A passionate voice

Mad about music

Born in Rishikesh, she started singing in bhajan mandalis when she was only five. At her insistence, her entire family shifted to New Delhi to ensure she could pursue her passion for singing. Meet versatile and talented singer Sonu Kakkar, the voice behind several chart topping numbers. 

“I have always wanted to sing and make a career in singing even as a child and luckily for me, my hobby became my profession. I participated in the Channel V show Pop Stars, and Bollywood music director Sandeep Chowta heard my voice and promised me a song. He called me in a couple of months and I sang the hit song “Babuji Zara Dheere Chalo” from the movie Dum. The song turned out to be one of the most popular dance songs and even today, I am known as the Babuji girl,” she smiles. 

The popularity of her debut number led her to sing one chart buster after including “Yeh Kasoor” (Jism 2), “Thothapuri Kadlepuri” (Godfather), “Mallika I Hate U”, “Hichki”, “Sun Charkhe Di” (Call Of The Lover), “Bareily Ke Bazzaar Mein” and “Aali re Sali re” (No One Killed Jessica) among others. She has also lent her vocals in the Kannada film Bin Laden apart from several Telugu and Tamil films and other regional language movies.

Recently, she accompanied Vishal Dadlani in a song called “Madaari”, for the MTV initiative Coke Studio, where she sang a part in the song originally composed and sung by Sufi stalwart Bulleh Shah. Speaking about the experience she says, “It was an amazing experience and a dream come true. It’s a lovely show, my favourite and when I got a call from MTV, I was literally jumping with joy.” 

Describing her experience working with the best names in the industry, including A.R. Rehman, Sonu says, “The experience to date has been wonderful. People have always loved my songs and it has been an honour to be appreciated. I have worked hard and this has been facilitated with the support of so many wonderful music directors.” With competition in Bollywood playback singing heating up with an influx of new singers, Sonu is not perturbed. “I think it’s great that I am part of the industry at a time when so many wonderful talented singers are coming to fore. When I sing, I immerse myself in the song and that makes the difference. I have a full throated voice and I am able to express my feelings convincingly since I get completely involved,” she says, when quizzed on what sets her apart from the herd. 

An ace performer, Sonu says that live concerts give her a high. “It’s an amazing feeling and I love being on stage because it is the best thing in the world. It’s a wonderful feeling when the audience cheers and sings along with me.” She counts Ghulam Ali Khan, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, Afshan, Abida Parveen and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan among her favourite singers. 

“Even though I have never trained formally in music, I am completely inspired by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He is my guru and I simply love his voice. My favourite genre is Sufi since I feel connected to the Supreme Power.” Despite her hectic schedules she does not miss her practice sessions.

“I practise for hours everyday. Even when I am travelling, I make sometime for riyaz.” Sonu has her hands full and is on the anvil of releasing her album. “I am glad that non-film music is making a comeback since it gives you a platform to express yourself totally, unlike film songs that are situational. I am coming up with my sufi album soon and the video has been released recently. Her enthusiasm for life and singing is certainly infectious and is sure to take her places.

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