Busy with his Explosion 2009, the ongoing musical concerts across America, Sonu Niigaam takes time out for an exclusive chat with Buzz18 on his birthday on Thursday.
So, how does it feel to grow a year older - enriched, experienced, content?
All of the three...I have learnt to live in harmony with the universe.
Tell us more about the ongoing Explosion 2009. How has the response been?
It's been a strange surprise. We expect all our tours to do well. But when it is your 11th tour in a country in the last 15 years, it is an achievement in itself. People expect the world from you, and you can't let them down. I always believe, as long as I am true to myself, I'll be able to keep surprising them again and again. And that is how the response has been in the first two concerts of Explosion 2009. The new act of mine for this tour this time has been 'phenomenal'.
Any surprise element you have planned for the upcoming concerts?
Let it remain a surprise!! Or check Youtube for that matter. That's the latest discussion on it.
After so many years of practice and experience, has the definition of music changed for you?
Very profound question... Earlier I considered music as an artform. Now, I know it's actually an 'open door' to a rare state of consciousness, bestowed upon some rare blessed ones. Fortunately I am one of the blessed ones to have experienced it from my birth. No wonder "sur and taal" are Greek to the 99 per cent of the world and the remaining 1 per cent who understand it, have a completely different perception of the world as compared to the rest.
Sonu Niigaam loves challenges. So, what keeps you busy besides live shows and playbacks?
Sonu doesn't look for challenges. He only looks for newer opportunities to learn and experience. There is difference. Former is to prove a point to the world, which I consider inconsequential. The latter, to enrich myself... Otherwise, introspection, prayers to the One, workouts, music making, reading, playing with my 'genius' son, travelling etc keep me busy.
We still get to hear you giving playbacks in Bollywood. But why did you disappear from the Indipop scenario?
First we need to clarify the definition of Indipop. In India any private commercially viable album is termed as Indipop. Even a bhangra is called Indipop here. Last year I released Classically Mild, Rafi Resurrected and Maha Ganesha in a row. I also sung a ghazal with Talat Azizji in his album Caarvaan e Ghazal, all of which can be found in both India and abroad. The problem is, media is so caught up with films and gossip that music has taken a serious backseat. Unless you make controversies, you are not talked about. Fair enough, but there is a lot of great music happening everywhere besides film music. We shouldn't ignore that.
Any other album coming up after Classically Mild?
Yes, Time Travel in Hindi and Neene Bari Neene in Kannada.
What are the forthcoming films you have given playback for? Any favorites?
Can't remember besides 3 Idiots, Blue, Raavan and Accident at Antop Hill.
There were rumors about you planning to settle down in America. How far is it true?
I haven't really left India. I am just exploring the profession that has given me so much.... It's an awesome feeling.
Do you think there aren't many challenges left in Bollywood? Have you got bored with how things work in this industry?
Kind of both... Music needs to separate from Cinema in India to get its due. Our classical musicians and singers, ghazal maestros, Sufi and folk singers are waiting in the alley to get their dues.
Would you consider playing a judge once again for a reality show or would you prefer hosting a chat show on TV?
Some interesting concepts have come my way. I'll see if I'm tempted enough. Frankly, I've come to believe in the theory of 'less is more'.
You have already created ripples singing on stage with your son Nevaan. Would you like to see him as a singer? What if he wants to venture into any other field of art?
I want him to first know the secret of the world that I have come to know. Then he can decide whether it is worth it to become anything in the outside world!
What about acting? Would you like to do a film again?
People surely want me to do something sincere or else they wouldn't be still sending me scripts. Well, I personally think that it's time for at least one genuine and heartfelt project!
Last question... what would you wish for yourself on your birthday?
An uncorrupted, free, content, in-love and in-prayer soul!