Sonu Nigam is an Indian playback singer born to Agam Kumar Nigam and Shobha Nigam. He is a playback singer for numerous films of various languages like Hindi Kannada, Tamil, Assamese, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi and Telugu. He has also released numerous Indi-pop albums and acted in a few Hindi feature films.
Sonu Nigam began his singing career at the age of three when he joined his father on stage to sing Mohammed Rafi's Kya Hua Tera Vaada. From then on Sonu accompanied his father on his singing appearances at weddings and parties. In his teenage years he successfully participated in several music competitions. He moved to Mumbai with his father to begin his Bollywood singing career at the age of 19.
His initial years in Mumbai proved to be a struggle, beginning by singing covers of Mohammed Rafi songs, mainly for a number of Rafi Ki Yaadein albums released by T-Series. Gulshan Kumar played a key role in identifying Nigam's talent by giving him a chance to reach a larger audience.
Nigam's first movie song as a playback singer was Janam (1990), which was never officially released. He also got a break in radio commercials until he appeared on the popular TV show Sa Re Ga Ma, after which there was no turning back. He was trained by classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
Nigam started hosting Sa Re Ga Ma in 1995 with the first episode airing on 1 May 1995. The television singing talent competition soon became one of the most popular shows on Indian television. Soon after, he sang Accha Sila Diya on the album Bewafa Sanam (1995), which was very successful. Singing offers started pouring in thereafter, although slowly at first. He rose to fame with the Anu Malik composed song Sandese Aate Hain from Border in 1997. Sonu's Album Deewana with T series released in 1999, identified his talent of singing romantic songs and remains one of the most successful album ever.
Over the years, Nigam has become a major force in the Indian music industry. He has provided playback singing for a large number of Hindi movies and won many awards. His rendition of the title song of the film Kal Ho Naa Ho has been highly popular. He is recognized for his singing of romantic, rock, sad, and patriotic songs.
After the death of Michael Jackson, of whom Sonu Nigam is a huge fan and who has considerably influenced his singing (as is evident in his rendition of Dil Deewana in Pardes), Nigam released a tribute song to Jackson in collaboration with his fans on Facebook. The song made it to an 18 song global compilation of tribute songs CD The Beat of Our Hearts.
Over the years, Nigam has also given concert performances across the borders. In 2006, Sonu Nigam hosted his own radio show called Life Ki Dhun with Sonu Niigaam on Radiocity 91.1 FM, where he had the opportunity to interview music industry greats, including Lata Mangeshkar on the last aired episode.
Nigam's acting career started as a child artiste in a number of films including 1983's Betaab. As an adult, he has acted in a few more films, namely Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, Kash Aap Hamare Hote and Love in Nepal. Although his acting was much better appreciated in his last venture, none of the films have done well at the box office.
Sonu Nigam appeared as a host and judge for several singing reality shows.