Alka Yagnik is one of the well-known Indian playback singers. With her soulful voice, she has registered many awards and honors to her name. She holds the record of singing more than 2,400 songs with the career spanning more than 3 decades.
Alka Yagnik was born on 20 March 1966 (age 57 years; as of 2023) in Kolkata, India. Her mother Shubha Yagnik was also a singer of Indian Classical Music and trained Alka to sing from a very young age. She did her schooling at Modern High School for Girls in Kolkata, India. She started singing for Akashvani (All India Radio) at the age of Six, where she interpreted devotional songs for the radio. She came to Mumbai, at the age of 10 as a child singer. She was told to wait until her voice matured. Her Zodiac/Sun sign is Pisces.
Height: 5′ 4”
Weight: 65 kg
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Family, Caste & Husband
Alka was born in a Gujrati Family. Her father’s name was Dharmendra Shankar.
Her mother Shubha Yagnik was an Indian Classical Singer.
She has a brother named Samir Yagnik.
She married Neeraj Kapoor in 1989, who is a Shillong-based businessman.
She has a daughter named Syesha Kapoor who is an entrepreneur.
She started singing at the very young age of six for Calcutta radio. She started her Bollywood career in 1979, singing only a few lines in Rasjshri’s song “Payal ki Jhankar”
Followed by “Mere Angne Mein,” which proved to be a mega-hit. Her first solo track was “Hum Tum Rahenge” for Rajesh Roshan in Hamari Bahu Alka (1982). She finally got her first break through the song “Ek Do Teen” from the movie Tezaab. She has sung not only in Urdu-Hindi but also in other languages including Gujarati, Avadhi, Odia, Assamese, Meitei, Rajasthani, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, English, and Malayalam. She has worked with almost every best-known Indian composers right from Kalyanji–Anandji to Sandesh Shandilya and many more.
In her career spanning three decades, she has sung various songs with singers like Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, and many more. Throughout her career, she has sung 2,486 Hindi songs in 1,114 films. She is said to be the fifth-most prolific Bollywood singer of all time after Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Kishore Kumar.
- The song “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai ” that came in 1993 from the movie “Khalnayak” was the hottest song of the century but also a controversial one. The song was criticized for its sensual and double meaning lyrics. The song was declared vulgar and was opposed by 42 Political parties. It was even banned from being played in Doordarshan and All India Radio.
- Anuradha Paudwal who is known for the devotional songs; once gave a tough competition to Alka Yagnik. The song that once was recorded by Alka were dubbed by Anuradha Paudwal, which created a rift between the two. She once even lashed out at her saying, “What does she want to prove that her voice suits the actress more than mine does?”
Awards and Honours
- Best female playback artist for “Ghoongat Ki Aad Se” in the year 1993
- Best female playback artist for “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” in the year 1998
- Best female playback artist for “Ek Do Teen” in the year 1993
- Best female playback artist for “Choli Ke Peeche” shared with Ila Arun in the year 1994
- Best female playback artist for “Meri Mehbooba” in the year 1998
- Best female playback artist for “Taal Se Taal” in the year 2000
- Best female playback artist for “Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Hai Dil Se” in the year 2001
- Best female playback artist for “O Re Chhori” in the year 2002
- Best female playback artist for “Hum Tum” in the year 2005
Lata Mangeshkar Award
- Outstanding Contribution to the Indian Music in the year 2003
- Food: Gujarati Cuisines, Maharashtrian Cuisines, Italian, and Chinese
- TV Shows: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Little Champs (Zee TV), Indian Idol (Sony TV)
- Colours: Black, Yellow, Pink, and White
- She gave her first stage performance in Kala Mandir, Kolkata, India.
- Most of her songs were recorded in Mehboob Studio.
- Hundreds of her recordings were present in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.
- She shares the title with Asha Bhosle for winning the highest number of Filmfare Awards as a Playback Singer.
- In the year 2002, on the occasion of 100 years of Hindi Cinema, her song “Taal Se Taal Mila” from the movie ‘Taal’ was chosen as the best song of the century, according to the poll conducted by Hindustan Times, DesiMartini, and Fever 104.
- Her song “Choli Ke Peeche” from the movie ‘Khalnayak’ was chosen as the hottest song of the century in a poll conducted by Sanona.
- She has been involved in various projects that focus on the empowerment of the girl child.
- She has also sung with her brother Samir Yagnik.
- She has been the judge of many singing reality shows of India, mainly Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Star Voice India.
- Her song “Chamma Chamma” has been featured in “Hindi Sad Diamonds” from the soundtrack of the film “Moulin Rouge!”
- She considers the music of this era as a ‘forced element.’
- Alka has regrets for not singing the tracks for the movie Roja (1992). According to her, she already committed to sing for other directors and the music director was A.R. Rahman who was debuting with the movie Roza. She along with Kumar Sanu rejected to sing for the movie because they didn’t know A.R. Rahman.
- Alka once faced her own #MeToo moment. Once an anonymous film director arranged to meet her in her home. When he arrived at her home, he blatantly grab hold of her. Fortunately, her mother was home; he left her home without a word. She later had to leave singing for the movie because the director wanted her to be out of the film.
- In January 2023, the Guinness Book of World Records featured her as the most streamed singer in a year consecutively three times after her songs recorded 16.6 billion, 17 billion, and 15.3 billion streams in 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively. Hindustan Times