The Indian singer who beats Beyoncé and Billie Eilish on Spotify

The Indian singer who beats Beyoncé and Billie Eilish on Spotify

For the last week it has been iThe fourteenth most listened to artist worldwide on Spotifysurpassing – among others – Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, the Puerto Rican star Rauw Alejandro, Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Beyoncé, Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, Dua Lipa and Coldplay too. Over the last month they have been 38 million users who compulsively and constantly listened to his hits on the popular streaming platform. He is Arijit Singh and he is maybe the greatest pop star Indian music has ever known. Definitely the biggest of the streaming era. There is no one like him among his fellow countrymen. They amount to 107.5 million followers follow him on Spotify: and the

third artist by number of fans on the platform globallybehind two Western pop superstars like Ed Sheeran (113.6 million followers) e Taylor Swift (108.2 million followers) and ahead of Ariana Grande (96 million fans), Billie Eilish (93.6 million fans), Drake (87 million followers) and Eminem (83 million followers). Figures to which those of the channelOfficial YouTubewhich matters beyond that 4 million subscribers and 2.5 billion overall views. “I got into music because I loved it, not because I wanted to be famous. My career as a singer exploded by chance,” says he, who has had an eighteen-year career he recorded a staggering 655 songs (practically an average of 36 songs per year), all interpreted in Hindi and Bengali (the most spoken in India) and almost all of them intended for the soundtracks of Indian films and TV seriesat Forbes India.

Born in 1987, Arijit Singh was born in Jianganj, Murshidabad, West Bengal, to a father of Punjabi Sikh religion (they are adherents of Sikhism who identify themselves ethnically, linguistically, culturally and genealogically as Punjabis – they are the second largest religious group of Punjabis , after the Punjabi Muslims) and from a mother of Hindu religion. He grew up in a family of musicians – his maternal grandmother sang, his maternal uncle was a tabla player and so was his mother – listening to both Mozart and Beethoven and Indian pop stars like Kishore Kumar, a sort of Indian Domenico Modugno. In 2005 he auditioned for the Indian talent show “Fame gurukul”dedicated to the promises of Indian classical music.

It was his music teacher, Rajendra Prasad Hazari, who insisted that he sign up for the selections, because “classical music was an endangered tradition”, which needed to be preserved and handed down to new generations. It wasn't a success: .he was eliminated before the final. But Singh did not throw himself away. The following year he decided to participate in another talent show, “10 ke 10 – Le Gaye dil”. She fared much better: she won the prize money of one million Indian rupees, the equivalent of 11 thousand euros. A sum that Arijit decided to invest not in useless purchases, but in building his own recording studio in Mumbaiwhere he began to compose jingles for advertising, TV theme tunes and cinema songsmaking his way into Bollywood as voice actor of films.

It was Pritam Chakraborty, star of Indian cinema, one of the most awarded composers in Bollywood, who understood his potential, encouraging Arijit to not only dub the actors, but also sing the songs he composed. The turning point came in 2013 with “Tum hi ho”contained in the soundtrack of the film “Aashiqui 2”, musical drama directed by Mohit Suri, sequel to the classic of Indian cinema of the 90s “Aashiqui”, which was itself a bollywood adaptation of “A star is born”the story of a music star who loses everything due to alcohol addiction but finds enthusiasm again thanks to his love for the young Aarohi, a promising singer who he takes under his wing.

Of the film – which was made with a budget of 2.3 million dollars and grossed 14, almost seven times the amount invested – “Tum hi ho” was practically the equivalent of the “Shallow” that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper would have recorded for the western remake of “A star is Born”: .Ten years after its release, the song has 240 million streams on Spotify and the video has 400 million views on YouTube. The song won everything it could have won in terms of recognition for Indian cinema. Nothing would ever be the same in the life of Arijit Singh, the former provincial boy who became the most requested singer by producers, directors and actors.

Growing up in the province, far from the big centres, after his great success Arijit Singh founded an NGO called “Let There Be Light”, through which he helps the less fortunate through the distribution of food, medicines, clothes and books. In his music, however, there is no form of commitment: his songs, which have become a must in the soundtracks of romantic and musical Bollywood films, from “Channa mereya” (194 million streams on Spotify) to “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” (189 million streams), are all about love.

For four years he has been the most listened to Indian artist on Spotify (the cities with the highest number of listeners are Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad). Last April 27, around 20 thousand spectators filled the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, for his show. Among the dreams in the drawer there is a duet with Coldplay: in 2017 Chris Martin sang his “Channa mereya” on the stage of the Global Citizen Festival in India. In August he will be in concert in the United Kingdom for three dates, one in Manchester (11 August), one in Birmingham (16 August) and one at the O2 Arena in London (17 August). Who knows, maybe on one of these occasions Martin will surprise him.