Kumar Sanu, as BizAsia reported not long ago, has recently released an album, ‘Hum Aur Tum’. He was known better in the 90s onwards for his playback singing, giving his voice to the compositions of music directors including Anu Malik, Nadeem-Shravan and Jatin-Lalit. Sanu won many an award during those years but has, of late, been more associated for music outside of Indian cinema. BizAsia had the unique opportunity to speak to Sanu.
You haven’t been on the Bollywood playback scene for some time. Was this a conscious thing?
I was always in Bollywood playback but, I have been busy with live concerts and music albums due to prior commitments. I have recently sang in a movie called ‘Rowdy Rathore’ with Shreya Ghoshal. I am currently singing for Yash Raj Films. I find that the music format has changed in the past few years and the current songs is not as soulful nor lyrically meaningful as they used to be. Some of them are even using vulgar language too. I have achieved my own respectable place in the music industry that I do not feel I should sing for just any type of song just to gain money. I sing for my fans who know me for my melodious, romantic yet respectable music.
You’re releasing an album ‘Hum Aur Tum’ – tell us a little about it. Why have you decided on an album again at this point in your career?
The Princess of Malaysia Almas Noor, is a fan of mine and wished to sing with me. That is why she offered me this album. I do not think that an artist needs a certain age or certain career position to release an album. There are many debutants at the age of 12 who make their debuts at 20s, 30s or even 40s, so artists have no boundaries in this music industry.
In your time, who would you say were the best singers to duet with? And in today’s age whose talent do you most follow?
I have enjoyed working with Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Alka Yagnik, Shreya Ghoshal and Kavita Krishnamurthy. The maximum romantic duets I have done is with Asha Bhosle and Alka Yagnik. Internationally, I like listening to Adele and Celine Dion.
Would you get back into Bollywood playback fully if you were given the chance?
Regarding the Bollywood scene, I was never out of it nor ever will be because Bollywood is my lifeline. I will be a part of Bollywood with my music albums and movie songs as well. The kate Jagjit Singh, who was my Godfather, has had few limited songs in movies; however he is still a legend by numerous albums outside of Bollywood. So for me it is not by chance but rather by choice that I stay away from non-meaningful songs.
What is the one thing that annoys you about this generation of musicians/music?
One thing that I do not like about this generation of music is that there is too much noise and meaningless lyrics which puts me off especially vulgar language and no melody. Rap or hip hop genres are good but not all the time. At some point one needs to listen soulful music to calm the mind because I believe today۪s lifestyle is so hectic and busy that we tend forget to take some time for ourselves.
Recently, there has been an issue about royalties not being awarded correctly to an artist who has lent their vocals – what’s your take?
I am part of the Singer۪s Association along with all the singers based in Mumbai. We believe that royalties should be paid to those who were never given them at the time and still we are waiting for justice.
Whose playback would you most like to do out of the new generation of actors?
I would like to sing for Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. These actors I find are very mature and sensible. Especially, watching ‘Barfi’, Ranbir۪s performance was commendable.
What do you hope ‘Hum Tum’ will achieve? What will the audiences take away from the album?
It is my dedication to late Kishore Kumar and my fans will take a little bit of my heart and voice with them anywhere they go. These songs are full of romance and soul which can touch each person۪s heart.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently making albums as well as singing for various movies and also doing live concerts. My two songs Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye and Kuch Na Kaho are being used for Cancer and Celebral Palsy patients by doctors around the world. So I am hoping for this kind of thing to be continued in the future. I will also be performing for charity concerts.
BizAsia wish Kumar Sanu all the best for his album ‘Hum Aur Tum’ and thank him for taking the time to talk to us.