Sonu Nigam is undoubtedly one of the most promising and versatile singers in India now. This extremely talented and popular singer comes from a family of singers. He was born in Faridabad, Haryana, on July 30th 1973 to Agam Kumar Nigam and Shobha Nigam. His father Agam Kumar was a well-known singer known for the many stage shows that he did in his prime. Sonu Nigam's talent in singing was spotted very early in his childhood and his father used to take him for his stage-shows. It is said that at the tender age of three, he used to sing the super hit song of Mohammed Rafi "Kya Hua Tera Wada". The several music competitions that he successfully participated in his teenage years gave him the exposure and opened to him the door to the world of singing. His idol in music is the legend Mohammed Rafi, who according to the singer had been his inspiration since childhood.
Sonu did his schooling from J.D. Tytler School in Delhi. After completing his schooling, keeping his passion for singing in mind and to pursue his dream of shaping up a career in music, he moved to Mumbai with his father. To horn his skills in classical music, he started training under Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, a very fine classical singer. As is the case with any singer, his initial period in Mumbai proved to be a struggle. His first movie song as a playback singer was in the film Janam (1992), which unfortunately did not get received well by the audience. However, the famous Gulshan Kumar of T-Series took notice of his singing prowess and he offered Sonu a chance to sing in the film 'Bewafa Sanam' (1995). The song "Accha Sila Diya" in that movie became one of the big-hit songs of that year. Sonu shot to fame with that song and started getting noticed by one and all. Sonu also got chances in several radio commercials. The turning point in his career, however, was when he was given an opportunity to host on the most popular TV reality music shows "Sa Re Ga Ma" in Zee TV, after which there was no turning back for him. The format of that show gave Sonu a chance to showcase his charm and singing skills equally, besides the fact that the programme gave him a national audience too.
In 1997, he got one of the biggest hits at the beginning of his career with the film "Border". His song "Sandesa aate hein..." was a runaway hit of that year and he won several awards for that song. With more and more offers pouring in and films like Taal, Pukar,Fiza,Refugee, Saathiya,Veer-Zaara.Parineeta etc...and he formed a unique space for himself in not only the film music arena but in the field of album songs too. Sonu Nigam has also released many pop albums such as Deewana, Jaan, Yaad, Mausam and Chanda Ki Doli, which became major hits. Bhajans and Ghazals are another area where Sonu excels in. He also tried his hand at acting and did a few films such as Jaani Dushman, Love in Nepal and Kash Aap Hamare Hote. However, he quickly understood that singing and not acting is his forte and did not pursue the acting career further.
He is recognised for this versatility - versatility in the range of compositions and versatility in his voice, and for the dynamics and the emotional tones that he brings into his voice that blend very well with the tone of the lyrics and the song sequence. His brilliance is also seen in the way he adapts his voice to suit the actor he is singing for as well as the incomparable emotional range that he brings in that sets the perfect back drops for any genre of music - be it romantic, rock, sad, patriotic or humorous. In addition to Hindi, he has sung in Kannada, Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, English, Bhojpuri, Urdu, Nepali and Marathi. The Malayalam movie songs to date are "Aaye Janani" of the film "Kandahar" and "Chakkara maavin kombathu" for the "Bombay March".
With the phenomenal range of his voice coupled with tremendous stage energy, he is considered to be one of the the best live performers in India in addition to being a much sought-after play-back singer. He has travelled to almost all the countries in the world for live performances. He has received tremendous acceptance and appreciation wherever he has performed.
In his personal life, he is associated with several charity and non-governmental, not-for-profit organisations in India as well as abroad - such as Dignity Foundation, various cancer organizations, leprosy organizations, blindness organizations, women's welfare organizations, kargil war affected families, earthquake affected families and the like. He has also released several songs and made several contributions for promoting peace between India and Pakistan.
He has won the National awards for the best play back singer for the film 'Kal Ho Na Ho' ( 2003). He has also won several other awards such as Filmfare award, Screen awards, IIFA awards,MTV awards,Swaralaya Yesudas Award etc.
Sonu Nigam's wife is Madhurima and they have a son, Nevaan. Nevaan is also very interested in music. He has two sisters Meenal & Neekita. Neekita is an actor-singer and has notable songs in her name, both in Hindi and Kannada.
It is an acknowledged fact that over a relatively short period of time Sonu Nigam has already left indelible impressions in the film industry and in the minds of millions of music lovers. He is still young, and over the coming years and decades, he will continue to add melody to our lives with his flawless voice and incomparable voice dynamics.
Prepared by Kalyani
Various media sources