If one were to take a look at Armaan Malik’s discography, they’d have a hard time believing that he is only 23 years of age. While the playback singer had done good work in 2014 and 2015, he truly broke out in 2016 when he sang for films like Kapoor & Sons, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Baar Baar Dekho, Airlift and Baaghi. Since then, Malik has been a fixture on the Bollywood music scene and has become quite a hot property in the film industry.
In an exclusive conversation with MW, the singer shares his plans for 2019, his take on nepotism and why there’s “painful music” being produced these days.
You’re pretty young and have already accomplished so much. Is there ever a fear of saturation? Do you feel like “now what?”
The driving force for me to keep going is the hunger I have for bigger dreams and aspirations immediately after I achieve something huge. I don’t get too happy with any accomplishment and I feel that’s a good way to keep the fire burning. I believe a lot in higher power and patience. Every time I ask myself the question “now what?” The universe answers back to me to wait and be patient, it’s all going to happen.
Are there any regrets? Any projects you wish you had taken up but couldn’t?
Honestly, I am the kind of person who doesn’t dwell too much in the past. I don’t hold regrets. I move on. My motto (just like my Instagram bio) has always been- “onwards and upwards, no looking back.” I always stay true to this.
Nowadays, we see actors venturing into the field of music. Have you ever thought about acting?
I have never thought about acting. My focus and passion have always been music. Many people have asked me to join the films but I never took that route. I personally feel just the way I devoted my life to music, any other art form equally requires that kind of devotion and effort. For me, there’s so much more to do in the music itself that I can’t think of myself doing something I hardly know about or feel comfortable doing. Having said that, if in the future, I ever take up acting, I will only do it if I’m fully prepared with all the chops and skills that come with the job.
There’s no doubt that you’re talented – you’ve had a hit song almost every year. But do you think belonging to a family connected to cinema has helped you?
I’m literally fried of answering this question (laughs). Despite being from a well-known family I participated in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa to compete with talents across the nation on my own steam. I sang jingles and songs for composers like Amit Trivedi, Vishal-Shekhar and Salim-Sulaiman only on the basis of how I vocally delivered as a singer. I chose to take my own route and carve my own career. I agree that certain relationships that my parents have had in the industry have helped me get to the door of opportunity but that is all. After that, if I didn’t deliver I wouldn’t be singing the song. Talent prevails – not the name.
Which song do you think has truly been a gamechanger in your career?
Bol Do Na Zara. This is that one song that really reached out to the listeners the most and gave me the recognition I enjoy today. I’ve noticed that when people mention my name anywhere, Bol Do Na Zara is definitely mentioned in the same breath. Hence I can easily ascertain that it’s been a game changer for me.
You and Amaal collaborate together very often. Is it easier or tougher because he is your brother? How do you settle your differences?
It’s easy and tough both. It’s easy because he and I both know what we want and how we want the song to sound. It gets tough when he wants me to unlearn a few things. I’m a perfectionist and he doesn’t like perfection, he likes rawness, honesty and feel and that is sometimes those are toughest things to achieve. We settle it by fighting till a point where we don’t want to see each other (laughs). Then I sing the song in anger and it all happens in one go, he approves it, and we both go home happy. These creative fights are for the better of the song and ultimately the song gets the best takes it deserves.
Amaal has previously complained about stagnation in the music industry. Did you agree with him then and do you agree with him now?
I completely agree with him. The music industry has been churning out some really painful music recently and it’s disheartening to see creative souls being brutally forced to do music they don’t wish to put out. Hopefully, this phase shall come to an end and creativity flourishes once again.
How do you deal with the intense competition in the industry?
I have blinders on. I don’t look at anyone as competition. Everyone is different and brings their own element to the table which is how it should be. I am busy focusing on my career and my life and that way I function better.
Who has been your inspiration?
I look up to a lot of people but Sonu Nigam has been my biggest inspiration. His singing and musicality has always inspired me and I’m lucky to be have interacted with my closely many occasions
Is there anybody you would like to work with?
Among the composers, I would love to sing for Pritam and among the actors, my dream is to sing for the king of romance – Shah Rukh Khan.
What’s your biggest takeaway from 2018?
2018 taught me to be a lot more persistent, resilient and patient. This helped me be at peace with myself and my surroundings. The quote that really resonated with me last year was – “I’ve not come this far, to only come this far.” I look forward to only bigger and better things from here on!
What’s new for you in 2019?
EVERYTHING. I am a coach on the Indian version of the popular international singing reality TV show – The Voice. It’s surreal to know that 13 years back, I was a contestant on a show and now I’m on the other side of the table scouting young and upcoming singing talents in the country that too alongside legends like AR Rahman Sir and Adnan Sami. Also, working on some really different non-film music this year. I can’t wait for the fans to hear these new musical flavours from me.