Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam

Nigam in 2010
Background information
Born (1973-07-30) 30 July 1973[1]
Faridabad, Haryana, India[1]
Genres Pop Rock Singing, Classical Singing, Semi-Classical Singing, Ghazals Singing, Playback Singing
Occupation(s) Playback singer, composer
Instruments Vocals
Labels Sony Music, T-Series, Tips, Saregama, Venus Records & Tapes
Website Official website

Sonu Nigam (30 July 1973)[2] is an Indian playback singer whose songs have been featured mainly in Hindi.Odia. and Kannada. He has also sung in Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Tulu, Nepali and various Indian languages. He has also released Indian pop albums and acted in a number of movies.[3] He has been one of the highest paid Indian singers. His singing style is considered similar to the legendary Mohd. Rafi whom he also considers his motivation. He has become to instant limelight through the Kannada film Mungaru Male (2006), which set several records in Indian cinema.[4][5]

Early and personal life

Sonu Agam Kumar Nigam was born on 30 July 1973 to Agam Kumar Nigam and Shobha Agam Kumar Nigam in the city of Faridabad, Haryana.[6]

Nigam began his singing career 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".[7][8] From then on, Nigam accompanied 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 18.[9] He was trained by Hindustani classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.[10]

Nigam married Madhurima Agam Kumar Nigam on 15 February 2002.[11]

Singing and composing work

Nigam performing at live concert in 2012

He has recorded Romantic, Rock, Sad, and Patriotic songs in: Hindi, Kannada, Assamese, Bengali, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, English, Maithili , Bhojpuri, Urdu, Nepali, Chhattisgarhi, Malayalam, Tulu and Marathi.[9] 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 and June 2007, he participated in The Incredibles tour with Asha Bhosle, Kunal Ganjawala, and Kailash Kher. In September and October of the same year, he gave a solo concerts titled Simply Sonu in Canada and Germany, the first Indian singer to do so.[12] In April 2008, he toured India promoting his Punjabi single "Punjabi Please".[13]

Nigam's first movie song as a playback singer was for Janam (1990), which was never officially released. He then began making radio commercials and also acted in some of them.

His First Released Song Was "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 included Muqabla(1993), Meharban (1993), Shabnam (1993), Aag (1994), Khuddar (1994), Hulchul (1994), Stuntman (1994), Ramjaane (1995), "Gaddar" (1995) etc. He began hosting the TV show, Sa Re Ga Ma in 1995 and sang "Accha Sila Diya" for the film Bewafa Sanam And Got A Big Success Through This Song. in the same year.[9] 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.[9]

Nigam provided playback singing for Hindi movies including the title song for the film Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003 and "Abhi Mujhme Kahin" for Agneepath in 2013.

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.

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.[14] In 2008, soon after releasing Classically Mild, he released a single Punjabi track entitled "Punjabi Please"[15] 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.

After the death of Michael Jackson, Nigam released a song as a tribute to Jackson which was included on the tribute album The Beat of Our Hearts.[16]

In November 2007, at the inauguration of Harvard University's 28th president, Drew Gilpin Faust, Nigam sang Mahatma Gandhi's favorite bhajan, "Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye", with the Harvard College Sangeet.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

In 2011 Nigam collaborated with Britney Spears on a remix of her "I Wanna Go" track,[20][21] and with DJ Avicii on his song "Indian Levels" produced by Avicii in 2012.[22]

In 2014 Nigam released an online only track, "Trini Ladki".

He was ranked the Number 1 artist on the US Billboard Uncharted charts twice in 7 September and 5 October 2013.[23][24]

In September 2015 Nignam recorded a song with the music director Khayyam for the upcoming project titled Gulam Bandhu.[25] Sonu Has Sang Around 1100 Songs In Hindi Language.

Work in Kannada

Sonu Nigam singing in the concert
Nigam performing at the live concert in 2014

Nigam's first song in Kannada was in 1996 for the super hit film Jeevanadhi starring South Super Star Dr.Vishnuvardhan. The song's music was composed by Saluri Koteswara Rao with lyrics by R. N. Jayagopal. Nigam has sung over 600 Kannada songs.[26] He is known as the The Golden Singer Of Karnataka.[27][28][29]

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;[30] "Hamsave Hamsave" from the film Gatti mela composed by Hamsalekha, "Kannale Kannale" from the film Aham Premasmi composed by V.Ravichandran[31] 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.[32][33]

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.[34] In a recent interview with the Deccan Herald newspaper he said "Kannada songs make me feel positive".[35] He went on to say: "I highly respect the musicians of Karnataka and many of my favorite 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".[26]

With the same Mungaru Male combination, music director Mano Murthy, lyricist Jayant Kaikini and Nigam got together to record a 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 Bengaluru featuring Nigam and model Madhuri Bhattacharya in the lead.[36][37] Sonu 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.[38] As of 2015 Sonu Nigam has sung more than 600 songs in Kannada.

Work as a host and celebrity judge

Nigam was the host of Sa Re Ga Ma from the start of the show until 1999.[39] 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).

In 2006, Nigam hosted Life Ki Dhun with Sonu Nigaam on Radiocity 91.1 FM, interviewing musicians.[40]

He appeared as a celebrity judge on Amul 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.[39]

On 23 August 2015, he appeared on "The Anupam Kher Show" sharing his life experiences.

Film and voice-over acting

Nigam's acting career[41] started as a child in films including Betaab (1983). As an adult, he acted in films such as Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, Kash Aap Hamare Hote and Love in Nepal. He has been signed to be in Ankhon Ankhon Mein, about a blind singer.[42] Nigam provided the voice for the lead character, in the Hindi translated version of Aladdin.[43]

Sonu Nigaam during a Peace Rally in Mumbai on 20 November 2011


Filmography as composer

Year Film
2016Tum Jo Mil Gaye [51]
2016Dil 2 [52]
2016 Band of Maharajas
2016 Happy Anniversary
2013Singh Saab The Great
2013Sooper Se Ooper



Nigam has acted in various films.

Film Title Character Year
Kaamchor Sonu (Rakesh Roshan's nephew) 1982
Ustaadi Ustaad Se Raju (Young Mithun Chakraborty) 1982
Betaab Sunny (Young Sunny Deol) 1983
Hum Se Hai Zamana Shiva (Young Mithun Chakraborty) 1983
Taqdeer Shiva (Young Shatrughan Sinha) 1983
Krishna Krishna Sudhama 1986
Pyaara Dushman Manish Khadnya 1995
Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani Vivek Saxena 2002
Kash Aap Hamare Hote Jai Kumar 2003
Love in Nepal Abby 2004
Navra Maajha Navsacha Guest appearance as himself in a song sequence 2005
Warning 3D Guest appearance as himself in "Takeedein" song sequence 2013

Animated films

Film title Original Voice Character Dub Language Original Language Original Release Dub Release Notes
Disney's Aladdin[53] Scott Weinger
Brad Caleb Kane (Singing)
Aladdin Hindi English 1992 1994 Gave both the speaking and singing voice to Aladdin in this film. Dubbed by Modi Entertainment.[54]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Biography". The Times of India. TNN. 18 January 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  2. Sen, Sushmita (30 July 2015). "Happy Birthday Sonu Nigam: Lesser Known Facts and Popular Tracks of the Singing Sensation". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  3. "It's Nigam, not Niigaam, Says Sonu". The Times of India. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  4. "sonu nigam creates magic in kannada". August 19, 2010.
  5. "The golden singer of Karnataka". Jul 30, 2014.
  6. "Sonu Nigam: About Me". Sonu Nigam. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  7. "Sonu Nigam: My mother was my best ally — The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  8. India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic: An ..., Volume 1. 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Sonu Nigam". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  10. "A look at the rise and careers of Sonu Nigam and Atif Aslam ahead of their concert tomorrow". Abu Dahbi Media. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  11. "Sonu Nigam weds city belle". The Times of India. PTI. 15 February 2002. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  12. "Sonu Nigam's Tour to Germany". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  13. "Close-Up and BIG 92.7 FM bring Sonu Nigam's concert". Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  14. "Sonu Niigaam pays homage to Mohd Rafi". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  15. "Big FM launches Sonu Niigaam single Punjabi Please". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  16. "Michael Jackson Trubute portrait". Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  17. "Sonu Nigam invited to perform at Harvard University". Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  18. "Sonu Nigam's new album 'Rafi Resurrected' in July this year". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  19. "Top singers, 100 musicians at Laxmikant-Pyarelal concert". Indian Express. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  20. "Sonu Nigam and Britney Spears to sing together". Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  21. "Why the Sonu Nigam-Avicii track took a year!". The Times of India. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  22. "Uncharted : Sep 07, 2013 | Billboard Chart Archive". 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  23. "Uncharted : Oct 05, 2013 | Billboard Chart Archive". 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  24. "Words not enough to praise Sonu Nigam: Khayyam". Indian Express. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  25. 1 2 "Pitching it right". 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  26. "The Golden Singer of Karnataka, Sonu Nigam, turns 41 - The Times of India" (in Russian). 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  27. "Sonu lauded for new song — The Times of India". 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  28. Andanappa, Nagarathna (2013-07-30). "Birthday Boy Sonu Nigam's 15 Best Kannada Songs — Filmibeat". Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  29. "SONU NIGAM rocks in Monalisa – Monalisa – Sadaa ,Dhyan | Kannada songs collection, kannada movie news". 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  30. "Welcome —". Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  31. "'Mungaru Male' National record — Kannada Movie News". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  32. "Mungaru Male – Successful 365 days!! at Bangalore 365". 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  33. ": Videos". Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  34. Sudha Hegde (2010-08-18). "'Kannada songs make me feel positive'.". Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  35. "Kannada Sonu Nigam Neene Bari Neene Manomurthy". YouTube. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  36. "Sonu Nigam — Baa Nodu Gelathi — Neene Bari Neene (HQ)". YouTube. 2011-02-06. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  37. "Karnataka Bulldozers OFFICIAL THEME SONG [HQ] Celebrity Cricket League". YouTube. 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  38. 1 2 Rajini Vaidyanathan (30 May 2011). "Does India have the X factor?". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  39. "Life Ki Dhun Sonu Niigaam". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  40. "Sonu Nigam". Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  41. Noyon Jyoti Parasara (3 June 2007). "Sonu ready to play blind!". DNA. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  43. "AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Bickram Ghosh in Oscar 2015 Nomination List". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  44. mirchikannada (2014-08-18), #MMASouth Best Male Vocalist Sonu Nigam Kannada Songs specially for Bangalore, retrieved 2016-01-30
  45. "Sonu Nigam". Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  46. "51st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  47. "Anandalok Awards 2004". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 22 December 2005.
  48. "Global Indian Television Awards". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  49. "Bangalore Times Film Awards 2012 goes to... - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  50. "Priya Rajvansh biopic titled 'Tum Jo Mil Gaye' — Times of India". Times of India.
  51. "Sonu Nigam To Compose Music For Dil 2 — Spotboye". Spotboye.
  52. "The Walt Disney Company". 2005-02-23. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  53. "The art of directing dubs: A chat with Ellie Lewis - Animation Xpress". 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2015-07-20.

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