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I want my name to be a trademark: Sonu Nigam

Courtesy: IndiaFM
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The leading singer of India has just come to your homes. Here's a one on one exclusive interview with him who is high on the success of his new song 'Yeh Rashtra Prem Ki Bhavna'.

You have just recorded the song 'Yeh Rashtra Prem Ki Bhavna' tell us something about that.
This is the first song ever to release in India without the help of a company. It is basically our conviction towards this song that we wanted to convey it to our listeners. This song is meant for today's generation because I have lots of faith in them. I believe we underestimate them when we say that this is the kind of music we like and this is the thought process they carry. I believe if we don't provide them with the right kind of music and other stuff then they don't know how to behave correctly. This song was supposed to have released around Independence Day but suddenly the bomb blasts in Mumbai happened. So one side of our mind said that we should release it earlier to get lots of attention but then we thought that we shouldn't cash in on someone else's suffering. I believed that this song should only release on radio and be available for downloads. So when the radio guys heard it we got a standing ovation. The composer is Deepak Pandit and I wrote the lyrics for it. Then we made the video because television channels were keen on airing it. There was a lot of positive response from everywhere.

How come you didn't opt for a company for this song?
Companies are essential. We have to have good companies in our country. But sometimes there is some niche work that you want to give to the public that you don't want others to mess up. This is the kind of work that I want to give to the people. My idea is not to depend on how much money I will recover because at this stage of my career I can afford to lose money. I will lose money obviously because I don't expect to be paid for something that does not release on CDs or cassettes. A company even if they like the song, they would want a remix after that. This is a pure song and I wanted the video to be clear and the message in the face. So that is why we decided not to depend on any company. I have that much goodwill that people know when I am talking I will talk sense.

So basically your message is an awakening for the youth?
The lines go as 'yeh rashtra prem ki bhavna bas matr ek hai kaamna. Hirday ki seep mein aans ki moti. Tam, Gan, Man, Jan mein ho jyoti. Arz hai yehi- Bharat ki rakth mein prabavihith ho'. We have almost reached 60 years of independence and there is a saying which goes like 'Right or wrong my country is the best'. I don't believe in that. I believe that if our country is wrong then we need to do something about it and definitely we are wrong. We need to tell the people that patriotism is not just about hailing your country but about correcting your country. It's about changing this mind-set. That is the message of this song.

So how did the standing ovation feel like?
This really gives me a high. This is not your regular film song. It's like my baby and when your baby gets appreciated even by people who don't appreciate easily will definitely feel great. I want my name to be a trademark. If it is a Sonu Nigam song then it should be good lyrically, musically and vocally.

Do you think a good voice is a god gifted talent or comes out of hard work?
Both! There are people who are blessed with natural voices. I cultivated mine because I sounded like too many people. I modulate my voice and that is my effort. If I had just one voice then I would be confined to just one genre of singing. I don't see myself doing that. I want to pursue different genres of music. I know of singers who are blessed with great voices but are confined.

Do you believe in daily riyaz?
I practice daily riyaz. As I grow older I get madder.

You recently said in an interview that you want to take it easy now. But you also collapsed while shooting for this song. Is this true?
One is partially true while the other one is exaggeration. There was news that I am retiring from music. It is true that I want to cut down on my music but retiring from music is an overstatement. Music is always going to be a part of my life. It is my prayer. It is an ecstasy altogether. When I hear other people singing classical music I realize there is so much more to incorporate in my music. So I'm not quitting music but I'm quitting wholesale singing. I have got logical reasons for that.

If you count I have had about 10 -12 hits songs last year. 2 of Fanaa, 2 of KANK, Dil Vich Lagi Ya Ve, Krrish, Parineeta and Paheli. But I sang over 300 songs last year. Why? It's just a waste of time. I don't want to break records. I'd rather read all the books loaded in my house. I don't want to die without reading them. I want to enjoy nature; I want to enjoy other things in life. I want to pursue yoga, want to work-out, learn Taekwondo. I don't want to grow old and feel that I'm helpless. As for the collapsing, that did happen. I was taken to the hospital. I was vomiting and suffered from food poisoning.

You are into spirituality in a big way. How has that changed your life?
I'm not that spiritual. People at an early stage in my career claimed that I was spiritual. All of us are spiritual in some sense. I want to be at a stage in life where nothing should affect me. I don't want to be filled with sorrows nor too much happiness. I have trained myself to be that way. But overall I don't think I'm worthy of being called spiritual.

From your current contemporaries, who do you think is doing really great work?
Kunal Ganjawala, KK and Shaan sing very well. Other than Kunal, the rest are older than me. Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Shweta Pandit, Mahalaxmi, Madhushree, etc. They are all very good. Also Kailash Kher as well.

Himesh Reshamimiya is pretty big on the music scene as well.
Himesh is a great composer. I don't rate him as a good singer and I don't think he does so either. If he rates himself as a great singer then he is lying to himself. But as a composer he is great and he deserves the success that he is getting today.

Do you also compose music?
Yes, my album Chanda Ki Doli was my composition.

If you were to choose 3 favorite tracks from your vast repertoire, which would that be?
Satrangi Re, Tumse Milke from Main Hoon Na and Mera Rang de Basanti Chola.

What about your stint in acting?
There are a lot of things involved while doing a movie. The director, the actor, the producer and his marketing strategy. When I choose a movie I can't be governed by my heart. I have learned to use my instincts. I cannot give 100 days of my life in acting, dubbing, promoting and finally get bad reviews because the outcome is not nice.

What next?
There is an album coming up. This is really different as nothing like it has been done in India. 60% is ready. I just have to sing it and the lyrics also have to be done. It will most probably be released in October.

Tell us something about your American tour?
I'm going on a tour after 5 ' years. Unlike other people who go every year or twice a year, I decided to wait and get a proper promoter. Finally these really great guys came my way and it's happening on a large scale. Almost like the Hollywood way.

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