Sonu Nigam brings together 100 artistes from across India for a song
Despite the sealed borders keeping him from returning home to India, Sonu Nigam has been neck-deep in work, supporting causes for daily-wagers, and raising awareness for relief funds for the country. It’s been a month since Nigam, who is currently holed up in Dubai, began the cumbersome task of breathing life into a passion-project, the brainchild of his industry associate Srinivas. Along with Indian Singers Rights Association CEO Sanjay Tandon, the duo reached out to 100 artistes from across India for the creation of the 14-language track, One nation one voice, which is set to be unveiled by Lata Mangeshkar.
“We had been struggling to find a Sindhi [singer], and that’s when we reached out to Ghanshyam Vaswani. Though disconnected from mainstream [music], he has been a ghazal singer for decades.
My mother was proficient in Sindhi. So Ghanshyamji and I collaborated for those portions. Similarly, Papon [worked on] the Assamese [verses], Bhajan Soporiji and Kailash Kher did the Kashmiri track, Mame Khan crafted Rajasthani [verses] and Krishna [Beura], the Odia portions,” Nigam tells mid-day of the song that also includes lines in Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, and Tamil.
The coalescing of an assortment of home-bound artistes for a single track becomes simpler when employing a digitally transferable background score that they can individually lay their vocals on.
But Nigam was creating an acapella piece, which didn’t have instruments to play second fiddle in supporting his endeavour. “We sent two songs to all the singers. One [included] the base track that had been created by [a select few], and included sounds, layers and harmonies. No instruments were used to create this, and it was upon this piece that the singers [recorded their vocals]. We also gave them a reference piece of how we wanted the song to sound, but offered an empty space [for them to experiment].” Those singers who do not have a home-studio had to let the acapella piece play in the background as they recorded their vocals over it, he informs.
There’s a peculiar cheer in his voice when he talks of Asha Bhosle’s involvement in this number.
“With her being by our side, this project has become invaluable. At 86, she has opened this song like a boss. You find yourself wondering how someone at that age can sing so beautifully. I was reduced to tears on hearing her 30-second performance.”