Singing a new tune
This age is producing the best music, says Sonu Nigam in an interview
In tune with the times: Sonu Nigam
DON'T BLAME him if he has coloured his hair golden to look trendy. Don't go by his stylish, even funky style of dressing these days, and don't mind his sporadic attempts to slip in a few sentences of accented English before settling down to what he is capable of. For this is what he feels the present period is all about. And this is the age he prefers to be in - the musical way too.
"Why are you always harping on the past?" Sonu Nigam looks clearly disappointed when you glorify the music and meaningful songs of the past and compare them with the present times. "It is a myth that the music and songs of the past were better than today's. If you want me to ridicule the new breed of music directors and singers, I am not for it. This age is producing the best of music."
You must have heard or read Sonu claiming that he had a classical music background. But this time to drive home the point, he modifies his statement. "No, I don't have a great classical background. What I have is a good voice and sustaining power as I am ready to experiment. Do you know that when Mohammad Rafi started singing, the admirers of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Amir Khan asked their generation to refrain from listening to Rafi Saab? The same story is being repeated in my age too. I am asked to criticise the young generation and applaud only the music and singers of the 1950s and 1960s! What about melodious songs like "Kal Ho Naa Ho", "Main Hoon Na" and "Mujhe Raat Din"?
Sonu is one among the judges who will select a singing sensation from 10 finalists for Sony TV's Indian Idol talent hunt. "For me, the criterion for selection will be participants should be able to reach the high and the low octaves effortlessly and look presentable."
He clarifies that knowledge of classical music in itself does not help much. "Knowing 100 ragas and 60 talas does not make you a good singer. It only makes you technically sound. Tell me, how many times do you switch on your recorder to listen to just a technically sound singer?"
His parting shot: "You journalists should take it upon yourselves to educate people that contemporary music is great and they must learn to appreciate it."
Well, the commercial success of remixes of old songs tell a different tale. As for swinging Sonu, let's not forget that whenever he does stage shows, he heavily depends on songs of the good old era, whatever he might say!
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