Arijit Singh (born 25 April 1987) is an Indian singer and music composer. He sings predominantly in Hindi and Bengali, but has also performed in various other Indian languages. He is the recipient of a National Award and a record six Filmfare Awards. He is often cited as one of the best singers in the Indian and Pakistani music industries, and has established a huge fan base throughout South Asia. He is also known as the “King of Playback Singing”.
Singh began his career when he participated in the contemporary reality show, Fame Gurukul in 2005, but didn’t receive widespread recognition before the release of “Tum Hi Ho” and “Chahun Main Ya Naa” in 2013. He was declared the most-streamed Indian artist of 2020 and 2021 by Spotify. He is the most followed Asian soloist on Spotify.
Arijit Singh is an Indian playback singer and a music programmer and was born in Jiaganj, Murshidabad, West Bengal to a Punjabi father and a Bengali mother.
He initiated training in music from his house, since his maternal grandmother used to sing and his maternal aunt is trained in Indian classical music. His maternal uncle also plays the tabla. He also learnt music from his mother who sings and plays the tabla.
For studies, he went to Raja Bijay Singh High School and Sripat Singh College, a University of Kalyani affiliate. According to Singh he “was a decent student, but cared more about music”. His inclination towards music led his parents to decide on training him professionally.
He was taught Indian classical music by Rajendra Prasad Hazari and trained in tabla by Dhirendra Prasad Hazari while Birendra Prasad Hazari taught him Rabindra Sangeet and pop music.
His career began upon participating in the reality show Fame Gurukul (2005), in which he lost at the finals. After winning another reality show called 10 Ke 10 Le Gaye Dil, Singh built a recording setup of his own, beginning his journey with music programming. Subsequently, he went to become as an assistant music programmer to Pritam Chakraborty, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar and Mithoon.
He became more well-known with the release of “Tum Hi Ho” from Aashiqui 2. He was given the Best Male Playback Singer award for the song, in 59th Filmfare Awards.
Singh’s musical career began when his guru Rajendra Prasad Hazari, who felt that “Indian classical music was a dying tradition”, insisted him to leave his hometown and participate in the reality show Fame Gurukul (2005) at the age of 18. He was eliminated by audience polling, finishing in sixth place.
During the show, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali recognized his talent and had him sing “Yun Shabnami” a song scheduled to be used in his upcoming film Saawariya. During production, the script changed and the song was no longer required. It was never released. After the Fame Gurukul, Kumar Taurani, the head of Tips, signed him for an album which was never released.
He participated in another reality show 10 Ke 10 Le Gaye Dil and won. He chose to move to Mumbai in 2006 to freelance, staying in a rented room in the Lokhandwala area of the city. He invested the prize money of ₹10 Lakh from 10 ke 10 Le Gaye Dil to build his recording studio. He became a music producer and began composing music and singing pieces for advertisements, news channels and radio stations.
Singh spent a part of his early musical career as a music programmer and music producer for music directors such as Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy, Vishal–Shekhar, Mithoon, Monty Sharma and Pritam. While working with other composers he supervised the vocals, and the chorus sections, but it was while working with Pritam, that he began to produce and program music by himself.
Vocals and musical style
Arijit is often compared to singer Atif Aslam for similar voice texture and tone. Regarding this, Aslam said “If God’s kind to someone you should also respect them. Arijit has been blessed and people should respect him. I am no one to control anyone. We need to understand there’s no such thing as number one.” Music director Amaal Malik said: “…can’t compare anyone to Atif Aslam, he is a senior and has been around for years”. “Arijit is Arijit, Atif is Atif, they have their own styles and strengths”
In an interview with The Times of India, Singh mentioned that he has a “natural voice” and said he did nothing special to maintain it. He has described his voice as “nasal” and believes that it matches with all the actors. Shekhar Ravjiani of the music director duo Vishal–Shekhar wrote that Singh’s “vocal texture is brilliant. The way he emotes and the soul he puts into each song is exemplary.” India Today describes his voice as “raw and grainy”, whereas the paper’s Moeena Halim identifies his voice as soulful and baritone, while the International Business Times considers his voice “soothing”. Koimoi, in a review, commended his voice. Bollywood Hungama, in a review of Aashiqui 2, described Singh as a singer with a “rich texture and depth in his voice”. However, they suggested he should “sing smoothly”, without heavy breaths in between.NewsX acclaimed Singh’s voice.
Singh has said that he would most like to explore the classical music style. He has also said that he loves singing folk music and likes all genres except for heavy metal music—since it is too loud for him. Singh is most commonly known for his romantic songs and was associated with the tag “romantic singer”. Regarding that, Singh said the tag of romantic singer is unintentional, as he has not planned his career. He is happy with the songs that come his way and tries to do his best. Singh does not believe that doing just one type of song is “hampering” his growth. However, through his career, he has explored different musical styles, including; a club party song “Raat Bhar”, an electronic “Blame The Night”, a Punjabi Folk “Samjhawan”, a Sufi or Qawwali song “Mast Magan” and a ghazal titled “Gulon Mein Rang Bhare”. Regarding the variety, Hindustan Times stated; “he can sing nice fun songs as well”. According to Krsna “A vocalist needs to have all genres of music at his fingertips and Arijit has that.” While reviewing the soundtrack of Main Tera Hero, Bollywood Hungama felt he “shines” in the form, which is a “totally different setup” from what he has done before.
Reviewing the song “Uska Hi Banana”, Komoi described Singh’s voice as “marvelous” and Glamsham wrote he sang it intensely, emotionally and passionately. Reviewing the emotional song “Chunar” dedicated to a mother from the movie Any Body Can Dance 2 Komoi wrote Singh’s voice “truly converse the pain and the Indian musical arrangements work their magic along with the emotionally rich lyrics. The song finds an instant connect with the listener.” Singh’s “mispronunciation” of the phonetic ‘ta’ syllable was criticized by India West while reviewing the song “Chunar”. Similarly, Bollywood Hungama considered his pronunciation “flawed” in the title track of Khamoshiyan. However the producer of the film Khamoshiyan, Mahesh Bhatt said, “It is a sensational song. One of the best songs that I have heard in my lifetime and its poetry is simply brilliant.” While reviewing the rest of his tracks in the film, The Indian Express, felt that Singh’s rendition of the song sounds as “he’s on autopilot”, though Rajiv Vijayakar from Bollywood Hungama felt his rendition was “emotional”. Reviewing the song “Soch Na Sake” with music composed by Amaal Mallik from the movie Airlift Bollywood Hungama acclaimed Singh’s rendition of the song.
Singh insists on the presence of lyricists during recording sessions for a better understanding of the relevance of the words and feelings behind a song. He has said his favorite lyricists are Irshad Kamil, Sayeed Quadri, and Amitabh Bhattacharya. While talking with Subhash Ghai at a question and answers session at Whistling Woods International Campus on arts and technique of singing at the 5th Veda Cultural Hub, Arijit said “Singing is like talking. It is an art of expression. There are other factors too but they all follow on once you understand your lyrics and rhythm well. There are no rules. You just have to practice well.” Sharing his childhood memories he said, “I mostly practiced modern Bengali and Indian classical music. My guru Rajendra Prasad Hazari inspired me to practice more of modern singing as according to him Indian classical was dying.”
Singing style, impact and recognition
In an interview music director and composer, Pritam said: “Arijit is a good singer, a smart musician, and an intelligent musician as well.” Vishal Dadlani of the music director duo Vishal–Shekhar said Singh is a phenomenal singer. In another interview, he said “Arijit has the ability and the openness needed to make every recording a genuine collaboration. He’s also a really nice guy, with no ego. That helps” Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali in an Interview with The Hindu said, “Arijit Singh is very special”.
Shreya Ghoshal remarked that he “is versatile and has a soulful voice”. Shankar Mahadevan said “I knew him before he became Arijit Singh. He is an educated musician, he understands his Sargam, and he has got depth. Suresh Wadkar praised him as one of the “great singers of this generation”.
Awards and nominations
At the start of his singing career, he received nominations for the Upcoming Male Vocalist of the Year award at the 2013 Mirchi Music Awards for renditions of “Phir Le Aya Dil” and “Duaa”, winning the award for the latter. Singh was awarded the Wizcraft Honour for the Best Live Performer, and was one of the top 10 artists from across the world to be featured at The SSE Arena, Wembley in the SSE Live Awards 2016.
Singh has received four Mirchi Music Awards, six Filmfare Awards, a Stardust Award, three IIFA Award, two Zee Cine Awards and two Screen Awards. He received Filmfare awards for five consecutive years from 2016 to 2020. He received nine awards from ten nominations for the song “Tum Hi Ho” from 2013 film Aashiqui 2. He also won the (IIFA) award in the category of “The Best Male Singer” for the song “Tum Hi Ho” in 2014.
In September 2014, The National Indian Students Union UK honored Singh with the Youth Icon – Music Award. He was named the most popular artist of 2014 by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment after winning an online poll conducted by music streaming website hungama.com. Forbes India magazine’s 100 Celebrity List placed him at rank 15 in 2016. At the seventh Mirchi Music Awards in 2015, he was honored with the award for Best Male Vocalist for his rendition of the song “Samjhawan”. He was nominated for the 60th Filmfare Awards, held in 2015 under Best Male Playback Singer category for two songs “Mast Magan” and “Suno Na Sangemarmar”. He was voted online as the Best Male Singer by the readers of the IBN Live for the song “Muskurane”. He won Best Male Playback Singer award at the 61st Filmfare Awards, held in 2016 for the rendition of the song “Sooraj Dooba Hain”.
The GiMA, honoured him with awards for his rendition of the song “Soch Na Sake”, He was subsequently honored for his rendition of the most popular film and radio song “Gerua”, and the most streamed song “Sanam Re”. The Times of India Film Awards 2016, nominated him for his rendition of three songs “Aayat”, “Chunar” and “Hamari Adhuri Kahani”. In late 2016, Arijit received his first Stardust Award for Best Playback Singer (Male) for the song “Channa Mereya”. In 2017, he was nominated at Mirchi Music Awards under Male Vocalist of The Year category for four songs “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, “Channa Mereya”, “Bolna” and “Nashe Si Chadh Gayi”. He won the award for the song “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. He received a couple of nominations under Male Playback Singer category for “Channa Mereya” and “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil film in various award ceremonies in late 2016 and 2017.
He won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Tum Hi Ho” in 2014. He also won the (IIFA) award in the category of Best Male Singer for the song “Tum Hi Ho” in 2014. At the 7th Mirchi Music Awards 2015, he was awarded the Best Male Vocalist for his rendition of the song “Samjhawan”. Arijit had won IBN Live Movie Award for the song “Muskurane” in the Best Playback Singer category. He won Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Sooraj Dooba Hain” in 2016. The GiMA awarded him for his rendition of the song “Soch Na Sake”, he was awarded for the song “Gerua”, and the most-streamed song “Sanam Re”. He was awarded the Best Male Singer for the song “Channa Mereya at the Stardust Awards 2016. In 2017, at the 62nd Filmfare Awards, he won Best Male Playback Singer Award for the title song “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, and also won the Male Vocalist of The Year award at 2017 Mirchi Music Awards, for his rendition of the song. He was awarded the Best Male Playback Singer award for the song at the Zee Cine Awards in 2017.
At the 23rd Star Screen Awards, Singh was awarded the title of Best Male Playback Singer for his rendition of the song “Zaalima” and songs of Jagga Jasoos.
At the 63rd Filmfare Awards of 2018, he was awarded the Best Male Playback Singer for “Roke Na Ruke Naina” from Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and was nominated for “Zaalima” from Raees. With this win, he won the Filmfare award for four consecutive years. At the 66th National Film Awards of 2019, he was awarded with the Best Male Playback Singer for “Binte Dil” from Padmaavat.
Singh was awarded the Best Male Playback Singer for his rendition of the song “Ae Watan” from the film Raazi at the International Indian Film Academy awards. Arijit Singh is awarded Filmfare award for best male playback singer for the song “Kalank” from the movie Kalank, with this he won the award for a record five consecutive times and six times overall.