National Award-winning singer Sonu Nigam is set to scout and nurture new talent in the field of music. He says hunting for talent in India is not a big deal as “they just appear”.
ITW Playworx, the entertainment, media and communication arm of ITW Consulting Pvt. Ltd., and Sonu have joined hands for forming a talent management entity called Playworx Music.
Asked if talent scouting has already begun, Nigam said: “Talent scouting is not much of a big deal. A lot of aspiring singers from different parts of the country come to my house very often. They meet me and give flowers or gifts. Some of them amaze me with their talent.”
Sharing an example, he said: “There was this boy who came to my house and sang a bandish. At that point of time, I couldn’t do anything for him. So, talent scouting is not much of an issue. You don’t have to find them, they just appear. What you need to do is, give them the right opportunity.”
Why is he doing it now?
“It’s something that I have been doing for a while. But generally, I don’t speak about it, people do. There are a lot of singers who take my name when they talk about the beginning of their career. They say I put them in the right place and introduced them to the right people,” said the former Indian Idol judge.
Helping aspiring singers is his way of giving back to music, God and the universe.
“Somebody had helped me at one point of my life. I did not make it (big in the industry) all by myself. There were people who came like angels like Sachin Pilgaonkar and Gulshan Kumar.
“I feel like I owe it to the universe. ITW people came to my house and we talked about the possibilities that can be explored. I mentioned the unexplored possibilities of music. They were happy to know about my perspective. They wanted to put their muscle power behind my vision. So, I couldn’t say no,” said Nigam, known for giving hit songs like Kal ho naa ho, Abhi mujh mein kahin and Do pal.
On the unexplored side of music, he said: “A lot of things can be explored. Independent music is one of them. And when was the last time a beautiful ghazal was used in a film?”
“Now, we are confined to ‘daru vodka’, Sufi… in the sense, allah, maula and rabba are Sufi, love ballad and a Punjabi song. It’s fine but there are lots of other genres which are unexplored.”
He misses a good female solo number in films too.
“I think after ‘Aashiqui 2’, I haven’t heard a female solo. A song can be a representation of someone’s ideologies or soul or intelligence,” he said.
He agrees that Indian music mostly means Bollywood songs but says, things are changing.
“Bollywood songs are dominating right now. But a very popular radio station’s head came to my house and asked me to do something for them. We want to create a special segment dedicated to independent music. So, things are changing.
“Film music is amazing. That’s what got me here. I have respect for film music but I am also made of (albums) ‘Deewana’, ‘Chanda Ki Doli’ and ‘Classically Mild’. It will be nice to have a mix of film songs and independent music.”
Any advise to young singers?
“Sometimes, you get demotivated when you see yourself not succeeding and see others whom you think are less talented than you but are doing much better. But you have to hang on. If you are working hard, your time will come,” said Nigam.