It’s not his first time to Dubai and is unlikely to be his last. Sonu Nigam may be Dubai’s most familiar Bollywood fixture, but his charm doesn’t erode with each passing concert. The Kal Ho Na Ho singer will hit the stage on April 5 at the Dubai Tennis Stadium with him a 40-member troupe, as part of third du World Music Festival.
For his 11th performance in Duabi, organised by Oberoi Middle East Events, Nigam’s show, Klose To My Heart, will be a four-hour-long musical extravaganza. As the hitmaker behind songs such as Main Hoon Na and Sandese Aata Hai prepares to entertain Dubai, we take a look at 10 things you should know about him:
•Sonu Nigam’s encounter with fame began at the age of three when he sang legendary singer Mohammad Rafi’s iconic number Kya Hua Tera Waada.
•His initial years in the music industry weren’t easy. The 40-year-old singer moved to Mumbai in 1991 to hunt for a break in Bollywood films as playback talent. But that break was elusive. So he chose to sing cover versions of Rafi’s hit songs. This stint earned him the label “Rafi clone”.
•In 1993, T-series music mogul Gulshan Kumar gave him that break by offering him a song in his film Aaja Meri Jaan. But true fame came in the form of Accha Sila Diya in 1995. The song from the film Bewafa Sanam was Nigam’s first bonafide hit.
•Nigam is a successful by-product of musical talent show Sa Re Ga Ma. He wasn’t a participant in the hit show. Instead, he anchored the show and became a familiar name in all Indian households.
•His love for Dubai is well-documented. In an earlier interview, Nigam said he loves to perform in Dubai because of the love he receives from his fans in Dubai. “Dubai is truly home to some of the most musically adept listeners. They not only come to groove and dance to my songs, but more importantly, come to listen to good music. Many a time I’ve ended up singing a song without any instrumentation and in the middle of the notes, I am surprised to feel the pin-drop silence of the attentive crowd. Dubai has always given me a crowd of authentic music lovers,” said Nigam.
•Nigam has collaborated with international talents such as the Jacksons, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue.
•Nigam considers Michael Jackson one of his greatest inspirations. After the legendary singer’s death, Nigam released a song as a tribute to Jackson, in collaboration with his fans on Facebook. The song made it to an 18-song global compilation of tribute songs, The Beat of Our Hearts.
• Nigam has become choosy with the kinds of songs he wishes to be associated with. “For the last five years, I have controlled myself completely and I think one should work with only such people where there is a bonding and good work.”
• His mantra behind his soaring success? “If you ask me about my success story, the secret is I know when to pull myself back. I don’t overexpose myself; I give proper gaps whenever I can.”
• Apart from singing, Nigam has dabbled in acting in Bollywood films. However, his fans preferred to hear him than watch him on the big screen.