Sonu Nigam Biography & Life Story (Singer)
Sonu Kumar Nigam, Sonu Nigam is a well-known Indian playback singer, director & actor. He is one of the most popular & successful playback singers of Hindi Cinema.
He is honored by Government of India with Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian Award for his contribution in the field of arts. He is also the winner of several accolades like a National Film Award, two Filmfare Awards and two Filmfare Awards South.
Mainly, Sonu sings in Hindi & Kannada language films. But he has also sung in Odia, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Nepali, Malayalam, Kannada, Bhojpuri, and other Indian languages.
He has also released many non-filmy albums. He has acted in some Hindi movies also. He is known as “modern Rafi” after his musical idol Mohammad Rafi.
Sonu Nigam has sung more than 5,000 songs. He is also considered as “The Loard of Chords” & “Master of Melody”. He received a doctorate from Teerthanker Mahaveer University for his outstanding contribution in the field of music in 2018.
Sonu Nigam was born on 30th July 1973 in the city of Faridabad, Haryana. Agam Kumar Nigam is his father; he was from Agra. His mother Shobha Nigam is from Garhwal.
He has a sister named Teena Nigam, she is also a professional singer. His another sister Meenal Nigam is a Bengaluru-based yoga practitioner.
Sonu Nigam started singing at the age of four. He joined his father on the stage to sing Mohammad Rafi’s song ‘Kys Hua Tera Wada’. After that he started accompanying his father on his singing at weddings & parties.
At the age of 19, he moved to Mumbai with his father for beginning his Bollywood career. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Hindustani classical singer trained him.
On 15th February 2002, Sonu married Madhurima Mishra. The couple have a son named Nevaan. At a stage he changed his name to Sonu Niigaam citing numerology beliefs, but later decided to go back to his birth name.
Singing and composing work
Sonu Nigam has sung in many languages like Hindi, Odia, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Kannada, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Tamil and Telugu till date. He has recorded rock, romantic, devotional, Ghazal & patriotic songs.
He has also released pop albums in Hindi, Odia, Punjabi, Chhattisgarhi, Kannada languages, as well as Hindu & Islamic devotional albums. He has performed in many countries like North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Sonu Nigam also participated in The Incredibles tour with Asha Bhosle, Kunal Ganjawala & Kailash Kher in May-June 2007. Later in September-October that year, he had solo concerts named Simply Sonu in Canada & Germany.
He was the first Indian singer who performed that way. He toured India promoting his Punjabi single “Punjabi Please” in 2008.
Starting of career:
In 1993, Sonu released his first song ‘OAasman Wale’ for movie ‘Aaja Meri Jaan’. In the same year, he released his first album ‘Rafi Ki Yaadein’. During 90s, he sung for many movies like ‘Muqabla’, ‘Veerta’, ‘Maherban’, ‘Shabnam’, ‘Aag’, ‘Hulchul’, ‘Ramjaane’, ‘Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi’, ‘Gaddar’, ‘Barsat’, ‘Jaanwar’, ‘Aur Pyar Ho Gaya’, ‘Badal’, ‘Jeet’, ‘Hero No 1’, ‘Devta’, ‘Shera’, Sooryavansham’ & many more.
In 1995, he hosted popular TV show ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’. He sang the partriotic song ‘Sandese Aate Hai’ in 1997 for movie Border. In the same year he sang ‘Yeh Dil Deewana’ for the movie Pardes. Both songs were highly successful.
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Some of his popular songs are “Zindagi Maut na Ban Jaye” from Sarfarosh, “Satrangi Re” from Dil Se, “Ishq Bina” from Taal, “Mujhe Raat Din” from Sangharsh, “Ruki Ruki” from Mast, and his debut in Tamil “Vaarayo Thozhi” from Jeans. He released his music album Deewana with music director Sajid-Wajid with T Series in 1999.
During this period his popular songs were “Suraj Hua Maddham” from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, “Panchi Nadiya Pawan Ke” from Refugee. He received his first Filmfare Award for the title song of Saathiya.
In 2003, Kal Ho Na Ho song earned him the biggest success. It earned him National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer as well as the Filmfare Award.
After Kal Ho Naa Ho & Saathiya, some of his successful songs were “Main Hoon Na” and “Tumse Milke Dil ka” from the film Main Hoon Na, “Do Pal” from Veer-Zaara, “Chup Chup ke” from Bunty Aur Babli, “Pyar ki Ek Kahani” and “Koi Tumsa Nahin” from the movie Krrish.
Another songs were “Inn Lamhon ke Daaman Mein” from Jodhaa Akbar, and”Main Agar Kahoon” from Om Shanti Om. In 2005, he sang four songs for Parineeta.
Sonu Nigam was one of the leading playback singer in 3 Idiots for the songs “Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe”, “Zoobi Doobi” and “Aal Izz Well”. He sang Shukran Allah for Kurbaan & Dekho Na & Mere Haath Main for Fanaa.
He released albums of Mohammed Rafi’s songs as a six-disc collection in 2007. He released a song as a tribute to Jackson after the death of Michel Jackson. It was included in the tribute album The Beat of Our Hearts.
Sonu Nigam sang Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite Bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye’ with the Harvard College Sangeet in November 2007, at the inauguration of Harvard University’s 28th president, Drew Gilpin Faust.
Sonu Nigam participated in a three-city tour of the United Kingdom, singing Rafi songs with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) in July 2008.
In 2009, he participated in a US tour with Sunidhi Chauhan, named The Explosion 2009 tour. He also participated I UK tour named All Izz Well in November 2010. He collaborated with Kakas Entertainment & Laxmikant-Pyarelal for a Maestros Concert performing Mohammed Rafi songs in 2011.
Sonu Nigam Songs
He sang the popular song Chori Kiya RE Jiya from Dabanggas & title track of Tees Maar Khan, he sang it in 54 voices.
His song Aye Janani for Kandhar, it was the highest noted in human vocal registry with an open-throat effort without singing falsetto. In 2010, he was awarded with Global Indian Music Academy Awards for his song All Izz Well.
In 2010, he was also awarded with BIG Star Entertainment Awards for Best Playback Singer of the Decade (2000–2010) (MALE) and Global Indian Music Award for Best Live Performer (Male).
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In 2011, Sonu Nigam collaborated with Britney Spears on a remix of her “I Wanna Go” track & in 2012, he again collaborated with DJ Avicii on his song “Indian Levels”, produced by Avicii.
In 2011, he also collaborated with Michael Jackson’s brother Jermaine Jackson for the song ‘This Is It’. It was written & composed by Sonu as a tribute to Michael Jackson.
In 2011 Cricket world Cup opening ceremony, he performed on his own song ‘Let’s Go for Glory’. During 2012-2015 many of his songs were redubbed by other singers due to his fight for royalty. His song Abhi Mujh Main Kahin from Agneepath was a huge success in 2012.
Sonu Nigam received many awards for that song including 5th Mirchi Music Awards for Male Vocalist of The Year, BIG Star Entertainment Awards 2012, 18th Lions Gold Awards, 2013 Zee Cine Awards, 19th Lions Gold Award, 2013 Times of India Film Awards and many more.
Even he was nominated for Best Male Playback Singer at Filmfare Awards. Abhi Mujh Main Kahin was one of the best song. In 2013, he composed the title track for Singh Saab The Great.
He also composed music for Sooper Se Ooper & Jal with percussionist Bickram Ghosh.
In 2013, he was ranked the number 1 artist on the US Billboard Uncharted charts twice in September and October.
In 2014, he sang “Bhagwan Hai Kahan Re Tu” and “Love is a Waste of Time” for PK. In the same year, he released single ‘Trini Ladki’ with Chutney Music.
His third collaboration with Ajay-Atul became popular named Sapna Jahan in 2015. He released his single ‘Crazy Dil’ with Rajkumar Hirani, Farah Khan, Sunil Grover, Kailash Kher, Natalie Di Luccio & his son Nevaan in 2016.
IN 2017, Sonu Nigam made an international collaboration with DJ Ksmr for the song Underwater.
Sonu & cricketer Sachin both collaborated for Sachin’s debut single ‘Sachin’s Cricket Wali Beat’.
His ‘Hans Mat Pagli’ & “Gori Tu Latth Maar” from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha & “Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin” from Meri Pyaari Bindu were very popular.
He also sang ‘Halka Halka’ for Raees, but it was not included in the movie due to some creative reasons. Later it was on YouTube. His song Aazadiyan from Begum Jaan was composed by Anu Malik.
Sonu Nigam collaborated with American rapper MC Yogi in 2018 for the song ‘Hall Of Fame’. His song Aye Zindagi was composed by Vishal Mishra, it had five more versions of Asha Bhosle, Alka Yagnik, Suresh Wadkar, Abhijeet Bhattacharya and Shaan.
In Sanju movie his song Main Badhiya Tu Bhi Badhiya became very popular. He sang the remake of Badan Pe Sitare (Mohammad Rafi) for Anil Kapoor’s Fanney Khan.
He sang Tik Tik Plastic to give the social message of Say No To Plastic. For Mumbai River Anthem song to save Mumbai rivers, he collaborated with Amruta Fadnavis.
He travelled to UK for his tour ‘Rafi Kishor aur Main’ on 14th November 2021. It was presented by Grace Entertainment. He rendered his own songs with legendary singers Kishor Kumar & Mohammad Rafi.
Sonu Nigam launched his NFT Series with his English-language single ‘Hall of Fame’. He was the first Indian singer to launch NFT.‘I Believe Music’ Label:
On 30th July 2020, he launched his own music lable “I Believe Music”. “Rudhrashtakam” is the first track under I Believe Music label.
Work in Kannada:
In 1886, he sang his first song Yello Yaro Hego in Kannada for movie Jeevanadhi. He sang more than 600 Kannada songs.
Sonu Nigam sang “Cheluve Yeke Bande”, “Titanic Heroine Nee Nanna Cheluve”, title track from Monalisa, “Hamsave Hamsave”, “Kannale Kannale” & “Baaninda Baa Chandira. Movie Mungaru Male created a sensation and spawned several records, mainly in Karnataka in 2006.
As of Nigam Kanada songs were more fulfilling in compare to Hindi numbers. Kannada songs gave him positivity.
He considers Bangalore as his second birthplace. Videos for the songs “Neene Bari Neene” and “Baa Nodu Gelathi” were shot in Bangalore with Nigam and model Madhuri Bhattacharya in the lead.
Sonu Nigam composed theam song for the Karnataka Bulldozers team in Celebrity Cricket League. He sang with Kunal Ganjawala & Sowmys & paneled the lyrics also.
As a Celebrity Judge & Host:
During 1995 to 1999, he was the host of the Sa Re Ga Ma music show. In October 2007, was the judge of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs International with Suresh Wadkar.
On 12th December 2009, he was a celebrity judge on the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Mega Challenge grand finale.
On Star Plus, he hosted TV show Kisme Kitna Hai Dum. He also appeared as a judge on Indian Idol Season 1 during October 2004 to March 2005, season 2 during November 2005 to April 2006. During season 3 & 4 of Indian Idol he was a celebrity judge.
On Radiocity 91.1 FM, he hosted for the Life Ki Dhun with Sonu Nigam in 2006. He supposed to take interviews of the musicians in that show.
In August 2007, he appeared as a celebrity judge of STAR Voice of India season 1 & in season 2 in December 2008. He was also a celebrity judge of the Grand Finale of music reality show Jo Jeeta Wohi Super Star on 12th July 2008.
In 2010, he was a judge/mentor on Chhote Ustad-Do Deshon Ki Ek Awaaz with Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Even he was also judge/mentor of X Factor India season with Sanjay Leela Bhansali & Shreya Ghoshal.
On 23rd August 2015, he shared his life experiences on The Anupam Kher Show. He was also one the three judges in Indian Idol 2016-17.
Sonu Nigam hosted 3rd, 6th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 13th & 14th Mirchi Music Awards. He appeared as one of the judges in Bengali music reality show Super Singer season 3 on Star Jalsha.
Singing style & Influence:
In Bollywood Nigam is one of the most popular singers. He is the inspiration for new singers. He has similar voice & texture to Mohammad Rafi. As of Lata Mangeshkar Among all contemporary singers Sonu Nigam is the best, Even Arman Malik takes a lot of inspiration from him.
As of Shreya Ghoshal, he is her favourite singer. S. P. Balasubrahmanyam & Palash Sen of Euphoria (Indian Band) also appreciated Sonu’s singing.
His series of tweets branding Azaan landed in a controvercy as a member of religious group took offence at the matter and the manner in which he voiced his concern.
Later Sonu Nigam clarified that he was not against any specific religious ritual but against the use of loudspeakers as a cause of noise pollution.
Again he made a controversy by posting a video of Azaan to show that he was disturbed due to early morning noise.
As a result, 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, for that he responded by shaving his own head to claim the reward.
After the death of Sushant Singh Rajput in 2020, he posted a video saying that the music industry is also monopolized by two major companies and that he had also faced similar discrimination.
In 2022 February, he was accused for working with Rocky & Mr. Rehan Siddiqui. They are blacklisted based on recommendations of the Consulate General of India for malpractices and supporting Pakistan-based terror groups.
Awards & Honors:
Sonu Nigam is the winner of many awards including one National Award, two Filmfare Awards in Hindi & two Filmfare Awards in South.
Sonu Nigam is the recipient of 17 nominations for Filmfare best playback singer & 10 nominations for Filmfare awards South. He received 4 four IIFA Awards for Best Male Playback Singer & also nine nominations for the same.
In 2014, he received nomination for Oscar Acadamy Awards for soundtrack of movie Jal, it was composed by both Sonu Nigam & Bickram Ghosh. In September & October 2013, he was ranked no-1 artist on the US Billboard Uncharted charts twice.
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