Sonu Nigam was born on July 30, 1973 to Agam Kumar Nigam and Shobha Nigam in Faridabad, Haryana. He had briefly spelt his name as “Sonu Niigaam” in accordance with numerology, but reverted back to his original name after some time.
Sonu Nigam completed his schooling from the J.D. Tytler School in Delhi after which he moved to Mumbai when he was 18, to pursue a career in music.His father was a stage singer who sang at wedding parties and festivals.
He has two sisters, Meenal and Neetika. Neetika is also a talented singer. Sonu married Madhurima on February 15, 2002 and the couple has a son, Nevaan who was born on July 25, 2007.
Sonu Nigam started singing when he was only three years old when he joined his father on stage to sing the song “Kya Hua Tera Waada” from the film “Hum Kisse Se Kam Nahi” in Jind, Haryana. He also acted as a child artiste in films like “Kaamchor” and “Ustadi Ustad Se” in 1982, “Hum Se Hain Zamana”, “Taqdeer” and “Betaab” in 1983. He debuted as a playback singer in Bollywood in 1990 when Usha Khanna introduced him to music director Amar Utpal, who allowed him to sing for the movie “Aaja Meri Jaan”. Sonu sang five songs in this film but four of them got rejected and the only song that made it in that film was heard by Gulshan Kumar of T-Series, which changed his life. During his struggling years, he sang a number of Mohammed Rafi songs for the “Rafi Ki Yaadein” albums, released by T-Series.
On May 01, 1995 he hosted the first episode of the popular TV singing competition show “Sa Re Ga Ma”. In 1995 he sang the song “Acha Sila Diya” in the film “Bewafa Sanam” which shot him to fame in Bollywood. He sang Anu Malik’s song “Sandese Aate Hain” in “Border” and Nadeem Shravan’s “Yeh Dil Deewana” in “Pardes” in 1997 which became super hits of the time. He also sang the title song in the movie “Kal Ho Na Ho” which is widely considered one of his best performances.
Sonu Nigam has sung in many languages, including Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, English, Bhojpuri, Nepali, Urdu, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya and Punjabi. He attained “superstar” status as a playback singer for his performances in Sandalwood (Kannada) films. His songs “Mungaru Maleye” and “Anisuthide Yako Idhu” in the 2006 film “Mungaru Male” were instant hits. He released a Kannada album called “Neene Bari Neene” in 2009 which was also a big hit.
In July 2007, he released a collection of Mohd. Rafi songs called “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” which features 100 songs from his earlier collection “Rafi Ki Yaadein”. In 2008, he released a Hindi album called “Classically Mild” following which he came out with a single Punjabi song called “Punjabi Please”. Sonu Nigam is also a huge fan of Michael Jackson and has even sung a song paying tribute to the king of pop. This song is featured in a global compilation of tribute songs to MJ called “The Beat of Our Hearts”.
Sonu Nigam also hosted a radio show called “Life Ki Dhun with Sonu Nigam” on Radio City 91.1FM in 2006 and got the opportunity to interview a number of famous personalities on his show, including Lata Mangeshkar. He also acted in films like “Jaani Dushman: EK Anokhi Kahani” (2002), “Kaash Aap Hamare Hote” (2003) and “Love in Nepal” (2004). He has also appeared in a number of other TV shows like “Indian Idol”, “Sa Re Ga Ma – Li’l Champs International”, “Amul Star Voice of India”, “Joh Jeeta Wohi Superstar”, “Chote Ustaad” and “X- Factor (India)”.
He has won a number of awards including the Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer in 2002 and 2003 as well as the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2004 among others.