is referring to the entire brigade of one-song wonders who have stormed in the recent years.

In Bangalore for a concert organised by Live Tree Entertainment and later at a function which proclaimed him brand ambassador for BIG 92.7 FM, Sonu Niigaam was a picture of grace. ?If you have to be a good musician, you have to be a good human being as well. Otherwise, your nastiness will tear through your work,? said Sonu, expunging the dichotomy between an individual and his art. ?Your art is what you are,? he says emphatically.

For someone who seems extremely fun-loving and jovial, Sonu Niigaam is amazingly profound in his stances. As far as his work is concerned, there is no room for any compromise. ?Things can be simplified, but I don?t believe in such an approach. I raise the bar for myself, make things difficult and work very hard to achieve it,? he tells you in great detail about how he personally writes down the Kannada songs he sings, writes down the meaning of every word, checks if his emotional understanding is right and only then proceeds towards recording. ?With all that sometimes my pronunciation is wrong?,? he smiles.

Even in these times of enormous belligerence, with people busy edging out one another, Sonu believes in going slow. ?I?m not an aggressive swimmer, I flow.? After the two decades of struggle, Sonu is now spiritually tanked up. ?I have realised that one has to pause and look inwards. I have had enough of looking outside of me,? says the man, who worries about retaining his emotional and spiritual poise. ?It?s okay to be physically imbalanced, like I?m now after travelling continuously,? he adds jokingly.

Mohammed Rafi was an imposing influence on Sonu. ?That?s true. But now I?m mature enough to just take his ideology, the narrative is mine,? he insists.

I love Kannada more than Hindi

By: Madhusudan Maney Date: 2009-10-05 Place: Bangalore

Meet actor, talent show judge and play back singer Sonu Niigaam, who will be in town to wow Bangalore fans with his kannada renditions

Bollywood playback singer Sonu Niigaam loves singing Kannada songs compared to Hindi ones. He will be performing live once again for the Bangalore crowd after a gap of two years on October 11 at Palace Grounds.
Here's what Sonu had to say when MiD DAY asked him about his life, his love for Kannada music and his acting career.

What's special about your attachment to Kannada films? Any new albums or movies in the pipeline?
I enjoy singing in Kannada a lot more than in Hindi. They make such good music, it satisfies my soul. I definitely want to cut more private albums in music be it in Hindi, English or Kannada, merely because I believe private albums give you an outlet to express your kind of music.

There are criticisms from some quarters about 'outsiders' singing Kannada songs. They say that knowing the language is also important for singing. What is your stand?
How does knowing the language help if you don't know how to express yourself with it? I drown myself in a song when I sing it. I kill myself. I don't know if I am singing Hindi, Tamil, English, Kannada or Marathi. I enact and express with every line I sing. If I don't know the language, there are people around me to explain what the words mean. I know nothing else at that time. I only know I am doing music. And that God is showing through my voice.

Recently you'd alleged that music directors keep good tunes for themselves. Is this true? Is that a problem for many singers too?
Even a little child will tell you that most of the songs today, the good ones I mean, are sung by the composers themselves.

They have all the right to do the best for themselves. Concerts are the main source of income and they know that unless they don't sing their own songs, they won't get concerts.
As much as they have the right to do that, I have the right to prevent damage to my repute by singing trash. So I try my best to be selective in whatever I get. I don't claim that I am infallible, but I am sure people who understand music, appreciate my endeavour and sincerity.

How difficult was it for you to reach the number one slot? Any particular memory that you cherish? May be during one of your shows or any particular performance that you can't seem to forget?
When I was struggling, taking long walks instead of going by bus or rickshaw to save money, lonely nights without my family, indifferent and rude secretaries of the music directors, doing household chores from cleaning to washing to cooking all by myself...most of all, the uncertainty of the future, is what I remember of the past.
It feels good though. Everything that I've got and am getting now, all this feels like an unending bonus coming my way.

Whom do you consider as your Godfather, if there is any?
God is my father.

You've become an icon of sorts for talent hunt. What do you feel about the innumerable talent hunt shows on channels these days?
There is competition now and I like it that way. I would get too complacent otherwise. I remember as a kid, since I was the topper of my school, I would work extra hard right before my exams. Urgency and competition brings out the best in me. Complacence bores me.

You are now concentrating on western symphonies. Any particular reason for this interest?
I don't plan anything. I just go with the flow. I feel we are all in a journey that starts and ends at the same point, thus there is no point getting too exasperated for Rafi Resurrected. I collaborated with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and then something else lead to my setting second base in Los Angeles, all without any efforts of mine. I'll continue doing my best and let life take its own course.

You will be performing in Bangalore after two years. What are your expectations?
Yes, I am performing after a gap of two years in Bangalore and I have huge expectations.

Can you tell us your experience in Bangalore the last time you performed here?
It was good and it is great to perform in front of the Bangalore crowd.

Do you have any plans of acting?
Yes, I'm still getting offers after my five-year sabbatical. Most of them have more faith in me than I have in myself. They all know I was the first to bell the cat without knowing the marketing tools required to pull off a hit. The others merely learnt from my experience.
All this goes on to prove that when you are good, your talent comes to stand by you, even if the box office doesn't. If I find a project worthy of my sincerity and hard work, I'll take it up. If not, I am in no need.

What:Sonu Niigaam Live

When:October 11

Where: Palace Grounds

Tickets:Rs 550, 1,100 and 2,200

Log On

I don't want to be at anyone's mercy

Suparna Thombare / DNA Tuesday, September 22, 2009 23:59 IST
Mumbai: For the last six months Sonu Niigaam has been spending a lot of time in the US. He wanted to get away from Mumbai and also spend time with his friends there. Now, post that break, he has returned to Mumbai to fulfill his commitment as the brand ambassador of a radio channel. It's one the few assignments he has taken up in recent times. Apart from this, he has rejected most songs or shows offered to him. He has even turned down friend Gajendra Singh for a show.

Sonu says, "I'm not in that mental space right now where I want to take up something and be obligated to it. I want to do my own thing at the moment. There has to be something really interesting for me to make a commitment. I might feel differently a year later though."

He admits one of the main reasons for this was that not many good songs were coming his way. "Most music composers are singing for themselves now. They take the best songs in an album. That makes sense commercially because then they can do concerts as well," says Sonu, adding, "I don't want to be at the mercy of anyone. I'd rather do my own thing and work with composers who respect me."

Things changed for him drastically after a bomb blast at his show in Karachi in 2004.
"I asked myself 'was this the only purpose of my life?' I don't want to spend my life counting the number of songs I have done. So I decided to take a breather and travel. First, I set off for the Himalayas and then went to LA where I've been spending time with many of my friends who live there," he says.

From ghazals to bhangra, devotional to film songs and albums, Sonu has done them all. He says, "I have been working really hard since I was very young. Not only because I was ambitious but also because I kept getting a lot of work. Now, I want to be respected for my work."

I Don't Want to Sing 'Crap' in Bollywood: Sonu Niigaam

Ritika Kumar/New Delhi | Sep 26, 2009
After a host of foreign concerts and producing his independent music, versatile singer, Sonu Niigaam is back on the Bollywood front, but this time he means business and that is not to sing "crap".

The 36-year-old singer whose 'Chiggy Wiggy' with Australian pop star Kylie Minogue and 'Don't Say Alvida' from Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer Main Aur Mrs Khanna have turned out to be the new chartbusters, said that he consciously cut his Bollywood assignments because he did not want to be associated with low quality music.

"I did not want to work according to anybody's whims and fancies. After 17 years of my career, I think I can take this much liberty to associate myself just with quality music and say no to trash. I have worked hard to be where I am today so I better choose accordingly to protect my reputation," Sonu told PTI.

The singer, who is currently in the midst of a tour in Los Angeles, was in the city as the brand ambassador of Big 92.7 FM to change the music position of the radio station and launch the new "Chillax hits".

"My sensibilities of music matched with the station's. Item numbers come and go but now I want to sing some eternal songs which have a soothing effect on people....Give them moments of relaxation in this fast paced life. The station plans to do so too," Sonu said.

Last year, Sonu was almost absent from the film circuit and produced his independent music. He released an album 'Classically Mild', and then came out with a single Punjabi track called "Punjabi Please". He also released 'Rafi Resurrected', a 2-disc collection of legendary singer Mohammad Rafi songs with music by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

But when asked about his ardent fans who hear so less of him nowadays in Bollywood, the singer said, "This conscious decision is particularly for my fans. I don't want to disappoint them by singing anything and everything," the singer said.

"Personally I don't think I missed on some good music while I was away. I still here same kind of songs barring a few. The last song which I liked was 'Jab Se tere Naina Mere Naino Se' sung by Shaan (Saawariya)," he added.

When asked about his opinion about the current state of music in Bollywood, the singer pointed out towards the new trend of music composers turning into singers (read Shankar Mahadevan, Himesh Reshammiya, Vishal and Shekhar) which is depriving the audience with some great voices.

"Today everything has become a show-business. The songs are being created so that they can later be sung at music concerts. Either composers are singing themselves or they are promoting singers who could sing for them for free at concerts. And at the end of all this, it is the listeners who are suffering," the singer explained.

Sonu also recalled the incident when filmmaker Karan Johar waited for the singer for a more than a month to sing Kal Ho Na Hos title track.

"Karan (Johar) could have let Shankar (Mahadevan) sing the song but he put his foot down and wanted just me for it. I will always owe it to Karan for that eternal song," Sonu said.

The singer who dabbled with acting as well for some time but delivered box office disasters like Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani', Kaash Aap Hamare Hote and Love in Nepal in 2004-2005 also hinted at a possible comeback on the big screen.

"I realised what mistakes I did in the past so I am careful this time. I have been offered some scripts and in the process of reading them," Sonu said without divulging any further details.

After giving some eternal hits like 'Sandese Aaate Hai', 'Saathiya', 'Tanhayee', at this point of career when he has drastically cut down on his Bollywood assignments, the word competition seems to be non-existent for the singer.

"Competition for me means to keep myself upgraded and do better than before. To forget my previous achievements as I think they are of no consequence now. Set newer targets. At the same time there are lot of good singers like Shaan who are great competition. They inspire me to work better than the best," Sonu said.

Big FM earmarks Rs 10 mn for new campaign with Sonu Niigaam

By: Anita Iyer 16 Sep 09 18:16 IST
MUMBAI: Big FM, which has roped in popular singer Sonu Nigaam as brand ambassador for its fresh music positioning, plans to spend Rs 10 million for promoting it.

Confirming the promotioal plans, Big FM Senior Vice President ? Marketing Anand Chakravarthy says, "Big FM would be spending around Rs. 10 million on the first phase of a multi media campaign that includes radio, outdoor, online, mobile and print which will soon be launched. The campaign featuring Niigaam will kick off in 10 days. A TVC, part of the campaign, will be rolled in the second phase."

The association of the station with Niigaam comes just as the station launches its new music positioning - Chillax Hits - in Mumbai and Delhi, which promises listeners a distinct music format which will de-stress and help them relax, whenever they tune into the station. Big FM too is going the maximum songs way - it plans to play seven songs in back to back format, with an intention of playing 12 to 13 songs per hour. Big FM, that will soon complete three years of its existence, has also undertaken in house research to gauge music preferences of listeners in smaller towns as well. Delhi and Mumbai are the metros that kick off the Chillax experience though.

Other changes too are in the offing at the Mumbai station, although officials are loath to comment. RJ Meera has already joined the station, shifting from Radio Mirchi, and is likely to host the morning Big Chai show with Shrikant, earlier co hosted by Archana Jani.

Announcing the alliance with Niigaam in Mumbai on Wednesday, Big FM COO Tarun Katial said, ?BIG 92.7 FM is introducing a new exciting music format - Chillax Hits that promises the listener an aural treat. Our new music positioning represents superlative music that is ?easy? to listen to, giving listeners a truly de-stressing experience, qualities which are best epitomised by Sonu Niigaam. Our association with him goes back a long way, right since the inception of BIG 92.7 FM and he was the most natural choice for our brand ambassador. Sonu has offered the country some of the best Chillax Hits and has earned the respect and love of not just people in India, but from Indian?s across the world. We are delighted to have him as our brand ambassador.?

The new format has been decided post detailed research and qualitative.

Sonu?s ready for Jackson tribute

TNN 11 September 2009, 12:00am IST
Jermaine Jackson?s tribute to his late brother and American pop legend Michael Jackson is being held on September 26, at the Schonbrunn Palace,Vienna.

Other artistes who will participate in the event are R&B singer Akon, Bollywood playback artiste Sonu Niigaam, soul vocalist Natalie Cole and the boy band US5.

An excited Sonu says, ?It must be a karmic connection with the Jacksons. Honestly, till I performed in Los Angeles last month, I hadn?t met any of Michael?s family. The universe has a way of bringing people together. Like Mohammed Rafi saab, I?ve been a huge admirer of Michael Jackson as well. But I still can?t believe that I have an immediate connection with his family. At the concert, Jermaine and I hit it off, and before I knew he had agreed to perform with me to a song I had composed and written. I?m leaving in a couple of days to fly to Vienna to participate in the MJ Tribute.?

Sonu Niigaam initiates MJ tribute on Facebook
By: Anita Iyer 24 Aug 09 18:04 IST

MUMBAI: Social networking sites seem to be the latest buzzword with musicians collaborating internationally over the web. Indian musicians are increasingly using networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut to connect with musicians round the globe.

MUMBAI: Social networking sites seem to be the latest buzzword with musicians collaborating internationally over the web. Indian musicians are increasingly using networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut to connect with musicians round the globe.

Singer Sonu Niigaam has been gathering musicians and music lovers to create a tribute for the King of Pop- Michael Jackson on his Facebook fan page. The process which started after the tragic death of MJ will culminate this 29th August with a tribute song on Jackson?s birthday.Sonu Niigaam will be unveiling the song at itunes and other forums on 29th August.

Under the guidance of Sonu Niigaam, the song has been composed by musical duo Saikat-Shankar who have been collaborating online for past four years. Says Saikat Roy, ?Sonu Niigaam being a follower of MJ?s music felt very emotional after his death and threw up an idea of coming up with a tribute song for him.?

Kick started by Sonu, the idea snowballed with many musicians and singers coming forward to lend their talent for the track. ?Music lovers on Sonu Niigaam?s fanpage wrote poems, lyrics and it was further consolidated and made into a full fledged song approved by Sonu.?

Saikat and Shankar then created a scratch of the song and uploaded on Sonu Niigaam?s fan page for approval and the process of selecting singers began. ?The potential of social networking sites was explored to the fullest in the making of tribute for MJ. Facebook as a forum has been explored by top musician like Sonu Niigaam to reachout the song to rest of the world.?

Singers from different parts of the world send their demos recorded in different studios which were further uploaded on FB for approaval. Revealing more about the music, Roy adds, ?The track will have a world music touch to it with some Indian elements rendered by Sonu Niigaam himself. The tribute song has singers across countries from Canada, Bombay, London, UK, US.?

The songs were mixed and mastered by sound engineer Pramod Chandorkar who has worked on Sonu Niigaam?s earlier album- ?Classically Mild? and is working on his upcoming album with Saregama. The album, Time Travel ? Journey 1 to be launched in September has Niigaam singing popular numbers of Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

Singer Sonu Niigaam has been gathering musicians and music lovers to create a tribute for the King of Pop- Michael Jackson on his Facebook fan page. The process which started after the tragic death of MJ will culminate this 29th August with a tribute song on Jackson?s birthday.Sonu Niigaam will be unveiling the song at itunes and other forums on 29th August.

Under the guidance of Sonu Niigaam, the song has been composed by musical duo Saikat-Shankar who have been collaborating online for past four years. Says Saikat Roy, ?Sonu Niigaam being a follower of MJ?s music felt very emotional after his death and threw up an idea of coming up with a tribute song for him.?

Kick started by Sonu, the idea snowballed with many musicians and singers coming forward to lend their talent for the track. ?Music lovers on Sonu Niigaam?s fanpage wrote poems, lyrics and it was further consolidated and made into a full fledged song approved by Sonu.?

Saikat and Shankar then created a scratch of the song and uploaded on Sonu Niigaam?s fan page for approval and the process of selecting singers began. ?The potential of social networking sites was explored to the fullest in the making of tribute for MJ. Facebook as a forum has been explored by top musician like Sonu Niigaam to reachout the song to rest of the world.?

Singers from different parts of the world send their demos recorded in different studios which were further uploaded on FB for approaval. Revealing more about the music, Roy adds, ?The track will have a world music touch to it with some Indian elements rendered by Sonu Niigaam himself. The tribute song has singers across countries from Canada, Bombay, London, UK, US.?

The songs were mixed and mastered by sound engineer Pramod Chandorkar who has worked on Sonu Niigaam?s earlier album- ?Classically Mild? and is working on his upcoming album with Saregama. The album, Time Travel ? Journey 1 to be launched in September has Niigaam singing popular numbers of Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Jermaine Jackson joins Sonu Niigaam on Stage in LA
August 24 2009 18:00 PST

Sonu Niigaam fans that came to see and hear the star in concert on August 18th in Los Angeles were in for a surprise! Michael Jackson's brother, Jermaine Jackson, joined Sonu on stage to thank fans for all their love and support!

"I wanted to tell you, this song has been especially dedicated today to some very special people over here, "started Sonu. But before he could continue the dedication, screaming fans interrupted him with love declarations. The star who recently turned 36 responded: "I love you too, thank you."

"And a very, very big hand to the most momentous person sitting over here that deserves a very big round of applause, from the big legendary family of the Jacksons, Mr. Jermaine Jackson is sitting over here!"

The audience applauded as the late Michael Jackson's older brother stood up and greeted the fans. But then the event took a whole new turn as Sonu asked Jermaine to join him on stage!

"I want you to come up on the stage," said Sonu."I think people would want you to come up on the stage," he added as fans encouraged the star.

Jermaine Jackson finally joined Sonu Niigaam on stage to the tunes of "Billy Jean." The two artists hugged before Jermaine addressed the ecstatic fans.

"Hello everybody. I just wanted to say thank you for supporting my family, especially my brother. I have been a big fan of Asian and Indian music for many, many years. I just wanted to say thank you for all the love and support. I always say that it's because of you that the videos first started because I love the energy and the dancing in the music, thank you very much. Bye bye," Jermaine said smiling while taking Sonu's hand.

The two hugged again before Jermaine left the stage. What a night!
From Mohammed to Michael
TNN 25 August 2009, 12:00am IST

From Mohammed Rafi to Michael Jackson, Bollywood?s No 1 singer Sonu Nigaam performed them all at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, andsitting in the august audience was the late Jacko?s family.

The resonance of Rafi?s memory reverberated across the palatial ceiling when Sonu sang Ho Kismat Footi, Aaas Na Tooti. The crowd barely recovered from the reminiscence of Rafi, when another nostalgic moment followed. It was a thrilling one! Jackson?s most popular number Billy Jean ? performed by Sonu with the moonwalk. It was a Rafi-Jackson converging moment.

Music ranging seven decades from the 20s to the 90s saw a union. Sonu received a standing ovation from the riveted crowd for the ease with which he emulated Rafi and Jackson. The audience was then introduced to Jermaine, Jackson?s brother, who spoke of his ?love and inspiration from Asian music?. Also on stage was Christian Audigier, the creator of the one of the most popular clothes brands.

Said Sonu, ?It was quite a surreal experience to be moonwalking in front of Jermaine Jackson, Christian and Terry Lewis, all of whom have had such an integral relation with Michael. All I remember is everybody in Shrine Auditorium standing in ovation at something I did. What happened before that, is like a dazed out memory. I was too immersed in the act. It was a big surprise to later learn from Jermaine and his wife Haleema that he knew most of my songs. Christian, though, is a friend. He is a kind man considering his giant stature in the world of fashion and has offered all his muscle for a project that I am doing in the USA. Terry is like a big brother protecting me.? Indian rapper Hard Kaur, who also performed there got a chance of meeting Jermaine. ?Meeting him was a moment filled with mixed emotions. I was excited that Jermaine sat through the whole performance and came to meet me backstage and appreciated my work. At that time I could feel the loss of the great icon MJ even more as I met his brother,? said Hard Kaur, who bowled over Jermaine with her electrifying performance.
Sonu Niigaam Takes a Shot at American R&B
By PREETI CHANDAN August 20, 2009 06:10:00 PM

LOS ANGELES, Calif. ? Sonu Niigaam is taking the leap into American popular music. Bollywood?s versatile playback singer gave a glimpse of his ease in singing Western pop when he crooned Michael Jackson?s ?Billie Jean? at his Explosion 2009 concerts. Audiences gave him standing ovations.

Niigaam told India-West this week that he has recorded six English songs with American music-industry heavyweights in the three months he spent in Los Angeles prior to the 12-show U.S. tour that concluded last week.

Niigaam has composed and sung two songs with R&B/ funk chanteuse Chaka Khan produced by Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam of Flyte Tyme, the label behind hit albums of Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey; two songs with Emmy-winning arranger and composer Chris Boardman; one with songwriter-producer Jud Friedman, producer for Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand and Rod Stewart; and another with triple-Grammy nominee composer Steve Dorff.

The genres of the songs, he said, span pop, soul, R & B, and funk.

Niigaam has also collaborated with another well-known artist on an R&B Michael Jackson tribute number that he has composed.

Release dates of these songs has not been determined yet. However, Niigaam said, ?I am trying to understand the business here, explore and spread my wings.? He has made Los Angeles his second base after Mumbai.

Several American celebrities attended Niigaam?s concert in Los Angeles Aug. 16, including producer Lewis, Michael Jackson?s brother Jermaine, and fashion designer Christian Audigier. The Los Angeles show was promoted by Super Entertainment Inc., which has brought several star-studded concerts to the region for two decades.

Niigaam?s entry into mainstream American music could be a groundbreaking achievement, making him perhaps the first Indian artist to sing strictly in American music genres. Asha Bhonsle has collaborated with western musicians but, even on those tracks, she sang mostly in Hindi.

A meeting in 2007 with singer Khan in Los Angeles launched Niigaam?s foray into American music. ?When Chaka heard my album ?Classically Mild,? she started crying,? Niigaam recalled. The two met again in Mumbai earlier this year when Khan was in the city for a show. She offered to introduce Niigaam to her producers, Lewis and Jam.

Niigaam said his range and pitch-perfect vocals, especially in the ?soona soona? number from ?Classically Mild? that combines jazz, funk and Indian classical, amazed music producers. Once he recorded songs with Khan, word spread in the Los Angeles music circles bringing other offers, he said.

?Lately? and ?Without My Heart,? songs he recently recorded in England with international artists as part of the Global One project, a campaign to bridge cultural differences through music, also serve as his demos to pitch himself in the U.S. music industry.

Niigaam has initiated a Michael Jackson tribute forum on his Facebook page. In response, the Facebook community collectively wrote lyrics and sent in their composed songs. Niigaam chose the best one, he said, will add his vocals and release it on i-Tunes around Jackson?s birthday, Aug. 29.

Jackson?s brother, Jermaine, stepped onto the stage at Sonu Niigaam?s invitation during the Los Angeles show Aug. 16. Jackson thanked the audience for their support to his family following the death of his pop-star brother in June. ?I am a big fan of Indian music; I love the energy and the dancing,? added Germaine.

Niigaam, who is trained in classical Hindustani vocal music, said singing Western music comes easily to him but considers the ability a gift. ?It?s happening smoothly (because) God does it for me,? he said.

Studying different music genres is natural and mandatory for a singer?s growth, he said. Niigaam is keenly interested in American music and stays connected with it.

He called the experience of making music in America artistically gratifying because the separation of the music world from cinema allows a singer the freedom to sing, write and compose the music he believes in, he said.

Hindi film music, on the other hand, is restricting for a singer, he told India-West, because it is bound by story requirements and the director?s and composer?s vision. ?I believe in some of the Bollywood songs I have done. All of it is not necessarily the kind of music that I want to be identified with,? he added.

Niigaam showcased his fluency in a range of musical styles at the Los Angeles concert Aug. 16. He, playback singer Sunidhi Chauhan and rapper Hard Kaur presented an energy-packed, pulsating and hugely entertaining show.
Singer Sonu Niigaam teams up with US company
Posted On Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hindi film singer Sonu Niigaam has teamed up with a US-based company to bring the musician's music, video footage, clothing and merchandise with his pictures and logos to Americans of Indian and other South Asian origin. The collaboration between Cinsay, the media and software company, and Niigaam was formalized during the ongoing concert tour of the singer across several US cities. Facilitating the collaboration was Music is Nirvana, a content aggregator of South Asian music and movies in the US. The formal announcement with regard to the collaboration was made at a news conference attended among others by Niigaam, Cinsay Executive Director Morgan Lang and Nirvana CEO Nick Rajsakha.

Cinsay has embarked upon the task through its Web site and its enterprise software platform. ''The Internet is clearly the future of entertainment, and I am very excited to be collaborating and working with such a progressive team as Cinsay,'' Niigaam told. ''In addition to creating original content, which will help my fans see me in different situations than they are used to, Cinsay and I are working together to create a line of apparel and merchandise which reflects my passion for performing,'' he added. The singer expressed happiness about the partnership, said to be the first of its kind between the US and India. ''It is a great beginning. I hope this goes a long way in making Bollywood films and songs more popular in the land of Hollywood,'' he said. ''I am happy to be a part of this partnership.'' Matthew Papish, president and CEO of Cinsay, said in a statement that Bollywood entertainment and merchandise made a ''huge explosion'' with the recent success of 'Slumdog Millionaire' in the United States. Rajsakha expressed optimism that more leading Bollywood artists would enter such partnerships shortly. Niigaam launched his current concert tour, billed as Explosion 2009, with performances in Washington and Dallas. This weekend he will perform in Atlantic City and Los Angeles. Programs in Houston, Oakland and Denver and Orlando are also planned as part of the tour. Niigaam, who was born in Haryana, achieved a breakthrough in his career with a song in 'Bewafaa Sanam'. Apart from singing in a number of films and recording a number of albums, he acted in such movies as 'Jaani Dushman', 'Love In Nepal' and 'Kash Aap Hamare Hote'.
Exclusive: 'Sonu Niigaam doesn't look for challenges'

Published on Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 18:15

Busy with his Explosion 2009, the ongoing musical concerts across America, Sonu Niigaam takes time out for an exclusive chat with Buzz18 on his birthday on Thursday.

So, how does it feel to grow a year older - enriched, experienced, content?
All of the three?I have learnt to live in harmony with the universe.

Tell us more about the ongoing Explosion 2009. How has the response been?
It's been a strange surprise. We expect all our tours to do well. But when it is your 11th tour in a country in the last 15 years, it is an achievement in itself. People expect the world from you, and you can't let them down. I always believe, as long as I am true to myself, I'll be able to keep surprising them again and again. And that is how the response has been in the first two concerts of Explosion 2009. The new act of mine for this tour this time has been 'phenomenal'.

Any surprise element you have planned for the upcoming concerts?
Let it remain a surprise!! Or check Youtube for that matter. That's the latest discussion on it.

After so many years of practice and experience, has the definition of music changed for you?
Very profound question... Earlier I considered music as an artform. Now, I know it's actually an 'open door' to a rare state of consciousness, bestowed upon some rare blessed ones. Fortunately I am one of the blessed ones to have experienced it from my birth. No wonder "sur and taal" are Greek to the 99 per cent of the world and the remaining 1 per cent who understand it, have a completely different perception of the world as compared to the rest.

Sonu Niigaam loves challenges. So, what keeps you busy besides live shows and playbacks?
Sonu doesn't look for challenges. He only looks for newer opportunities to learn and experience. There is difference. Former is to prove a point to the world, which I consider inconsequential. The latter, to enrich myself? Otherwise, introspection, prayers to the One, workouts, music making, reading, playing with my 'genius' son, travelling etc keep me busy.

We still get to hear you giving playbacks in Bollywood. But why did you disappear from the Indipop scenario?
First we need to clarify the definition of Indipop. In India any private commercially viable album is termed as Indipop. Even a bhangra is called Indipop here. Last year I released Classically Mild, Rafi Resurrected and Maha Ganesha in a row. I also sung a ghazal with Talat Azizji in his album Caarvaan e Ghazal, all of which can be found in both India and abroad. The problem is, media is so caught up with films and gossip that music has taken a serious backseat. Unless you make controversies, you are not talked about. Fair enough, but there is a lot of great music happening everywhere besides film music. We shouldn't ignore that.

Any other album coming up after Classically Mild?
Yes, Time Travel in Hindi and Neene Bari Neene in Kannada.

What are the forthcoming films you have given playback for? Any favorites?
Can't remember besides 3 Idiots, Blue, Raavan and Accident at Antop Hill.

There were rumors about you planning to settle down in America. How far is it true?
I haven't really left India. I am just exploring the profession that has given me so much.... It's an awesome feeling.

Do you think there aren't many challenges left in Bollywood? Have you got bored with how things work in this industry?
Kind of both... Music needs to separate from Cinema in India to get its due. Our classical musicians and singers, ghazal maestros, Sufi and folk singers are waiting in the alley to get their dues.

Would you consider playing a judge once again for a reality show or would you prefer hosting a chat show on TV?
Some interesting concepts have come my way. I'll see if I'm tempted enough. Frankly, I've come to believe in the theory of 'less is more'.

You have already created ripples singing on stage with your son Nevaan. Would you like to see him as a singer? What if he wants to venture into any other field of art?
I want him to first know the secret of the world that I have come to know. Then he can decide whether it is worth it to become anything in the outside world!

What about acting? Would you like to do a film again?
People surely want me to do something sincere or else they wouldn't be still sending me scripts. Well, I personally think that it's time for at least one genuine and heartfelt project!

Last question? what would you wish for yourself on your birthday?
An uncorrupted, free, content, in-love and in-prayer soul!

Sonu Niigaam on The Evolution of Hindi Music Industry

July 01 2009 11:15 PST
Desi Hits! has recently had the opportunity to score another exclusive interview! This time we met with none other than singing sensation, Sonu Niigaam. Being a loyal supporter of Desi Hits!, Sonu Niigaam was kind enough to stop by and give us an exclusive interview for our readers. It was great to be able to spend time with the ever-humble recording artist, as he discussed with us the past, present, and future of the Indian film and music industry! Catch the rest and an exclusive video of the interview on the link below

Exclusive Interview With Sonu Niigaam
March 17 2009 20:30 PST

By: Anita Chatterjee

Sonu Niigaam is the man of the moment in the Hindi music industry today! Check out the exclusive interview with Sonu below.

AC: You have been in the Hindi Music industry since around 1991. I'm sure you have seen a lot of changes since then. How has it evolved?

Sonu : When I came to Mumbai from Delhi at age of 18 in 1991 there was no television channels or music companies to promote an album. So at that time, if you wanted to be in the industry, the best way to get into it was to pursue a career as a playback singer (singing for actors who would lip-sync the songs in Bollywood films). That was the aim of every singer.

The rest of the world was very different from how India worked back then. In other countries you could feature your own sound and get exposure through different music companies. You wouldn't have to depend on cinema. That's how India has been for more than 60 years. Now things have changed. Channels have given musicians more exposure. I hosted one of the biggest music reality shows in Asia, "Sa Re Gama," which really gave artists more exposure.

Now, you also see private as well as Bollywood albums in the market. I personally have done several private albums as well as Bollywood and Indie pop so things are changing. Also, a lot of avenues have opened up for singers such as songs for television, music videos, and an increase with music reality shows. In 1991 you had to be a really good singer to sing. Today, with all the technological advances it has become possible for people who cannot sing well to do it and that seems to happen a lot.

AC: Wouldn't you say that Bollywood films still dominate the music industry?

Sonu :Bollywood films still dominate but there is also a huge emphasis on events and television as well.

AC: Do you have any personal favorite Bollywood actors you like to sing for?

Sonu : I love to sing for Shahrukh and Salman but really I am a musician and I don't necessarily sing a song for the actor.

AC: What do you think of Bollywood movies embracing other genres of music like Hip-Hop and Rock?

Sonu :Well everyone is trying to embrace different kinds of music and they want to be more commercial. Indian film music has changed a lot in terms of style and arrangement. I think it is cool that genres like Hip-Hop are really showing up in the music now, just for some variety.

AC: What do you think about all the Collaborations like Snoop Dogg and RDB in Singh is Kinng?

Sonu : I am very happy that India is getting so much respect from other countries and collaborations are happening.

AC: Did you like the Pussycat Dolls "Jai Ho" Remix?

Sonu :I was one of the first to hear the Jai Ho remix. A.R. Rahman called me into the studio to listen to it and I loved it.

AC: Which artist from the west which you like to collaborate with?

Sonu :Well there are a lot of people I listen to and I think they are really good like John Legend, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Norah Jones. Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls is a good singer as well. I would love to do a song with the Black Eyed Peas and a lot of other rappers. I would love to work with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

AC: I hear you are working with A.R. Rahman and Kylie Minogue on the film, "Blue", can you tell me about it?

Sonu :I can say is that Kylie, me and A.R. Rahman worked on a track for the film and I sang for Akshay Kumar.

AC: So what's next for Sonu Niigaam?

Sonu : I have lived my life in a daze and I don't know how my fifteen years in the industry have passed. For the past two years, I have cracked down on the projects I work on and I am extremely cautious of the projects I pick. I am really trying to focus on quality now and not quantity. I don't want to exhaust myself. I am currently working on '3 Idiots', 'Ravan' and 'Blue' and I am working on some collaboration offers from the US. I will also be working on something with Jim Beanz from Timbaland's camp in Mumbai.

AC: Do you have a message you want to give to our readers?

Sonu :Yes, always do good deeds, do not ever behave mediocre in life. Remember that music is something very pure and we must respect and acknowledge good music in the world. There are people in the world that are blessed with good talent and they should use it. Lastly, I think your site is doing a great job by creating these collaborations between artists in India with ones in the US. I wish Desi Hits! the best.

UK based singer to collaborate with Sonu Niigaam,Timbaland and Jim Beanz!

Rapper and musician Jim Beanz, Florida-based boy band Rebel, Timbaland, SonuNiigaam and Amar's father, Mangal Singh will feature on Amar's new album,Show it Off, slated to release this May-June. It's going to be a "dancey,fun album with cheeky Hindi vocals", she promises.

Sonu Niigaam in an exclusive interview with Swati Chaturvedi on Kahiye Janab

Sonu Niigaam has been a part of Bollywood for fifteen years and music lovers have always wanted more from this elusive singer. Flitting in and out of the industry sporadically, he has always made his mark when he has sung, and has been missed when he has not. Talking in an exclusive interview with Swati Chaturvedi of on Kahiye Janab, the artist candidly expressed his strong opinion on a variety of subjects.

Swati :Why was Sonu not visible for so many years? Was he cross about something?

Sonu : I was not cross with anything or anyone. I had just been doing my work. When I came from Delhi to Mumbai in 1991, I went on with my work and did not know how time flew by. I did not know what I was doing back then. I remember recording six to twelve songs each day. Once I did thirty-five songs on a single day ? that is my record.

Swati : Thirty-five songs is a lot of singing! Weren't you out of breath?

Sonu :(Smiling) No, I happen to have a large lung capacity and I don't go out of breath easily. Well, in 2006 I travelled a lot. In 2007, I was in America. In 2008, I was back in Mumbai, working a little. Actually, now that I look back, I realise that I have lived my life only in these last three years.

Swati : You have said that the kind of music that was being made in a particular era makes us ashamed now. What was the musical era you were talking about?

Sonu : When I spoke about music making us feel ashamed, I wasn't talking about any particular time, or era. But there have been times when most of the songs that were dished out would make you cringe ? like songs that go on about 'lungi', 'choli', 'khatiya', 'chaddi', and what not! Why don't we make that kind of music now? It is because we got carried away then, with the urge to make some quick bucks. Today, the songs are more about news and less about music. We want to make waves, headlines, and not just be satisfied with making good music.

Swati : People create controversies to garner attention. We have hardly seen you in any such situation?

Sonu :I don't indulge in all that. If you want adjectives to define my inclinations, you better fill up the blanks yourself, I don't provide adjectives ? I provide music. What I believe is songs like 'Kal ho na ho', 'Jab se tere naina' and 'Tu hi meri shab hai' are pretty good pieces, but most of the other kinds are ringtone types. In fact, music companies demand that kind of music; they say, 'Sir, ringtones banao!' So 80% of the work is chalu type rather than aesthetically appealing.

Swati :What were the songs in particular that made you feel ashamed to hear them?

Sonu :I can't talk about any particular person's work. People work according to their style; every composer gives his best. I have also dished out pretty dismal songs at times. Like I have sung songs like 'What's your mobile number', and I have even sung 'Tera paaon bhari ho gaya'. We all have sung such songs some or the other time in our careers. Those have been times when we were needy, when we were not in control. Then we could not say no to anyone. What really matters is what you do when you are in control; when you have the power to decide.

Swati :As a part of the music industry, as a professional, what is the song that you are really proud to have sung?

Sonu :Last year, I came out with a classical album, that had a song 'Suna suna'. It cannot be called a semi-classical number, because classically it is very tough, and that song got me recognition from the stalwarts of music. This is what really makes me proud!

Swati :What about your other Bollywood songs?

Sonu :'Suraj hua madhdham', 'Mera rang de basanti chola mai rang de' and 'Sandese aatey hain' are among my favourites.

Swati :Which musician do you think is the best in our times?

Sonu :If you ask this, normally and very obviously, everyone will say AR Rahman. The most remarkable thing about him is that he never overdoes things. His voice is sufiana, and he never tries to go beyond himself. That is the best part about him. Today the best composer, who sings equally well, is Shankar Mahadevan ? his compositions are as beautiful as his singing is. I would say that the composers who sing well should sing themselves, like some of them do.

Swati :This year, or last year, when you were not very actively singing in Bollywood, were there any songs that made you feel 'I should have sung this', or that 'I could have sung this better'?

Sonu :I don't think I am the grand old man, above everyone else. There are better singers than I am, far above me in talent and professionalism. As I said, everyone has his own style of rendering a song. I can't better anyone. People respect me because they know I work so hard and am so committed. In fact, we are lucky to be playback singers, otherwise people don't even know what many artists like Vasundharao Deshpandey or Salamat Ali Khan have done.

However, I like 'Jab se tere naina'. Shaan's voice is so sweet, I wish I could sing like him...(sighs.) I also like 'Tu hi meri shab hai subah hai'. The songs of 'Rock On' are also noteworthy.

Swati :Are private music productions more satisfying than commercial ventures?

Sonu :Yes. Private albums satisfy me more. It is like a weakling that needs to be supported; we feel ennobled and pleased by helping out this weak kid.

Swati :As compared to the times of Lata, Rafi and Kishore Kumar, do the voices of today have the same brand equity?

Sonu :We cannot draw a parallel between now and then. Like, I am not any particular actor's voice. True, people associate my voice with Shah Rukh Khan, but in actuality I have sung more songs for Salman Khan. Today, there are so many singers to choose from, and music directors ask a number of singers to belt out their versions, and choose the one they like. Thankfully, I am above that selection process. Directors come to me at the end, when they have finalised me for any song.

Swati :What is the most challenging genre in singing?

Sonu : These days the composers use such high scales; they won't compose low pitched music. I recorded a song 'Do baat pakki' that was so high pitched that it made me go to my highest scale. The composers couldn't imagine I could reach that scale, but I did.

Swati :What is your take on plagiarism that is said to have affected music industry today? Give us an insider's view.

Sonu :I agree that every individual's personal prerogative is to be ethical or go a little easy on himself. Ethical people are purists. But, even their songs sometimes overlap, how can you be completely be distinct with just twelve sur? But yes, some create music from other works also. Pritam?

Swati :(chipping in) Who is called the King of Plagiarism in Bollywood?

Sonu :Pritam once said a very wise thing. He said, "When a song is created and sung, the profits go to the music company and the producer. But if every time the song is played or sung, and the royalty went to the composer, lyricist and the singer, then there would never be plagiarism. Unfortunately, this does not happen. And when it does not, then why not go all the way to earning profits while we can. 'Grab it now, before you lose it!" If you are complemented for a job well done for your lifetime, it counts as a real reward. If not, what does it all come to? Pritam has done some wonderfully original works. But that doesn't get noticed as much as it deserves to be.

Swati :Can a singer be a good actor? What about performers who are versatile, like for example Farhan Akhtar, who directs, acts as well as sings?

Sonu :A singer is a person who sings on stage. In a recording studio, technology can turn even a read verse into sung lines. Farhan has sung many songs, but I bet even he does not consider himself a singer. Singers are Salamt Ali Khan, Ameer Khan, Ghulam Ali or Mehdi Hasan. In my view even I am not a singer, maybe in the view of others I am.

Swati :Any views on the kind of singer Himesh Reshammiya is?

Sonu :No thoughts. I have never given a thought on the topic.

Swati :They say India is a big source of revenue for Pakistani artists. But the artists themselves claim being troubled. What do you say to this?

Sonu :I want to ask Pakistani singers and actors, 'When Sonu goes to Karachi, he is attacked with a bomb blast. When you come here you are welcomed with flowers and garlands. Is this fair?' I have another one for them, 'Where do you pay your taxes?' Are they paid in white or in cash?' Let me tell you, all the money they get is in cash? it is all black money.

Wherever they perform, whether in Government organised programme or recording studios, they are paid in cash. When we perform in America, we are taxed. Then we return to India and get a tax rebate. And in the present scenario, we can't even imagine getting paid in cash in India. I want you to ask - who is allowing this and why is this being allowed. We pay taxes here and still we get potholed roads and mosquitoes, and still we have no complaints. When we go abroad, we pay taxes. Why don't they pay taxes here? What I want is that when Pakistani singers come to India, they should appreciate and express their appreciation and feel thankful. I love Pakistani singers, some are great performers ? but they should accept what a great country India is.

Singing Superstar Sonu Niigaam in conversation with Kaveta A Chhibber

Singing super star Sonu Niigaam was in Chennai recording a song with music maestro A.R. Rahman when a friend called him from London and asked if he was okay, what with all the mayhem happening in Mumbai as the terror attack was being unleashed. In an exclusive hard hitting, very candid and thought provoking interview done in two sessions, with Kaveta A Chhibber, Sonu Niigaam shares his thoughts on the attacks, his frustration at the way things work in India and offers solutions that he feels may bring change.

To read the print version of the interview, Click Here
Sonu Niigaam and Kailash Kher jam together on Indian Idol 4
February 2nd, 2009

Sonu Niigaam had promised to sing with his favorite singer Kailash Kher when he had come last. This week we will see him keep his words as he and Kailash take the floor with élan. The two gave a mind blowing performance with Ya Rabba?. When Sonu is around how can fun and laughter be far behind? Amongst all the laughter, Sonu displayed his seriousness when it comes to his craft. He demonstrated his observation about all the singing greats down the ages from Mohhamad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor? There are few as talented as Sonu Niigaam in the industry today and even lesser when it comes to sharing their knowledge with newcomers. But that is what makes Sonu Niigaam so special and a cut above the rest.

Do not miss the most entertaining musical delight, on Indian Idol 4, this Friday February 6, at 9.00 pm only on Sony Entertainment Television
The Song Continues
Sonu Niigaam speaks... Rachana Dubey listens...

What's new this year for you ?
My first Kannada private album. It should be out soon. Now, isn't that exciting?

Sure. So what drew you to Indian Idol 4 at its fag-end?
I'm not judging it. I'm just a mentor for a few weeks. I could see change in the attitude of the contestants.. my presence made a difference to them. They walk up to me for advice at the outset of their carrers, which makes me feel happy.

Your track Soniyo from Raaz - The Mystery Continues hasn't been publicised sufficiently.
I'm very proud of that track, I feel it'S one of my best in recent yearts. It wasn'T publicised because Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt felt that Maahi could help the promotions better. I didn't want to argue with them. Still my song has registered.

How come you did the "guest alaap" appearance on Guzaarish in Ghajini?
You blame Aamir Khan for that yaar! I had sung the whole song in 2007. Then, I was away in US with my wife because she was about to deliver then. Meanwhile, the song's brief changed. It was re-written. The composition was retained but they were running out of the time for the re-recording. I couldn't make it, so Javed Ali cam in. I must thank A R Rahman for retaining my alaap.. he really pushed for me there. I love the way Javed Ali has sung the track though.

Do Pritam and you get along?
Of course, we've been friends for very long. We go back to the time when he wasn't as successful. On so many occasions, I had charged him much less than my fee. We haven't worked too often of late is because he likes to experiment with new voices. He will call me only when he is sure that he wants only me for the song.

What has been the reaction to your father Agam Kumar Nigam's album Woh Bewafa?
Quite warm. I am surprised and maybe even jealous that my father has cut four albums with a music company which rakhdaos even the best playback singers for an album. I know that Shaan's private album has been lying with them for a year now.

Will your father sing for the movies ?
He should.. I'd be most happy if he does.

What about your long-talked-about movie comeback?
I don't want to make a hasty decision on that. I'Ve been reading and rejecting scripts.. with a heavy heart though. I quite liked one of the scripts.. which I am considering right now. It's a kind of a musical. Let's hope something is finalised this year.

What did you have to tell Mika when he called you one among the 300 clones of Mohammed Rafi ?
Nothing, actually. He called me up and said that he never gave a quote like that and was apologetic if he had hurt me. He knows I like him. I asked him to forget about it and move on. We connect well, thank you.

Source: Hindustan Times epaper,29th Jan 2009

We were hurt that Pak singers didn't call: Sonu
26 Jan 2009, 0546 hrs IST, Mahafreed Irani, TNN

MUMBAI: Singer Sonu Niigaam can feel the weight of responsibility as he prepares to perform at the closing ceremony of the Saptarang Festival at the Gateway of India on Republic Day. As an artiste and entertainer, he thinks this is will be his chance to uplift the spirit of terror-battered Mumbaikars, spreading the message of patriotism. "I feel highly burdened. It's a huge responsibility,'' he says.

On his itinerary, is a list of patriotic songs like Sandse Aate Hain, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna and Panchi, Nadiya, Pawan ke Jhonke, which will end with a special number that Niigaam will sing with his father. "When I was nine years old, my dad taught me the lyrics of Mera Rang de Basanti Chola. It's a song full of patriotic energy and positivity,'' says the singer who sung the score when it was composed for the second time for The Legend of Bhagat Singh.

The venue-the Gateway of India-stands as a symbol of the city's history and its unique quality of grit. "There, with my songs, I want to touch the souls of people," Niigaam says.

The singer was surprised when none of his Pakistani friends and artistes called after the 26/11 carnage. "It almost seemed like they were indifferent to what had happened. Even Ghazal singer Talat Aziz, who is a friend of mine, was hurt that no one from Pakistan called to express their shock and concern,'' says Niigaam, who has immense love and respect for artistes from across the border like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ghulam Ali and Husain Bakh.

Recollecting how he escaped a bomb blast outside his concert venue in Karachi four years ago, Niigaam thinks he was reborn that day through divine intervention. "The attack didn't stop me from performing that night even though my family and my life was at risk.''

The singer does not seem to be too sure when it comes to boycotting Pakistani artistes. "Personally, I don't believe in banning art but I understand the motive behind the act. People are deeply hurt and this is their way of expressing it,'' he says, adding how shocked he was when he learnt that singers from Pakistan were paid through hawala to evade tax.
Sonu Niigaam gifts BMW to his father
Friday, January 23, 2009 10:11 IST

New Delhi: Celebrity singer Sonu Nigam gifted his father a red BMW sports convertible. Agam Kumar Nigam says his son's thoughtfulness brought tears to his eyes.

"I am really proud of my son. The way Sonu has expressed his love has nearly brought tears in my eyes. I pray that every parent should get a son like Sonu," Agam Kumar said in a press release. Sonu gifted the car to his father to celebrate the success of his album "Woh Bewafaa".

"Woh Bewafaa" is his fourth album in a row with T-series. His previous three albums were "Uski Yaadon Mein-Bewafa Saman", "Bewafaa" and "Phir Bewafaai".

Sonu Niigaam returns to Indian Idol 4 as mentor

The Top 8 are performing like never before. It`s not just riaz that`s making them sound good, but the fact that Sonu Niigaam is judging them. Come Friday, the singer and the much-loved judge of Indian Idol is returning home. `Javed saab wrote a song, Ghar kab aaoge. So here I am!,` says Sonu with a grin, on the sets of the musical reality show.
Who said nice guys finish last?

Stars are arrogant, conceited and self-centred. You have to beg, plead and grovel before you can get an interview with them. Yes, I'm sure all of you have heard this time and again. But Sonu Niigaam proved once and for all that stars are human, too, and they can be real gentlemen to boot.

It was a circus outside the room Sonu was having lunch in. Television and print journalists were jostling each other, a sea of jabbing elbows and knees. I couldn't see the point of all the commotion, because short of breaking down the sturdy wooden door, not one of them could get in to see the singer. So I parked myself well out of range of any stray knuckle sandwich and prepared to wait for an 'audience'. For that was what I thought I was going to get?a few seconds with the singing monarch of Bollywood before they said vamoose.

Was I in for a surprise! When the doors were finally opened, Sonu had already pulled up chairs to accommodate all of us and he proceeded to talk to us in an unhurried manner. After nearly 20 minutes of laughing, joking, mimicry and singing, he didn't show any signs of impatience?in fact, it was his agent who seemed to be hopping from one foot to another. Finally the agent could take no more and declared the interview was over. But I still saw Sonu call forward a timid first-timer and answer her questions in a quiet voice. Now that is what I call a nice man and a star!
Talat-Sonu to rock with ghazal duet
13 Jan 2009, 0028 hrs IST
Sonu Niigaam and Talat Aziz, as eclectic a couple of singers as you may get, are performing a special ghazal duet this evening at a concert to launch the latter's new album

This is the first time that Sonu, who has experimented with several genres of music, is lending his voice to the "meaningful and healing" ghazal. Talat, of course, is a ghazal maestro whose soft, mellifluous voice has enthralled audiences for long. Together, they intend to rock tonight.

Sonu admits to be an ardent ghazal fan since childhood. "My basic foundation as a singer has a lot to do with this genre of music. When people say I express well even when I sing for films, that's where the basis has been formed," said the popular Bollywood singer. Talat chose the works of nine Urdu poets like Bahadur Shah Zafar, Ghalib and Momin among others for his album in which Sonu makes his ghazal debut. "I have kept today's generation in mind and used contemporary instruments like piano, violin and the guitar for this album," said the ghazal singer. "Sonu's done a wonderful job. I always felt his voice was well suited for ghazals."

Of course, Talat's vast knowledge about this form of music helped Sonu considerably. "I always wanted to sing ghazals, and ever since I got to know Talatji, it's been my privilege to work with him," said Sonu. "We exchange tips, he respects me as an artiste, and he left the whole thing entirely on me. Hopefully, someday I will come out with a ghazal album of my own."
Five top singers
Sonu Niigaam continued to be the most respected male singer, in a league of his own, though he has become very selective. He was even responsible for the only non-film album of merit this year, Classically Mild.
Dec 26, 2008 at 1553 hrs IST
I havent been utilized properly in Yuvraaj
Mumbai, November 17th,2008
Chart masala
Sonu Niigaam talks... Rachanan Dubey listens

Apparently, you've cut down on your concert tours.
The schedules aren't as dense now because I want to spend time with my son Neevan. He's all of one. I want to see him grow up every day. If I have a longish tour, I  take  my wife (Madhurima) and him along. I can't stay without my son. He's more attached to me than to his mother.

I did a couple of sell-out tours over the last eight months. Rafi Resurrected in the UK with Symphony Orchestra was the baap of all tours. I'm planning a world tour with the same orchestra now.

The South Pacific tour has opened doors for  Bollywood to perform in the southern hemisphere. I did a concert in Kuwait.. the first one there in 10 years. So that's quite a lot of touring.

You're back in the playback zone with Mastam mastam and Shaano in Yuvvraaj.

Yeah, I heard the tracks a few days ago. I loved the way I sound and the compositions. I was happy working with A R Rahman and Subhash Ghai. But I feel that I haven't been utilised properly. I think they could have extracted better stuff from me. I feel unused on the album.

And Rabne Bana Di Jodi?
Ah! That album is really selling well..believe me, the sales will go through the roof. It's a soundtrack which will stay in public memory for long. When I was offered the tribute song, Aditya Chopra expressed complete confidence in me. In that one song, I've paid tribute to all the show business personalities I respect.

How has your Rafi Resurrected album done?
Ever since the concert was aired on TV, it has become a cult. Today, when the quality of private albums has dipped , this album as well as Classically Mild have done well.Today, you need brains to draw listeners your songs.

Kailash Kher has become a composer. When will you become one?
I've composed Tu kab ye jaanegi and Chanda ki doli mein tracks for my private albums. I've also programmed Chanda ki doli. I listen to plenty of music.. high class stuff, I have compositions whirring in my head, I store them or take down notes.

Honestly, I don't want to go about explaining music to those producers and directors who think they know everything about music. Most of them lack music sense. The day I meet someone who is sensible, I'll compose for the movies.

Will you ever visit the Indian Idol show again?
They haven't called me at all but I have an offer from Voice of India. I might go on that show.

How come you walked the ramp recently for Shantanu and Nikhil?
I did that because no one expected me to. Earlier, I had done a magazine shoot for them. When they saw the pictures, they were convinced that I had not been exposed enough, I could be better utilised.

Here, the glamour quotient is restricted to actors but in the west, it's everyone including  sportspersons and singers. I was myself on the ramp, I wasn't pretentious'I+haven%e2%80%99t+been+utilised+properly+in+EMYuvraaj'%2fEM

Fine Tuning

Working out is a luxury that Sonu Niigaam indulges in, on Sundays. On other days, time is spent on riyaz
By Sayoni Sinha
Posted On Sunday, October 19, 2008

?   Sundays are? as good as any other day of the week for performers like us. There have been days when I have asked people at the studio, "What day is it today?" It could be a Sunday, or any other day.

?   Five years ago? I was clueless about the concept of 'Saturday night'. When people asked me, "What are you doing on Saturday night?" I would say, "Why? I am working." I end up working on most Sundays.

?    If I am not working? I attend to pending chores like holding meetings, running errands, signing agreements. I also do my recordings in my studio.

?   On Sundays... I take some time out to work out since it becomes a luxury on weekdays. On other days time is spent on riyaz. It forms an essential part of a singer's life, I do not leave my house without doing it.

?   I love junk food? I am a complete foodie. I think all musicians have an affinity towards good food. These days, though, I am a bit conscious about what I eat. But on Sundays, I do go berserk at times. On Sunday evenings, I go to 'Chandru's' at Seven Bungalows and gorge on golgappas and dahi paapdi chat. (I wear a cap in the hope of disguising myself!)

?   I haven't cooked? for the last 15 years. When I used to stay alone, I used to cook basic stuff like dal-chawal or roti, though I never liked my own cooking.  My dad is a very good cook. I can make some good aloo ki sabzi and bhurji. When I cooked, I used to have a tough time differentiating between jeera and ajwain, so I used to put tags on the jars to avoid disasters.

?    I'm currently reading? Ismat Chughtai. I used to be an avid reader but ever since my baby was born, my reading time has reduced. When my son is awake, I play with him; when he is sleeping, I too get some rest. I don't subscribe to newspapers at home, and I don't miss them.

?    I've started watching movies? only five years ago. From 1990-1998, I saw only four movies: Baazigar, Darr, Border and Pardes. I saw DDLJ only in 2002. I saw The Departed recently.

?    My weekend gateway is? Amby Valley. If wishes were horses, I would leave the hustle-bustle of Mumbai on a Friday night and return only on Monday morning. I would like to have a farmhouse at Lonavala too.

?    Most of my concerts? are on Sundays. So on Sunday nights, I am completely fatigued. After the concert, I chill for some time with my team, eat a light dinner and go off to bed, so that I am fresh and ready for Monday.§name=Lifestyle%20-%20Leisure§id=79&contentid=20081019200810190300106329109abc7

Baal Baal Din Yeh Aaye
A small barber shop in Ladakh is named Sonu Niigaam Hair Cutting! Now, Sonu plans to go there for a haircut
Baal baal din yeh aaye! By Kunal M Shah Posted On Saturday, October 04, 2008

Recently, we couldn't help but smile when we came across a particular photograph, which involves singer Sonu Niigaam.People all over Ladakh have no source of entertainment except the radio and their favourite singer happens to be Sonu Niigaam.

The fan in question is a Ladakh-based barber who has found a simple but unique way of making Sonu feel special.This barber is so in love with the singer that he has named his shop Sonu Niigaam Hair Cutting!

When contacted, Sonu confirmed the news and said, "Yes, one of my friends Rajesh Kalra informed me about this after he visited Ladakh early this year. He told me of a hair cutting saloon, which is named after me. Another friend of mine who attended the shooting of 3 Idiots in Ladakh said that since there is a scarcity of TV channels and media, people in Ladakh connect with music and singers in the truest sense. I am planning to go trekking in Leh and Ladakh next year and will pay a surprise visit to that shop and get a little haircut done.§name=Entertainment%20-%20Television§id=12&contentid=2008100420081004040101402172bc2a3
Glam and Lots of Glory
Sonu Niigaam makes his Ramp Debut

The Chivas fashion's Mumbai tour came to an end with a lot of glitz and glamour. As is the tradition, Chivas Fashion Week celebrates the oomph and style of fashion. The fashion extravaganza concluded with a never seen before collection by fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil, adding up to actress Dia Mirza's charisma, along with Neha Dhupia's style quotient and singer Sonu Niigaam's starry strides. These Bollywood celebrities truly knew, how to rock the ramp. According to Sonu Niigaam, "Yes, I'm walking the ramp for the first time, I sure had a lot of fun. When I was walking on the ramp, I couldn't realise whether I was walking, living the moment or flying."
Jack of all trades: Sonu Niigaam models for OK! mag
Piya Hingorani / CNN-IBN

Mumbai: Sonu Niigaam is known to be versatile singer and a successful television host. And now the multi-tasker will be seen posing for the cover page of September issue of OK! magazine.

"OK! Selected me so that is why I'm here. It's quite refreshing, quite a change from what I do," said Niigaam.

"I've done lots of shoots for my albums for my promo's sometimes, but this quite special and it's executed very well," added Niigaam.

"It was rather interesting to see him in a different look. It was completely like a fashion celebrity and not really like a singer or actor," said fashion photographer, Daboo Ratnani

Sonu is completely focussing on his playback singing and will be heard in quite a few forthcoming releases.

"I've sung some songs for 3 Idiots, that's Vidhu Vinod Chopra's and Raju Hirani's movie which stars Aamir. I've sung for Yuvraj which stars Salman. And I've sung a lot of songs for Sajid Wajid lately. So you'll be hearing a lot of me," said Niigaam.
Rafi Resurrected at Symphony Hall
Jul 17 2008 By Terry Grimley

Musical history was made at Symphony Hall on Tuesday, when for the first time a leading Indian vocalist appeared on stage with a major symphony orchestra in a concert of Bollywood classics.The first live collaboration between Sonu Niigaam and the CBSO ? they have recorded most of this repertoire for a recently released CD, but made their respective contributions on different continents ? attracted a capacity and almost exclusively Asian audience which was in no way inhibited in expressing its obvious enthusiasm.

While Niigaam was greeted like the star he evidently is, and the popularity of many of the songs was demonstrated by the cheers and applause that greeted their opening bars, it was also heartwarming to see the warmth of the reception for the CBSO and conductor Michael Seal. Their collaboration should demonstrate, if we haven't already noticed, that behind Bollywood's kitsch stereotype there lies a treasury of melodic songs whose qualities transcend language and cultural difference. This is particularly true when they are set against Tim Pottier's remarkably rich orchestrations. These are based on original recordings, mainly from the 1960s and 1970s, by India's most celebrated "playback" singer, Mohammed Rafi, but it seems Pottier's own compositional input has been substantial.

Niigaam, who is regarded as something of an heir to Rafi (he first performed a Rafi song on stage, with his father, at the age of three), opened the concert by leading a silent tribute to the master, the anniversary of whose death in 1980 falls on July 31. Seeming slightly bemused but unmistakably excited to be fronting a 75-piece orchestra, Nigaam is an appealingly unaffected superstar who waved to his fans between verses and even posed to be photographed by a young woman who had the self-confidence to leave her seat and walk to the front of the stage.Highlights included the magical Dil Ke Jharoke Mein and the sublime duet Mujhe Teri Mohabbat Ka Sahara, one of several numbers on which Niigaam was joined by the female singer Gunjan. The grand climax, perhaps inevitably, was the resounding An Evening in Paris, changed to An Evening in Birmingham in honour of the occasion.

The third of this week's concerts, at the London Coliseum, is being recorded for future broadcast on BBCTV as well as in India and the United States. The next stop surely has to be The Proms.
Sonu Niigaam : The Angel in Disguise
June 26th, 2008

Recently while traveling to the venue for one his concerts in Mumbai, a strange incident happened where Sonu Niigaam came across 4 - 5 underprivileged children who recognized him immediately and were excited to see him and requested him to sing two lines for them.As a sweet and humanitarian gesture he thought of surprising them, so he put them in his car, took them to the hall he was performing in and made them sit in the audience to watch him perform live.

He reacted when asked, "The bright smiles on the faces of the children when they saw me was quite contagious and I couldn't help but give them this sweet surprise. What was even more heart-warming was their excited faces during the performance. The incident has created a sweet memory in my heart and hope I can do much more for the underprivileged children." After this people will surely agree that angels do tread this earth.
Five star

Shah Rukh Khan pays a tribute to 5 yesteryear superstars Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Rishi Kapoor in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, which is sung by Sonu Niigaam

Aditya Chopra is leaving no stone unturned to make his ambitious film Shah Rukh Khan-starrer, Rab ne Bana Di Jodi a grand success.
Aditya Chopra has recorded an 11-minute song in the film for one important sequence in the film that will have Sonu Niigaam paying tribute to five yesteryear stars.Our source says, "Aditya Chopra has recorded an 11-minute song in the film which show cases the style of five different generations in one single song.The song tracks the journey from 1950s to the 90's to the present era and will be picturised on Shah Rukh Khan.Adi had reached a dead end with the song where he had to scrap it when he thought of Sonu.The specialty of the song is a tribute that SRK gives to stalwarts like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna and Rishi Kapoor.But music composers Salim-Suleiman and Jaideep Saini were asked to compose the song which would have the first line of the most famous numbers with their romantic icons and these involves songs sung by singers ranging Mukesh, Rafi, Kishore to Jolly Mukherjee. Ranging from the '50s to the '90s.The voice had to encompass the spirit of the old and the new equally, and Sonu was the only option.Apparently Sonu who was travelling extensively obliged thrice to rehearse and work on the song and then finally sang in less than 45 minutes.§id=30&contentid=20080612200806120207179136f0493fd