One of Bollywood’s leading playback singers, producers and composers Arijit Singh is set to wow audiences tonight at the Sun Arena Time Square, in Menlyn Pretoria.
Singh’s breakthrough and popularity came in 2013 when he was lead and key vocalist in Aashiqui 2 where his song Tum Hi Ho won him many awards, and nominations including the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer. In 2015, he made his Tamil debut with the song Neeye Vaazhkai Enben from the film Pugazh.
In a bid to unveil this Bollywood sensation to those who might have missed his stardom, The Sunday Independent spoke with Singh before his concert tonight.
Singh said he comes from a musical background and music has always been ingrained in him from as young as three years old because both his mother and grandmother were singers.
“My mother was a singer and played the tabla. My grandmother was a singer and my aunt was trained in Indian classical music. My uncle was also a musician. My music training started at a young age at home.”
Singh grew up listening to classical music from Mozart and Beethoven and it was musicians like Cand Zakir Hussain and Zakir Hussain that he drew inspiration from, and he says is determined to keep the Indian culture alive.
In 2017, Singh lent his voice for the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and rendered a romantic song duet with Harshdeep Kaur, Zaalima for the movie Raees. He provided his vocals for the Salim-Sulaiman’s compositions Kuch Parbat Hilaayein and Babul Mora for the film Poorna.
“My musical career has been one of many ups and downs but I have never lost my passion or love for music.
“If someone can feel even the slightest bit of emotion and take something from my music then I have achieved something. Keeping Indian classical music alive inspires me.
“At the time that I started making my own music, Indian classical music was a vanishing genre, because I had grown up with this music it became my vision to keep it alive.”
Singh keeps coming to South Africa because he is always “amazed at the support that South African audiences give to international Bollywood artists and I have strong fan base in South Africa”.
“It is part of the reason why I am returning. In fact it was Osman Osman from Blu Blood who brought me out to South Africa a few years ago, that was my first ever international show and that’s why South Africa also has a special place in my heart.”
On what he thinks of the Bollywood music scene: “I’m not too familiar with specific local Bollywood/Indian performers but if the international Bollywood shows that take place in South Africa are anything to go by, the Bollywood music scene is vibrant, exciting and in demand,” he says.