Popular singer Sonu Nigam has often shared his honest opinion on various socio-political issues, but politics is one area that he is not ready to enter right now.
He has been outspoken about many topics like playing the national anthem in public places, the #MeToo movement and azaan loudspeakers.
He has also shown interest in many social causes. In the past, he had extended his support to the transgender community, held a charity concert to raise funds to educate tribal children, did a Unicef charity project, worked towards eliminating malnutrition in India and much more.
Asked if politics was on his mind, Sonu told IANS via email without mentioning the the name of any political party: "I am not ready for politics right now. I politely declined the offer which I got."
The singer has congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections. Apart from welcoming him back, he had also sung the verse "Shyam Ke Rogan Rele" for a web series on Modi. Was there an extra pressure on him as the project was based on the Prime Minister?
"No pressure at all. It's a song like any other song and I give equal importance to all the songs. This was no different," said the "Kal ho naa ho" hitmaker.
Gigs have been keeping him tied up as well. Last month, he went on his 18th US tour.
He felt that a lot has changed over time.
"With time, you change as a person, a performer, the technology changes, the taste of the audience changes, the preference etc. But one simple thing you have to keep in mind, especially in places like the US and Canada, there is a lot of attention given to the sincerity of the performer," said Sonu.
"In any other country, including India, one can still get away with somewhat average singing packaged with great production. But in America, one has to keep doing his or her best in order to attract the crowds, especially for the 18th time in 24 years.
"It helps me give my best and it's a heart-warming experience to know that I have been doing something good for the past two-and-a-half decades," added the National Award winner.
As an artiste, he has always maintained that he doesn't work towards a particular thing or task.
"In the case of collaborations, my last song ‘Hall of fame' with Jason Goldstein and MC Yogi released a couple of months ago and there are other talks going on as well. There is a wonderful singer from Poland...probably some collaboration with her too but it's too early to talk about. This year, I'm mostly busy with concerts," he said.
As for the Indian music industry, he doesn't believe that "we are lacking in anything. The American music industry is great and so is Indian music industry. Probably, the only thing that I would have appreciated in India would be that radio stations play independent music and not just film music".
He said playback singing is majorly done in India and Pakistan, which he thinks is "great because this is the uniqueness and flavour of the countries. But we must take into account the non-film music and I hope in the years to come, our radio stations understand the value of independent music and we hear it more often on mainstream radio," he added.
- Natalia Ningthoujam for IANS