Arijit Singh Curated

Award-winning Indian Singer


  • Do you have some special tips for aspiring singers?

  • Aashiqui was a musical hit. Were you nervous while working for Aashiqui 2?

    No, I wasn't nervous at all as I wasn't even aware that these songs were from Aashiqui 2. I have worked with music director Jeet Ganguly many a times. Even this time too I got an opportunity to work with him. Mr Bhatt (Mahesh Bhatt) liked my songs, hence he gave me this opportunity to sing for Aashiqui 2. I had a great experience while working for the film.

  • What was your reaction after you were asked to work for Aashiqui 2?

    I was told that the Bhatt camp was in search for a good voice for their new film. Jeet Ganguly and Mahesh Bhatt heard my songs and liked it. They approached me to sing for Aashiqui 2, but also asked me not to reveal this to anyone. They wanted this to be a secret. Later, I came to know that these songs were being made for Aashiqui 2. And, hearing this, I felt very excited. Though I haven't watched Aashiqui, I have heard its songs. They were amazing. I was told that since Aashiqui was a musical hit, there would be a lot of expectations from the sequel too. Mr Bhatt wanted the best of the songs for the sequel. We have been working on this film since 2012

  • Did you think the sequel will create same magic as the original Aashiqui?

    You should be asking this to the director or the producer of the film. But, according to my experience, I would say that the original Aashiqui had some beautiful songs. Especially, Kumar Shanu ji had sung those songs really well. The songs from Aashiqui are a hit even today. I haven't watched the original flick, but I must say that if Aashiqui has made a history in Bollywood, then its sequel too will create a magic in the industry today.

  • Your favourite song from Aashiqui 2?

    I love all the songs from the movie. My own songs have never been my favourites, since I do too many rehearsals for it. But the song 'Tumhi Hi Ho' from the film Aashiqui 2 is my favourite. Apart from this, I like 'Piya Aaye Naa' sung my KK.

  • What do you have to say about Mahesh Bhatt?

    Mr Bhatt is a very experienced director and producer. He doesn't give chance to new faces, instead he prioritises new talents. Aditya has so far acted in movies like London Dreams, Action Replay and Guzaarish and he is a brilliant actor. After those, he will be again seen in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. It will be a new platform for Shraddha Kapoor. But, both of them have acted well in the movie.

  • Who is your favourite singer?

    I'm a big fan of KK. He has a great voice. In fact, I also like Ayushmann Khurrana.

  • Any particular actor and director with whom you dream to work with?

    I wish to work under Salman Khan's production house. I haven't worked with him so far. I would also like to work with filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj.

  • What is your inspiration?

    It's not like that I was influenced by anyone to enter the industry. I always dreamt of becoming a singer. Singing was my passion ever since I was a kid. In fact, I hail from a musical family background. Everyone supported me to enter the Bollywood industry. I was inspired by many.

  • What has been your success mantra?

    My mantra has been very simple. I really love and respect my teacher, my Guruji. He had given me a lot of tips. Those were not to be successful, but to be victorious. They helped me understand how to struggle and work hard all the time. I have learnt how to have faith in my work and how to better my skills from him.

  • You have sung songs in different genres. What is the kind of music that is yet to be explored?

    In Bollywood, it’s a completely different thing. What you sing is not in your control. It is completely dependent on the music directors and the decision makers of a film. I am not getting the time, but I have been working on some independent music projects that I want to come out with.

  • What are the instruments that you play?

    I can play tabla, guitar and piano. I cannot play guitar and piano that well but I know when I play I will not make mistakes. For guitar, I am yet to catch up with Adi, the guitarist in my band. He is just awesome.

  • You are a big supporter of social issues. Which causes do you endorse the most?

    I try and help people in whichever way I can. I owned an NGO long time ago which is now turned into something which helps the people in whichever way they can. For example we collected a lot of things for victims of the Nepal earthquake. The biggest problem is that we are not ready for anything bad that happens, be it during disasters or helping people post one. For example the first earthquake in Nepal happened on 25 April and it took me a while to collect something as basic as matchboxes, candles and so on. People basically are not ready to help others. I firmly feel that we over here need a lot of awareness when it comes to population and at times I even feel bad for the Government.

  • You have had the maximum chartbusters in recent times. How has success changed your personal and professional life?

    The professional life  never changes as such. You get what you deserve. I have been working throughout. I have done it the hard way, but I’m satisfied. The little share that I am receiving is because of my hard work. I am happy about that. However, I can’t say that it [my career] hasn’t changed my personal life because it has. I have always liked to live my life in a quiet and peaceful manner. I used to lead my life that way. But the rise in social media has certainly affected me. Now I am always noticed. People try to reach out to me and that is a different feeling. But mostly, the change has been positive. All my fans have been supportive, which is very helpful for a singer. When you attain success, you need to deal with a lot of things.

  • You have mainly sung romantic tracks. What other genres of music would you like to explore?

    The phenomenon in Bollywood is different. I don’t have a control over it. It all depends on a film’s director and music composer. I would like to mention that one of my recently released songs was of a different [non-romantic] genre. It was something different for me. Aditya Chopra (film-maker) and Vishal-Shekhar (composer duo) chose me to experiment with a different kind of song. So I tried it out, and thankfully it worked. They (the audiences) enjoyed the song, and that’s great.

  • Whatever mood we are in, there is always an Arijit Singh song to lift our mood up. But, who does Arijit listen to the most?

    Ustad Amir Khan Sahab, Ustad Rashid Khan Sahab, Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Sahab. In the popular music scenario, I love Kishore Kumar, Hemant Mukherjee, Lata Mangeshkar. In more recent times I’ve loved Jagjit Singh, Sonu Nigam - they are my idols. KK, Atif and Papon are my current favourites. From the West - Robin Williams, John Legend and John Mayer

  • Do you think musicians in Bollywood get their due credit?

    I think there is only one topic that interests me and many musicians in our country. It is - Royalty. I think this is one drawback we face as singers in India. If we get a royalty for the songs we sing, we can consider our future secured.

  • Was singing always your passion or it just happened?

    I became interested in music because of my mother. During my childhood, I learned to play tabla. I had three gurus; one taught me Rabindra Sangeet, the other taught me to play instruments and the third one worked on vocals. No one forced singing or music on me. It just happened.

  • Do ghazal or qawwali interest you?

    They are great genres that are rooted in Indian music. I love them and have grown up listening to them. Earlier, Bollywood soundtracks had a lot of qawwalis. But these days, the two genres are barely heard. I love the qawwali in Bajrangi Bhaijan .

  • You come from a family where music runs in your blood. What was your childhood like?

    I became interested in music because of my mother, and I learned to play the tabla when I was pretty young. I had three gurus; one taught me Rabindra Sangeet, the other taught me to play instruments and the third one worked on vocals. I would perform at a lot of local clubs, but my parents never forced me to learn music. My childhood was very normal as I come from a small place called Jiaganj in West Bengal.

  • If you were given a chance to collaborate with an international artiste of your choice, who would it be and why?

    I would love to collaborate with Norah Jones because I love her music. I do not know when it will happen. I wish that happens soon.

  • You have contested on several reality shows and competitions in the beginning of your career. Have they affected your musical journey?

  • You are an inspirational figure for many aspiring singers. Tell us who inspires you.

  • Who are your favourite Indian singers of this generation?

  • Who are your favourite international singers?

  • Besides being an established Bollywood singer, you have also sung in Bengali and in other regional languages too. What differences do you see among the music industries of each region?

  • There are lots of singing offers coming to you now on a regular basis. How do you manage?

  • Do you think the advancement of technology has helped music to evolve in a new way?

  • What is your view on the auto tuners which is now widely used in the music industry?

  • Which was the hardest song to sing and which song sang by you is the favourite of yours?

  • When was the moment you realised that you have arrived at your goal?

  • How are things different when professionalism comes into a musician’s life?

  • How does the entire process work when you record a song for the films? Do they show you visuals or brief narrations?

  • Who are your favourite music directors?

    There are lot of music directors I love — Pritam Chakraborty , Vishal Shekhar, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Amit Trivedi, Mithoon Sharma, AR Rahman, lot of them. I would like to work with Sajid-Wajid since i haven't worked with them yet.

  • Are there any plans to open a music school by you?

  • How was your childhood in Murshidabad?

    I went to Raja Bijay Singh High School and Sripat Singh College. My father is a Punjabi while my mother is a Bangal. My training in my music started from my house because my grandmother used to sing, my mausi  sings Indian classical music, my mama plays the table and my mother still sings. I was a decent student, but cared more about music. After a point in time, i was not eligible to compete  in any music competitions since i would invariably win it.

  • Being a boy from Murshidabad, you have made such a big name for yourself. What is your Gurudakshina?

    I owe a lot to my three gurus- Rajendra Prasad Hazari who taught me Indian classical music. Dhirendra Prasad Hazari who taught me  Tabla and Birendra Prasad Hazari who taught me RabindraSangeet and Pop music. I know that i have to take up the administration of the school in Murshidabad, where i learnt music, someday. By default it is my moral responsibility and i want to fulfill it to the best of my responsibility.

  • Bengalis have a pronounced mother tongue influence. Was it a hurdle in your singing career?

    I never had this problem since i have Punjabi blood. But i am  too fluent in Bengali because the area i grew up in had a strong Berngali influence. So both my Hindi and Bengali are equally good.

  • Being from a small town, did you ever feel a bias against you in a city like Mumbai?

    Mumbai is made up of small town boys and girls who come there to try their luck. What counts is your hard work. I was always confident of my singing. But i knew that i had to learn a lot  because i was coming from a place which was not very developed, didn't have a social community and internet. I was always very open to ideas and chose whatever suited me. Yes,my friends helped me a lot in improving about fashion sense. They would laugh at me since i would be in Kurta-Pyjamas, formal pants. They helped me get into jeans and be comfortable in it.

  • Do you like to sing live or in a studio?

    i like both. I like live because i can interact and enjoy. You do not have to think of perfection that much. Studio Recording is a different experience as it is very technical.

  • How much are social networking sites important in making a song a hit nowadays?

    i never knew Youtube views are so important. I would not understand when people will tell me that Tum Hi Ho has got more than 1 Million views on Youtube. I was like how does it make a difference? Later i would go to Youtube and see songs of Rihanna, Enrique etc and would see their hits. Then i came to know the importance. Nowadays you can judge from these sites how big is a song.

  • How was your journey after “Fame Gurukul?”

    I finished Fame Gurukul in 2005 and then settled in Mumbai in 2006. From 2006-07, i was paid every month by Kumar Taurani's music company since i was doing an album with them. The album didn't release till 2007. So i went to Kumar ji and said, "The album is not happening for whatever reason, so don't pay me because if i am not working, there is no point taking money every month." So i refused money from them and started freelancing. Then my real struggle started.

  • Any memorable incidents with a fan that you remember?

    There was this one time that I had gone to Australia for a concert and a radio station conducted a singing competition, where the winner would get an autograph and a click with me. There was this girl who won it, and as soon as she met me, she was sobbing. I tried to console her, and when she finally stopped, I asked her why she was crying. What she told me is something I can never forget. She said to me, “You sound like my father who passed away a few months ago. Whenever you sing I think it is my father who is singing. I was devastated when he passed away and was almost on the verge of killing myself but ‘Tum Hi Ho’ saved me.” This actually got me goose bumps.

  • You’re known for your versatility. But is there a genre that you find more difficult to render?

    My goal is to be dynamic. Rendering new songs, or picking up the same genre but trying to sing it differently, helps me push myself to new tangents. I enjoy genres that bring me out of my comfort zone. For instance, Binte Dil from Padmaavat.

  • Of late, many musicians have said that releasing private music gives them more creative freedom. Do you have such plans?

    Nothing as of now and that’s a subjective opinion. But working solo on a music does give you the liberty to think freely. Though, there shouldn’t be any limitations in thinking creatively whether you work independently or with other musicians. Being true and passionate to your music gives you more creative freedom.

  • Compared to when you were a newbie, do you get more freedom to sing the way you want?

    Most of my songs that I began my career with were super tough mostly because back then I used to over think a lot. Initially, I wanted to do exactly what has been asked of me by the music director. Now, I have realised that you have to go with the flow and be organic.

  • Is there a song that you have been most satisfied singing?

    When you listen to a song that you connect with on a personal level, you tend to enjoy it better. Likewise, there are few songs that I relate to on a personal level. One of them is Safar from Jab Harry Met Sejal. It doesn’t make any difference in the recording studio but it’s just more enjoyable.

  • Do you think Bollywood music has transitioned from being soulful to soulless?

    I really love Retro music, I love RD Burman’s music, I love SD Burman’s and Shankar Jaikishan’s music. It’s not that I don’t love music from our era but there’s difference in it. If one wants to debate about it then there are points where one can debate on but at the same time one cannot ignore that there are people who are still working hard to make it soulful. One of the best examples is Jeet Gannguli, Mithoon Sharma and Pritam Da, whereas as a lyricist Amitabh (Bhattacharya) is doing really well. One can’t really say that no soulful music is happening.

  • Although singers have their individual music album, but audiences only prefer them singing Bollywood songs, what is your outlook towards such prejudice?

    This difference has been created lately because independent music is not that strong enough. Around 10 years back in the industry, independent music was happening and people were happy doing it, but these days one has no proper platform and even the album sells out of the market so one will obviously prefer a song which will be promoted, hence Bollywood songs are preferred more. One definitely wants to do independent songs as well as Bollywood songs, but the only difference is it hasn’t created market completely.

  • You’re among the few playback singers who stages solo concerts on a wide scale. How do you balance being a shy person off stage with being such an entertainer on stage?

    This is the only way I can connect with my fans face to face at a personal level. My inhibitions cease to exist when I'm performing.

  • How did you feel when you couldn’t qualify for the Indian Idol contest? What if you had won the title?

    All that doesn’t matter anymore. The actual journey lies between the reality shows and playback songs. Reality shows give you the recognition to survive in the industry only if you are dedicated towards what you want to accomplish. After there’s no reality show — it’s just reality. People had started to get to know me in the industry and I had work to survive. So, I didn’t have to sit and wait for people. I went to them and got an appointment, instead of mourning over what didn’t happen. Winning a singing contest title would have definitely given my career a push. But like they all say “whatever happens, happens for the best”.

  • You have won so many awards, but is it important to win awards to let the world know about your talent?

    I wouldn’t put it this way that it is important to win awards to let the world know about your talent, but everyone deserves appreciation. Some form of motivation to keep on doing better than the last time, making the next song bigger than the previous one.

  • You had to struggle a lot before making it big in the industry. Any instance where you were at your lowest and something kept you going?

    I have struggled a lot, yes, but there isn’t anything which is specifically unique about my struggle. Every singer who comes to Mumbai has to go through the same journey. You go to the music directors with your demo hoping someone or the other to acknowledge your talent. You meet other people who also want to do the same and you hear their life stories. These life stories sometimes are a lot to take in when compared with your own and I think that is what has always kept me going.

  • What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from a film personality?

    It’s a difficult question. It’s always embarrassing to get compliments. Obviously you like that, but at the same time you feel embarrassed. I have got compliments from many people. My fans keep admiring my work and complimenting me, but I never take them seriously because I believe the more you ignore the compliments you receive, the further you will go. I keep that in mind, but then there are times when you can’t ignore a compliment coming from someone like the great Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He complimented me for Aayat (Bajirao Mastani; 2015). He was not there for the recording because he was shooting at that time. When he heard the track, he was overwhelmed. And then he started embarrassing me.

  • You come from a family where music runs in your blood. What was your childhood like?

    I became interested in music because of my mother, and I learned to play the tabla when I was pretty young. I had three gurus; one taught me Rabindra Sangeet, the other taught me to play instruments and the third one worked on vocals. I would perform at a lot of local clubs, but my parents never forced me to learn music. My childhood was very normal as I come from a small place called Jiaganj in West Bengal.

  • In an age where auto tuners dominate the studios, what is the importance of riyaaz for you?

    I think riyaaz is very important and I agree that singers do use auto tuners, but you need to understand that singers are under a lot of pressure. Music has become very corporate. Since the 1980s, we have been using technologies in the studio. At that time, singers and musicians had three or four months to rehearse songs. After you practice for months, there is no room to go wrong. Now, however, with so many films being released in a year, there is very little time to rehearse a song. The maximum you get is seven days, and in that you need to understand the script, the emotions, the needs of the directors and producers. Being a dubbing artist for Pritamda, I am well versed with the plight of singers and it is very difficult to sing a new song behind the mic. Auto tuners are used for singers whose voices have beautiful textures but face a pitch problem, and for that reason, I love auto tuners. It is a small software that helps singers sound better. But there are those singers like Papon and Benny Dayal, who have perfect pitches, and this is evident from their live performances.

  • How is it performing live on stage with so many people shouting out your name?

    For me, a concert is like a house party wherein you invite your friends and sing your hearts out and the people around join you. When I am on stage I make sure to communicate with the audiences.

  • What is on your playlist?

    I listen to a lot of retro songs by Lata didi, Rafi sahib. I also listen to ghazals and semi classical tracks. I also listen to a lot of music by Coldplay.