Sa Re Ga Ma of success

VERSATILE SINGER Sonu Nigam's songs have won him fans all over the world

VERSATILE SINGER Sonu Nigam's songs have won him fans all over the world   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: M. VEDHAN

Sonu Nigam in a chat with SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

I listen to all kinds of singers. there is something to be learnt from each singer Sonu Nigam prefers to let his songs do the talking. The singer with the chocolate looks and golden voice did not take Mumbai by storm at first. It was a hard and patient climb to the top of the charts. Although he had acted as a child actor in a few movies like 'Kaamchor' and 'Betaab,' music remained his first love. And soon he was rocking the nation with songs that showcased his versatility. From foot-tapping numbers such as 'Deewana Dil' and 'Tumse Mil ke Dil Ka' to sensuous numbers such as 'Sooraj Hua,' Sonu has sung them all. Winner of the annual award for the best singer instituted in the name of K.J. Jesudas by a cultural organisation in Kerala, Sonu Nigam is one the few singers who has made it as a television host and singer. Sonu, who will be in Kerala on Sunday, speaks to Metro Plus in an exclusive interview. He speaks about his music, television shows and, yes, hairstyle. Your reaction to the award.I consider it an honour. Jesudasji is one of the few singers who can really sing. There are singers and then there are singers, but singers of his class are rare. For me, he is an icon. On a par with legends of Indian music like Rafi saab, Lataji and SPBji... Everything else comes second - hits, popularity. The ability to sing is what counts. What do you attribute your success to?Hard work is important but it is not enough. You have to channelise your energy, have a goal and work steadily towards it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to learn under any guru for a long time. My father, Agam Kumar, is a singer and so I grew up with music around me. Later, I did learn under Ustad Mustafa Ghulam Khan. But that was for a short period. You have been lauded for your expressive voice and for capturing the mood of the situation and the lyrics in songs like 'Tanhaee' ('Dil Chahta Hai') and 'Do dil' in 'Pardes.'Thanks to Rafi saab and S.P.B., especially S.P.B. He infuses his songs with so much expression. My taste in music is very catholic. I listen to all kinds of singers and there is something to be learnt from each singer. Any favourite composer?Well, I get on well with all of them and I can cater to all their tastes. But I vibe particularly well with A.R. Rahman, Anu Malik and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Most of my hits have been with them. There is a good chemistry with them. My first hit was 'Aaacha Sila Diya Tum' with Gulshan Kumar. The next was Anu Malik's 'Sandese aate hai' ('Border') while it was Rahman who gave me the songs of 'Taal.' As good as your chemistry with viewers of television... I made my name as an anchor with 'Sa Re Ga Ma.' When it was first aired, many people thought it was a little dull and too serious. But the sheer presence of so many trained, gifted singers made it shoot up the charts. It also gave me an opportunity to express my opinions. I spoke about the lack of good listeners, teachers, singers and so on. But 'Sa Re... ' stopped at choosing talented singers. 'Indian Idol' goes beyond that. Sony Entertainment and 'Indian Idol' gives talented singers a break. Programmes, money to earn a living... Abhijeet [Sawant], Amit Sana, Rahul Vaidya, Prajakta... (who figured in the first edition of 'Indian Idol') are all doing well. You have also acted in films.Yes, but that is something I would not to want to do too often. It is not completely in your hands. For instance, one of the movies that I had acted in was released nine months after it was completed. Moreover, it consumes a huge chunk of your time; time that I could have concentrated on my music. Although, you might work hard and give it your best, if the movie flops, invariably it is the actor who gets blamed. Your hairstyle seems to be as versatile as your music.Well, I am versatile and I try to cater to all sections of the audience. For those who understand music, there is good music. But there might be others who may not be in tune with music, for them, I give them my hairstyle to talk about. Any new albums in the offing.Yes, It will be a semi-classical one. I have not decided the name. Perhaps, I will call it 'Only for listeners.' It will be a kind of fusion with sufi music and good vocals.

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