He is considered as one of the most versatile singers of all time and many regard him as the soul of Bollywood for his magical voice. Singer Arijit Singh has indeed come a long way in his life from a small town boy to India’s biggest singer. But one thing remains the same for the singer as he believes to keep a low profile and stay grounded which he also credits for his humbleness in all these years.
Arijit, who is all set to perform in Gurugram on February 17 as part of his Live India Tour, believes his fans create their own moments in their own space while listening to his songs in their cocoons.
He spoke on a variety of issues in an e-mail interview. Excerpts:
It’s been a long journey for you — from a contestant in Indian Idol to one of the most successful singers. What has changed in your life over all these years?
Words such as ‘star’ and ‘celebrity’ are imaginary creations. These words have gained more importance lately, especially in this industry and show business. This, like any other business, is a place where creative people come together to make movies or music. So, nothing has really changed it’s still the same. I still enjoy a quiet and simple life the way I used to.
Was singing always your passion or it just happened?
I became interested in music because of my mother. During my childhood, I learned to play tabla. I had three gurus; one taught me Rabindra Sangeet, the other taught me to play instruments and the third one worked on vocals. No one forced singing or music on me. It just happened.
How did you feel when you couldn’t qualify for the Indian Idol contest? What if you had won the title?
All that doesn’t matter anymore. The actual journey lies between the reality shows and playback songs. Reality shows give you the recognition to survive in the industry only if you are dedicated towards what you want to accomplish. After there’s no reality show — it’s just reality. People had started to get to know me in the industry and I had work to survive. So, I didn’t have to sit and wait for people. I went to them and got an appointment, instead of mourning over what didn’t happen. Winning a singing contest title would have definitely given my career a push. But like they all say “whatever happens, happens for the best”.
Is it true that you invested your prize money of “10 Ke 10 Le Gaye Dil” to build your own music studio?
Yes, it is absolutely true. Some suggested that I should buy a car with that money or invest it, but building a recording studio of my own was something that I had been thinking about for a while. The first chance that I got, it had to be it.
When it comes to versatility, you have sung party, classical, romantic and all kind of songs. So, how difficult it is to shift your focus from one song to another and sometimes that happens in a single film like ‘Roy’, where you sang ‘Sooraj Dooba Hai Yaaro’ and ‘Tu Hai Ke Nahi’?
My goal is to be dynamic. I’ve been singing different kind of genres for a while now but I have always tried to push myself to new tangents about singing, new songs or picking up the same genre but trying to sing it differently, treating it differently.
Fans have often said that they feel an instant connect with your songs. It must be a proud feeling that almost all of your songs are loved by the audiences…
My fans have understood that they have to create their own moments in their own space while listening to my songs in their own personal individual cocoon. I have had many crazy fan moments. It is all still very strange to me.
At any point of time do you feel nervous before performing for a sold out arena?
At a recent concert of the India Tour, the stadium was huge, and I didn’t expect such a big crowd to turn up. The love my fans poured on me hit me and I felt completely numb. So numb that I had to break through. This was a memorable one and it was a challenge.
You have won so many awards, but is it important to win awards to let the world know about your talent?
I wouldn’t put it this way that it is important to win awards to let the world know about your talent, but everyone deserves appreciation. Some form of motivation to keep on doing better than the last time, making the next song bigger than the previous one.
So, now how does it feel to be admired by millions of people for your voice and songs?
Earlier too people would come and talk after recognising me, that happens now in an overexcited way. It is one of the forms of being rewarded for the work that one does and it gives me immense pleasure to get to know that people actually love my work this much.
Any song that you found difficult to sing or you think was not suitable for you?
Most of my songs that I began my career with were super tough mostly because back then I used to overthink. Initially, I wanted to do exactly what has been asked of me by the music director. Now, I have realised that you just have to go with the flow and be organic.
You had to struggle a lot before making it big in the industry. Any instance where you were at your lowest and something kept you going?
I have struggled a lot, yes, but there isn’t anything which is specifically unique about my struggle. Every singer who comes to Mumbai has to go through the same journey. You go to the music directors with your demo hoping someone or the other to acknowledge your talent. You meet other people who also want to do the same and you hear their life stories. These life stories sometimes are a lot to take in when compared with your own and I think that is what has always kept me going.
What is the one advice you want to give to all your fans, who are pursuing singing?
There are only three steps: “Apne guruji ki baat mano”, “khoob riyaaz karo” and “apni kala ke prati sachche raho”.
Quick Rapid Fire
Ustad Amir Khan Sahab, Ustad Rashid Khan Sahab, Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Sahab. In the popular music scenario I love Kishore Kumar, Hemant Mukherjee, Lata Mangeshkar. In more recent times I’ve love Jagjit Singh, Sonu Nigam- they are my idols. KK, Atif and Papon are my current favourites. From the West- Robbin Williams, John Legend and John Mayer.
I only have personal favorite Indian classical ragas. I really like songs based on Raag Bhimpalasi
Biggest pillar of support in your life?
One old song that you wish to sing?
None. Ultimately the singer becomes the song and when you think about it, the chosen singer completely fits the song and makes it what it is.
One thing you have not achieved in life yet?
There are so many things. Right now, I have only followed my passion for music.
Favourite music director?
Pritam has taught me a lot, there are Vishal-Shekhar, ShankarEhsan-Loy, Amit Trivedi, Mithun Sharma, AR Rahman, lot of them.
Favourite female co-singer?
Aditi Singh Sharma, Shefali, Tulsi, Sunidhi, my list is very long. Everyone is so good.