"Global artistes come to India for freshness"
By Bohni Bandyopdhyay
After collaborating with international pop star Britney Spears, Sonu Nigam, who is all set to team up with Swedish DJ Tim Berg, says that India attracts global artistes because the country has something new to offer. The 38-year-old singer added a 'desi' touch to Spears' hit track 'I Wanna Go' from her latest album 'Femme Fatale' and will now be lending his voice to electronic dance music by Berg aka DJ Avicii.
"These artistes want a change in their own music, that's why they come to Indian musicians. They want to know how we can add something new to their music. They love what we do to their songs," Sonu told PTI.
"Secondly, India is a huge market. They want to explore it, the way Akon did. After his hit song Chammak Challo in 'Ra.One', Akon is known to everyone here," he added. Not only artistes, Sonu says, even international music shows are flooding the small screen here launching their Indian versions, including the hugely popular UK show 'The X-Factor'.
"Every western musical show format has been introduced to us. There is another such show which is coming to India soon. It's going to be the next big thing. Foreign companies sell these formats to Indian channels, who Indianise them. Indian Idol, X-Factor are like that," said Sonu, who was one of the judges on the maiden season of the Indian 'X-Factor'.
Besides his foreign collaborations, Sonu has been lately in the news due to his four-year-old son Nevaan's cover of the hit Tamil-English song 'Kolaveri Di', which went viral on the internet. But the doting father says he is not training his son to become a singer.
Singers are born, not trained. He is a smart boy who can dance and sing well. He has already sung once with Lata Mangeshkar. Whatever he wants to become in the future, we will be happy with it."
Despite lessening his work in playback singing for Bollywood films, the singer has his hands full with his independent albums and music composition. "I have been very selective in my playback singing career for past six years. I have sung in films like '3 Idiots', 'Tees Maar Khan' and 'Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji'." Sonu is working as a composer with percussionist Bickram Ghosh to score music for Girish Malik's upcoming film 'Jal'.
"The composition for Jal is shaping up well. We are quite surprised with what we have come up. It should be out by next year. We are expecting more movies coming our ways and make a name as composers," said Sonu, who has also composed a track, written by Javed Akhtar and sung by six female singers, for an initiative taken by ArtistAloud.com for breast cancer awareness.
Talking about the current music scenario where Bollywood is ruling the charts, Sonu says independent music will only find takers if mainstream artistes come up with fresh content. "We cannot blame the scenario if we do not come up with anything new in independent music. People will lap up non-film music if it is interesting enough. I would expect singers like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shaan, KK, Shreya Ghosal, Kunal Ganjawala to come out with their private albums - I am sure people would want to listen to them," he said. PTI