Arijit Singh: Soulful Voice

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A Star On Screen and Off

Listening Post 48. Hollywood playback singers are traditionally heard but not seen. In Bollywood, however, the performers whose voices appear on film soundtracks are often as renowned as the actors who appear on screen. Arijit Singh’s 30-track Soulful Voice may seem like a greatest hits album, but it’s actually a collection from just the first three years of his film career; while all the tracks are in Hindi, he has recorded in seven languages. Singh’s resonant, velvety voice earned him a Filmfare Award (the Indian Oscar) for Aashiqui 2, a drama about a musician whose romantic life is complicated by drinking. In the film’s lead song, Tum Hi Ho (You’re the One), he struggles with making things right: “I live for you every day,” he intones, “your name is in my every breath” (video 1). In Kabhi Jo Baadal Barse (When the Clouds Rain)—from the comedy/thriller Jackpot—he gives voice to a street-smart protagonist trying to impress his girlfriend: “I want to live in your shadow,” he croons, “Whether you give me sadness or joy, I’ll bear it” (video 2). In Mast Magan (Captivated Heart), a Sufi/Qawwali-influenced composition from the romcom Two States, Singh channels a shy college student pursuing his study partner: “Without you I wouldn’t live in a crystal palace/With you even stale bread is fine,” he pleads (video 3). Singh is a common surname in India, derived from the Sanskrit word for “lion.” In this case, it also serves in English as the perfect professional denominator. (Super Cassettes Industries/Universal Music India)

 


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