Singer Sonu Niigaam on new talent, Chennai and the war brewing between Bollywood musicians and record labels
From a child artist to a TV host, a playback singer, an actor and even an indie pop idol, Sonu Niigaam has used his 22 years in the industry well. The 40-year-old singer has given some unforgettable hits like Do Pal from Veer Zaara, the title song of Main Hoon Na and the latest, Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin from Agneepath. He is presently composing music for Happy Anniversary, which will see Aishwariya Rai back on the silver screen.In the city for a concert organised by Amara Homes and other outfits, the singer talks to us about new talent, copyright laws and more:
How important is the stage to you?
I look at the stage as a divine platform. This is a place for singers who take their careers seriously. Chennai is a place that understands music really well. At this performance, I will be singing some of my hits—both in Hindi and Tamil.
Your opinion on the current crop of singers?
Back when I started, there was nobody to guide us. The present generation has a lot of potential. I like singers like Benny Dayal, Javed Ali and Arijit Singh.
What do you have to say about our copyright laws?
It is wrong to think that by asking for royalty, I am taking away money. In fact, composers and lyricists are equally eligible to ask for their royalties.Several artistes like Srinivas, S P Balasubramaniam and K J Yesudas who have come forward to support me.
Live performance vs studio recordings?
Live performance gives you an idea about the audience’s response immediately. It is much more satisfying. At the same time, studios are where new songs are born.
Your comments on the changes in Bollywood.
I think there is a market for everything. The latest is EDM and using catchy words that are repeated many times. Even mediocre talent gets recognition. Music is suffering, but I guess there is a time for everything and things always change.
Are you getting enough challenges in Bollywood?
I do not think so. The last good song that I sang was for Agneepath. I haven’t yet worked with Amit Trivedi, so, that could be interesting.
At Sir Mutha Venkatasubbarao Concert Hall, on February 26, from 7.15 pm onwards. Tickets from Rs 3,000 onwards. Details: 9840200568
– Mrinalini Sundar