Sonu Nigam is a well known Indian playback singer and music director. His style is considered similar to that of legendary singer Mohammed Rafi, that is why he is often regarded as “Modern Rafi.”
Sonu Nigam was born on 30 July 1973 (age 49 years; as of 2022) in the Faridabad City of Haryana, India. His Zodiac sign is Leo. He did his schooling at J.D.Tyler School in Delhi and graduated from the University of Delhi. He started singing at the age of 3, where he would accompany his father to wedding ceremonies and parties. He later moved to Mumbai, where he got trained under legendary Indian classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Caste & Wife
His father’s name is Agam Kumar Nigam who is from Agra and is also a Bollywood singer. His mother’s name is Shobha Nigam who is from Garhwal. He has two younger sisters named Teesha Nigam (Neekita Nigam) and Meenal Nigam.
Teesha is also a professional singer. He married Madhurima Nigam on 15 February 2002, and they both have a son named Nevaan.
His first song as a playback singer was for the film Janam (1990), which was never officially released. He began making radio commercials and started acting in them. His first released song is “O Aasman Wale” from the movie Aaja Meri Jaan (1993).
He released his first album “Rafi Ki Yaadein” in 1992. His first hit song was “Accha Sila Diya” from the movie Bewafa Sanam (1995). He debuted as a music director in the “Singh Saab The Great” in 2013. Apart from that, he has also tried his hands in acting. His debut as an actor was at the age of 10 when he played the role of young Sunny Deol in the movie Betaab (1983). His debut film as a lead actor was with the movie “Love In Nepal” in 2004.
- Sonu Nigam sparked a controversy in 2017 after he tweeted about feeling disturbed by “Azaan” that was being played in loudspeakers and disturb his sleep. He even called it ‘forced religiousness.’ His tweet hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community. A fatwa was issued by a cleric that whoever shaves Sonu’s head and puts a garland of the shoe around his neck will be given the reward of ₹ 10 lakhs. He responded by shaving off his head demanding the money from the cleric.
- Spiritual Guru Radhe Maa was accused of several cases along with the dresses she wore. Sonu Nigam supported her by saying “Just my 2 pence. Kaali Maa is depicted in lesser clothes than Radhe Maa. Interesting that this country wants to sue a woman for her clothes.” The comment arose criticism countrywide, and FIRs were filed against Sonu for hurting religious sentiments of the people.
- He announced his retirement from the music industry after an ongoing issue with the leading music label. He also expressed his displeasure over some contractual issues. The company and Sonu Nigam later reconciled two years after the incident.
- It was the time of the release of the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016) where Anushka Sharma utters a dialogue “Mohammed Rafi? Woh gaate kam rote zyada the na?” that arose backlash from the Rafi’s fans. Sonu Nigam was amongst them who also lashed out at filmmaker Karan Johar. Karan Johar responded back with an equally sarcastic note leading to a drift of opinions between the two.
- In an Agenda Aaj Tak Summit, Sonu said “Wish I Were from Pakistan” that created a rage amongst Indians. Sonu later responded saying that media persons attempt to make catchy headlines while they miss the actual content. He added that Indian singers have to pay 40-50% of their concert remunerations to music companies, while in other countries namely Pakistan, they work with the artists but don’t ask for the same.
- After Sushant Singh Rajput‘s demise on 14 June 2020, Sonu Nigam released a video on Instagram on 18 June 2020 in which he talked about the kind of pressure that the new artists were going through in the industry. He also claimed in the video that there were only two music companies in India, which controlled the entire music industry.
On 22 June 2020, he posted another video on Instagram in which he accused Bhushan Kumar of sabotaging his image in the industry. Sonu also warned Bhushan Kumar that he had messed with the wrong person.
In reply, Bhushan Kumar’s wife, Divya Khosla Kumar posted a video on Instagram on 24 June 2020 in which she refuted all the allegations made by Sonu Nigam against Bhushan Kumar. She also termed Sonu Nigam as thankless.
- Haryana Gaurav Samman by Haryana Government in 2017
- National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Kal Ho Na Ho in 2003
- Best Male Playback Award for the song Kal Ho Naa Ho in the film “Kal Ho Naa Ho” in 2003
- Best Male Playback Award for the song Saathiya in the film “Saathiya” in 2002
Padma Shri (Art) 2022
- Food: Paneer Makhanwala, Paneer Kofta, Gulab Jamun, Butter Chicken, Tandoori Chicken
- Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan,
- Actress: Madhuri Dixit, Marilyn Monroe
- Films: Amar Prem, Kunwara Baap, Half Ticket, Sholay, The Sixth Sense
- Musicians: Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Hussain Baksh, Micheal Jackson, Whitney Houston, George Michael, Michael Bolton, Cliff Richard, Mariah Carey
- Song: Duniya Rang Rangilee Baba by K. L. Saigal
- Book: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
- Travel Destination: Greece, Egypt, New Zealand
His net worth is about $ 8 million (approx. ₹55.5 crores). He earns ₹ 6-7 lakhs per song.
- His first stage performance was “Kya Huaa Tera Vaada” by Mohammed Rafi when he was just 3 years old.
- In his teenage, he used to perform at various events, where he would sing many hit songs. In one such performance, he sang the title track of the popular Indian epic television show Mahabharata.
- He is trained in Taekwondo.
- He has a fear of cockroaches.
- He is also known as the Elvis Presley of India.
- He enjoys mimicking fellow singers and actors.
- Sonu had a hairstyle similar to late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, while receiving the National Award from him.
- He has done Hindi voice-overs for Hollywood films like Aladdin and Rio.
- He has sung in various languages which include Hindi, English, Bengali, Manipuri, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Tulu, Assamese, Odia, Nepalese, Maithili, Malayalam, and Kannada.
- He has judged singing reality shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Kisme Kitna Hai Dum, and Indian Idol.
- He disguised himself as a beggar and performed an act called “The Roadside Ustaad” on the streets of Juhu.
- He once got a skin allergy due to the consumption of seafood.
- He owns three dogs namely, Goggles Nigam, Shifu Nigam, and Zen Nigam.
- He once did an unplanned performance on a flight. Jet Airways suspended all the cabin crew of the flight for enforcing corrective measures and disciplinary actions.
- In February 2023, an MLA’s son and his goons allegedly manhandled Sonu Nigam and his aides at a music event in Mumbai over selfies. Reportedly, they threw one of Sonu Nigam’s aides off the stage following which his aide suffered minor injuries. Later, Sonu Nigam filed a case against the accused who was identified as Swapnil Phaterpekar, the son of MLA Prakash Phaterpekar, for wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt. While talking with the reporters about the incident, Sonu Nigam said,
I fell on the steps after I was pushed. Rabbani (Khan) came to save me and was pushed from behind. He could have died. I filed a complaint because people must think about it when they force someone to take a selfie.” NDTV