Sonu started at a very early age not only on stage but also in front of the mike. He spent his teenage days singing jingles, cover versions and devotional songs. Once he shifted base to Mumbai to start his struggle in the music industry, it did not take him too long to get his first song from the film 'Aaja Meri Jaan' at the age of 20. The late bigwig Gulshan Kumar (owner of T-Series, Music Company) heard Sonu and invited him to work with them. The song, which led him to fame was 'Accha Sila Diya Tune' from the film 'Bewafa Sanam. Sonu tasted real success in playback singing when he was invited to sing the song, 'Yeh Dil Deewana' for Subhash Ghai?s film 'Pardes'. This song made Sonu the real superstar, a heartthrob of Bollywood. He changed his style of singing and adapted the modern nuances of the western style of singing merging it with our own Indian classical influences. Since then there has been no looking back for Sonu. Today he is among the highest-paid singers of Bollywood and is in heavy demand because his voice suits every hero. Shah Rukh Khan once commented ?I grant a lot of my success to Sonu.? Sonu has become the safest choice for any music director to do justice to their composition and as rightly said by one of them "Sonu's singing is immaculate because he immerses himself completely in it. He comes to the recording studio, writes the song, learns it, sings it and leaves in nothing more than 30 minutes. I think no one can ever match his caliber". He has sung countless songs not only in Hindi but in almost all the regional languages of India. His songs from films like 'Pardes', 'Dil Se', 'Border', 'Refugee', 'Sarfarosh', 'Taal', 'One Two Ka Four',?Pukar?, 'Bunty aur Babli',?Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai?, ?Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya?,'Lucky', 'Paheli', 'Parineeta',?Dil Chahta Hai?, ?Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham?, 'Saathiya?, ?Kal Ho Na Ho?, ?Main Hoon Na?, ?Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna?, ?The Legend Of Bhagat Singh?,?Fanaa? and ?Om Shanti Om? are among a few milestones in his singing career and have helped him establish himself as one of the most versatile, soulful and multi-talented singers in India. He also appealed to connoisseurs of music with renditions from films like ?Dev?,?Baabul?,?Saawan?,?Meenaxi?,?Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose? and ?Dharm?. He recently became a sensation in the Kannada music industry when his songs from the film ?Mungaru Male? became chartbusters in the south and earned him a lot of recognition.
Sonu Niigaam and Indipop
Sonu released his first Indipop album, Sapney Ki Baat in 1997 in collaboration with T-Series which generated an ocean of fame and a remarkable response from the listeners. Following that, In 1998, Magnasound came up with a lucrative offer for Sonu to launch the albums, 'Kismat' and 'Mausam', both of which contributed to his title as the Golden Voice of Indipop and gave him a boy next door image. The singles 'Tu' and 'Bijuriya' are still considered to be two of his biggest dance hits. History was made when Sonu launched his album 'Deewana' in 1999 with T-Series. It led Sonu to the heights of his singing career and it was estimated that more than ten million copies were sold officially making it the highest selling album over the next few years. His next two albums 'Jaan' and 'Yaad' in 2000 and 2001 respectively were also with T-Series and both were chart toppers. His devotional album 'Sanskar' and his Punjabi Album 'Kudi Mili Hai Kamaal' were also highly appreciated by his listeners.
In 2005, Sonu launched his next album, 'Chanda Ki Doli' with T-Series after a span of four years. This album is very significant in his career because all the tunes in Chanda Ki Doli were composed, programmed, arranged and sung by Sonu himself and each composition in the album was rated a gem by connoisseurs of music. He created history by releasing his single 'Yeh Rashtra Prem Ki Bhavna' on Indian Independence Day 2006 on a radio station without a record label. It was a song which he wrote himself to express his love for the country and to arouse the new generation. Rekindling his usual style of constantly challenging himself with something different, Sonu launched his latest album 'Classically Mild' with Sa Re Ga Ma HMV on February 11th 2008. This album surpasses all targets and exceeds all expectations and is Sonu's attempt to convey the importance of being rooted to Indian Classical Music to the youth of today who consider him their Idol. The album is semi-classical with a touch of mainstream commercial music and is skilfully packaged to appeal to connoisseurs and laymen alike.
Always a trendsetter, Sonu joined hands with Big 92.7 FM to launch his exclusive pulsating single titled "Punjabi Please" on 3rd March 2008. The song has been composed,written and sung by Sonu himself and is Sonu's tribute to all his Punjabi fans. BIG FM holds exclusive rights for song play outs including digital rights and physical unit sales. The next milestone in Sonu's career is an album in collaboration with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as a tribute to Late Mohammed Rafi, his idol and musical father. The album titled 'Rafi Resurrected' was released on London on 17th June 2008 and contains 18 evergreen tracks of the maestro. Creating a record by itself, Sonu released his devotional album Maha Ganesha, his 3rd indipop album in the same year on 11th August 2008 in collaboration with Times Music. With lyrics written in Sanskrit, the album is Sonu's humble tribute to the almighty. Also, due to his ever-growing popularity as a singer in the Kannada music industry, he is soon coming up with a Kannada album for all his fans from the south
Sonu Niigaam The Composer
Sonu mastered to play the harmonium at a very young age without any guidance. This led him to play the keyboard aiding him to make several soulful compositions for his private albums and title tracks of television serials. Sonu?s first venture as an independent composer was with the album ?Spirit Unfolding? for which he composed, sang and also wrote the lyrics. The world renowned percussionist Brent Lewis and Grammy winner singer Riya Coolage collaborated with Sonu on this album which was recorded in Joshua Tree. As an artist who has always thrived to attain greater heights in his musical expanses, Sonu further broadened his horizons by turning a composer/programmer/arranger with his album ?Chanda Ki Doli?. The Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar commented ?Sonu is so well versed with his classical music that when he will compose, it will surely be a unique piece of music as he will add his own style and charisma to it.? The album earned him a lot of respect, appreciation and accolades from the music industry.
Gitanjali WoW Award for Live Personality(Music)
Big Star Entertainment Award for Singer of the Decade
Amar Rishtey Award for Zee Icoon - TVS Sa Re Ga Ma
GIMA(Global Indian Music Award) for Most Popular Song - All Izz Well
GIMA(Global Indian Music Award) for Best Live Performer Male
Indian Television Academy Award, Best Male Singer for Dil Mill Gaye title track
Filmfare Award, Kannada, Best Male Playback Singer for Yenagali, Mussanje Maathu
Annual Central European Bollywood Awards, Best Male Playback Singer for In Lamhon Ke Daaman Me, Jodha Akbar
Lions Gold Award for the song 'In lamhon ke Daaman me' from the film 'Jodha Akbar'
Indian Television Academy Award, Best Male Singer for Amber Dhara title track
Filmfare Award, Kannada, Best Male Playback Singer for Ninnindale, Milana
GPBA (German Public Bollywood Award), Best Singer (Male) for Main Agar Kahoon, Om Shanti Om
Annual Central European Bollywood Awards, Best Male Playback Singer for Mein Agar Kahoon, Om Shanti Om
Bollywood Music and Fashion Awards, Best Male Playback Singer for Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Title Track.