|Born||30 July 1973|
Faridabad, Haryana, India
|Labels||Sony Music, T-Series, Tips, Saregama|
Sonu Nigam (born 30 July 1973) is an Indian singer, music director and actor. He sings predominantly in Hindi and Kannada language films but has also sung in Bengali, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Nepali, Malayalam, Tulu and other Indian languages. Nigam has also released a number of non film albums and acted in some Hindi films. He is known as the “Modern Rafi” after his idol Mohammad Rafi. Nigam has won multiple awards including a nomination for an Academy Award.
Life and background
Sonu Nigam was born on 30 July 1973 to Agam Kumar Nigam and Shobha Nigam in the city of Faridabad, Haryana. His father was from Agra and his mother was from Garhwal. His sister Teesha Nigam is also a professional singer.
Nigam began singing at the age of four, when he joined his father Agam Kumar Nigam on stage to sing Mohammed Rafi's song "Kya Hua Tera Wada". Nigam began accompanying his father on his singing appearances at weddings and parties. He moved to Mumbai with his father to begin his Bollywood singing career at the age of 26. He was trained by Hindustani classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
Nigam had changed his name to Sonu Niigaam citing numerology beliefs, but later decided to go back to his birth name.
'I Believe Music' Label
Singing and composing work
He has recorded Romantic, Rock, Devotional, Ghazal and Patriotic songs. He has sung in Hindi, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Kannada, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Tamil and Telugu till date. Nigam has released pop albums in Hindi, Kannada, Odia, Chhattisgarhi and Punjabi, as well as Hindu and Islamic devotional albums. He has released several Buddhist albums. Nigam has performed in countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia. In May–June 2007, he participated in The Incredibles tour with Asha Bhosle, Kunal Ganjawala, and Kailash Kher. From September–October of the same year, he gave solo concerts titled Simply Sonu in Canada and Germany, becoming the first Indian singer to do so. In April 2008, he toured India promoting his Punjabi single "Punjabi Please".
1992-1999: Starting of his career
Sonu Nigam released his first song "O Aasman Wale" from the movie Aaja Meri Jaan (1992). He released his first album "Rafi Ki Yaadein" in 1992. After this, he sung in some movies, including Muqabla (1993), Veerta (1993),Sainik (1993), Meherban (1993), Shabnam (1993), Kasam Teri Kasam (1993), Bheega Bheega Sa (1998), Aag (1994), Khuddar (1994), Hulchul (1994), Stuntman (1994), Ramjaane (1995), Khiladiyon ka Khiladi (1996), Gaddaar (1995), Sarfarosh (1999), Dand Nayak (1998), Dil Se (1998), Jaanwar (1999), Mast (1999), Sangharsh (1999), Barsaat (1995), Aur Pyar Ho Gaya (1997), Badal (1999), Dulhe Raja (1998), Jeet (1996), Hero No. 1 (1997), Soldier (1998), Jeans (1998), Devta (1998), Cheetah (1994), Maharaja (1998), Himmatvar (1996), Shera (1999), Sooryavansham (1999), etc. He began hosting the TV show, Sa Re Ga Ma in 1995 and sang "Accha Sila Diya" for the film Bewafa Sanam, achieving greater success. In the same year, he sang the Anu Malik-composed song "Sandese Aate Hai" in Border and performed the Nadeem-Shravan-composed song "Yeh Dil Deewana" in Pardes in 1997. Nigam's album Deewana, with music directed by Sajid–Wajid, was released by T-Series in 1999.
2000-2010s: Multiple awards and nominations
Nigam provided playback singing for Hindi movies, including the title song for the film Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003 to "Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin" for Agneepath in 2012. However, from the past few years, he has become selective about his songs so that he can focus more on creative works. His upcoming project with Bickram Ghosh named "Bollywood Retro" is one such project.
Nigam has released albums of Mohammed Rafi's songs including Rafi Ki Yaadein, a collection early in his career, which was re-released in Rafi's memory in September 2007 as a six-disc collection of 100 songs, titled Kal Aaj Aur Kal. In 2008, soon after releasing Classically Mild, he released a single Punjabi track entitled "Punjabi Please" and Rafi Resurrected, a two-disc collection of Rafi songs with music by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He contributed to the lyrics of several songs and directed the music for his album Chanda Ki Doli.
In November 2007, at the inauguration of Harvard University's 28th president, Drew Gilpin Faust, Nigam sang Mahatma Gandhi's favourite bhajan, "Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye", with the Harvard College Sangeet.
In July 2008, he participated in a three-city tour of the United Kingdom, singing Rafi songs with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). This followed the release of these songs by the CBSO and the Indian music company Sa Re Ga Ma on Rafi Resurrected.
He participated in a US tour with Sunidhi Chauhan in 2009 called The Explosion 2009 tour and in a UK tour titled All Izz Well in November 2010. In 2011, Nigam collaborated with Kakas Entertainment and Laxmikant–Pyarelal for a Maestros Concert performing Mohammed Rafi songs.
2010-present: Continuing work in Bollywood and multiple concerts
In 2011, Nigam collaborated with Britney Spears on a remix of her "I Wanna Go" track, and with DJ Avicii on his song "Indian Levels", produced by Avicii in 2012. He composed the title track of the film Singh Saab The Great in 2013 and has also composed music for other films including: Sooper Se Ooper and Jal, in collaboration with percussionist Bickram Ghosh in the same year.
Work in Kannada
Nigam's first song in Kannada was in 1996 for the film Jeevanadhi. The song "Yello Yaro Hego" was composed by Saluri Koteswara Rao with lyrics by R. N. Jayagopal. Nigam has since sung over 600 Kannada songs.
His songs include "Cheluve Yeke Bande", from the film Majnu, composed by Gurukiran; "Titanic Heroine Nee Nanna Cheluve", from the film Snehaloka; the title track from the film Monalisa composed by Valisha Sandeep; "Hamsave Hamsave" from the film Gatti Mela, composed by Hamsalekha, "Kannale Kannale" from the film Aham Premasmi, composed by V.Ravichandran and "Baaninda Baa Chandira, from the movie Kanti, composed by Gurukiran. The 2006 film Mungaru Male created a sensation and spawned several records, mainly in Karnataka.
The songs "Mungaru Maleye" and "Anisuthide" were composed by Mano Murthy and written by Yogaraj Bhat and Jayant Kaikini respectively. Nigam has said that he finds Kannada songs more fulfilling than the Hindi numbers. In an interview with Deccan Herald he said "Kannada songs make me feel positive". He went on to say: "I highly respect the musicians of Karnataka and many of my favourite songs are in Kannada. I consider Bangalore as my second birthplace. Even if someone requests me to sing a Kannada song while I'm performing in the West Indies, I will sing it for them".
From the same Mungaru Male combination, composer Murthy, lyricist Kaikini and Nigam got together to record the Kannada album Neene Bari Neene, produced by Ashok Kheny. Videos for the songs "Neene Bari Neene" and "Baa Nodu Gelathi" were shot on the outskirts of Bangalore featuring Nigam and model Madhuri Bhattacharya in the lead. Nigam also composed a theme song for the Karnataka Bulldozers team in the Celebrity Cricket League and sang it with Kunal Ganjawala and Sowmya Raoh, who also penned the lyrics.
As a host and judge
Nigam was the host of the Sa Re Ga Ma music show from 1995 until 1999 and became household name. He returned on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L'il Champs International as a judge with Suresh Wadkar in October 2007. Nigam was a celebrity judge on the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Mega Challenge grand finale on 12 December 2009 .
Nigam hosted the TV show Kisme Kitna Hai Dum on Star Plus in 2002. He appeared as the judge on Indian Idol in seasons 1 (October 2004 – March 2005) and 2 (November 2005 – April 2006), and was a celebrity judge in seasons 3 (17 August 2007) and 4 (16 January 2009 and 6 February 2009).
He appeared as a celebrity judge on STAR Voice of India in August 2007 (Season 1) and in December 2008 (Season 2), and on the grand finale of music reality show Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star on 12 July 2008.
Nigam was a judge/mentor on Chhote Ustaad – Do Deshon Ki Ek Awaaz (July – October 2010) with Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and was a judge/mentor on the first season of X Factor (India) (29 May – 2 September 2011) along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shreya Ghoshal.
On 23 August 2015, he appeared on "The Anupam Kher Show" sharing his life experiences. He has been also one of the three judges of Indian Idol 2016–17.
Sonu is one of the most popular playback singers in Bollywood, and is widely considered to have inspired new singers in the Bollywood industry. He is often compared to Mohammad Rafi for similar voice texture. Among the old generation of singers, Lata Mangeshkar considers him a good singer.
Awards and honours
Sonu Nigam is the winner of several awards including 1 National Award, 2 Filmfare Awards in Hindi & 2 Filmfare Awards South. He has received 16 nominations for Filmfare best playback singer, and record winner of 4 times for IFAA Award for Best Male playback singer
- 1997 Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song "Sandese Aate Hai", from the film "Border".
- 1998 Screen Award for Best Male Pop Artist for Kismat
- 2001 Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song "Suraj Hua Maddham", from the film "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham".
- 2001 IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song "Suraj Hua Maddham", from the film "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham".
- 2001 Star Screen Award Best Male Playback, for the song "Tanhayee", from the film "Dil Chahta Hai".
- 2002 IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song "Saathiya", from the film "Saathiya".
- 2002 Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song "Saathiya", from the film "Saathiya".
- 2002 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award, for the song "Saathiya", from the film Saathiya.
- 2003 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award, for the song "Kal Ho Naa Ho", from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho".
- 2003 IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song "Kal Ho Naa Ho", from the film Kal Ho Na Ho".
- 2003 Apsara Film Producers' Guild Award for Best Male Playback Singer for "Kal Ho Na Ho" from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho.
- 2003 National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer: Kal Ho Na Ho for "Kal Ho Naa Ho"
- 2004 Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer, for the song "Kal Ho Naa Ho", from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho.
- 2005 Star Screen Award Best Male Playback, for the song "Dheere Jalna", from the film "Paheli".
- 2007 Annual Central European Bollywood Awards, Best Male Playback Singer for Mein Agar Kahoon, Om Shanti Om.
- 2008 Filmfare Awards South, Kannada, Best Male Playback Singer for Ninnindale from Milana.
- 2009 Filmfare Awards South, Kannada, Best Male Playback Singer for Yenagali from Mussanje Maathu.
- 2010 GIMA(Global Indian Music Award) for Most Popular Song – All Izz Well.
- 2010 – Global Indian Music Award for Best Live Performer (Male)
- 2012–2013 Filmfare Awards South – Nominated – Best Playback Singer Male for the song "Chendutiya Pakkadali" from the movie Drama.
- 2012 Royal Stag Mirchi Music Award for Male Vocalist of The Year for the song "Abhi Mujhme Kahin" from the film Agneepath
- 2013 Zee Cinema Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Abhi Mujhme Kahin from the film Agneepath.
- 2014 Mirchi Music Awards South – Best Male Vocalist Kannada
- 2017 Haryana Gaurav Samman by Haryana Government, Government of India
- 2018 Doctorate from Theerthanker Mahaveer University, Moradabad in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of music and inspiring youth to follow a path to success.
- 2020 Bharat Ratna Dr. Ambedkar Award by Govt. of Maharashtra ( Presented by HE Shree Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Governor)
- 2021 Lokmat Sur-Jyotsna Award for his contribution to Indian music
- 2021 Smule Mirchi Music Singer of the decade award for Abhi Mujh me Kahin (Agneepath)
As a music director
|2013||Sooper Se Ooper|
|2013||Singh Saab The Great|
|1985||Pyaara Dushman||Manish Khadnya|
|2002||Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani||Vivek Saxena|
|2003||Kash Aap Hamare Hote||Jai Kumar|
|2004||Love in Nepal||Abby|
|2005||Navra Maza Navsacha||Guest appearance in a song|
|2013||Warning||Guest appearance in the song "Takeedein"|
|2019||Spotless||Lead Role||Short film|
|Film title||Original Voice||Character||Dub Language||Original Language||Original Release||Dub Release||Notes|
Brad Kane (Singing)
(Speaking and Singing)
|Hindi||English||1992||1994||Dubbed by Modi Entertainment
His series of tweets branding 'Azaan' (Muslim call for prayer), temple, gurudwara, and other religious places using loudspeakers to disturb the people who don't follow the religion as "forced religiousness" landed him in a controversy as a member of a religious group (in particular against Azaan) took offence at the matter and the manner in which he voiced his concern. In his later tweet he stated that he stand by his statement. He later clarified that he is not against any specific religious ritual, but against the use of loudspeakers on religious buildings. He clarified that the use of loudspeaker to create noise pollution should be stopped beyond certain time as per the law of the land, irrespective of whether it is from a temple, mosque, gurudwara, or any other places. Later, Nigam again sparked controversy, when he posted a video of Azaan from his home which proved that he was indeed disturbed very early in the morning. Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice-president of West Bengal United Minority Council announced a reward of ₹10 Lakh to anyone who shaved Nigam's head, to which Sonu Nigam responded by shaving his own head to claim the reward.
In June 2020, after the demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Sonu Nigam posted a video saying that the music industry is also monopolized by two major companies and that he had also faced similar discrimination. He urged these music companies to be fair and kind to the newcomers in the music industry. Although he stopped short of naming anyone he made it clear that the malpractices in Bollywood are terrible and are almost killing the music talent of the country. Nigam uploaded another video to say that after his previous video, the Music Mafia has gotten together about six geniuses against him and sent a press release to the Times of India. Sonu Nigam maintained that he didn't name anyone and was only putting up his point of view regarding the malpractices in the music industry of Bollywood. In his second video Nigam names Bhushan Kumar, CEO of T-Series and tells him to stay away from him.
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