Rapidly rising star Armaan Malik was around five years old when he first performed on stage.
It was then that his acclaimed music director father Daboo Malik noticed his flair for music and enrolled him into Hindustani classical lessons. From there began Armaan’s interesting journey in music and singing, which included being a finalist in the reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil’ Champs at the age of nine and singing his first Bollywood song when he was 11 in the movie Bhootnath.
Hailing from a musical family that also includes brother Amaal Malik and uncle Anu Malik, who are renowned music directors, the young singing sensation is making a name for himself as a playback singer.
Armaan has delivered songs in major movies including this month’s biggest release Baar Baar Dekho and established himself as a popular live performer. Not surprisingly there is great excitement ahead of his first major UK concert at London’s SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday (September 24).
Eastern Eye caught up with the talented 21-year-old to talk about his incredible rise, music, his forthcoming concert, performing live and the best advice he ever got.
How much did growing up in a musical family shape you as an artist?
The atmosphere at home was always musical. I grew up listening to my grandfather, uncle and dad’s compositions. This made a huge impact on my musicality early on. My elder brother Amaal introduced me to western music and that’s how I started listening to and getting inspired by mainstream artists. My music style is a combination of Indian music and western popular music. I’ve always wanted to arm myself with as much musical knowledge as possible so that I can be a versatile world artist.
Who was your biggest musical influence?
My brother Amaal. He is a true composer at heart, so he would always play me music from around the world and explain the different nuances of all kinds of music to me. I have learnt how to produce music, work on a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Logic Pro and so much more, because of him.
How would you describe your time in Bollywood?
I would like to describe this as an interesting phase where I’m getting to know myself better as a vocalist with each passing song. At the same time, I’m also enjoying the success that I’m getting for my music. It feels awesome to know the public has literally seen me grow as a singer, right from my debut.
Which songs are your personal favourites?
My favourite songs are Abhi Mujhme Kahin (from Agneepath) and Jeena Jeena (from Badlapur) because they are composed so beautifully and rendered so magically by my favourite singers Sonu Nigam and Atif Aslam, respectively.
Among the songs I’ve sung, Bol Do Na Zara (from Azhar) is my favourite track. It feels funny saying this, but I keep listening to this particular song on repeat and smile.
Are you drawn to the slower love songs?
I love singing love songs. however cheesy that may sound. I have a penchant for singing such songs, and I’ve been attracted towards melodies. However, I have always wanted to be a versatile singer, so I also sing in different styles and genres. I’ve never limited myself to anything at all. Apart from romantic numbers, I really love EDM.
Which music director has challenged you the most?
My brother. He is the toughest composer to please. Even though I’m his brother, he never lets me take anything lying down. I have to put in extra effort to make his compositions come to life. Well, that’s what I feel makes me a better artist. The grind I am put through by him helps me grow and shine.
How much do you enjoy performing live?
I prefer singing live to recording a song in the studio. I love being with my fans. I love how I get to see my songs come to life on stage and that whole euphoria makes me feel heavenly and awesome.
Which has been your most memorable concert?
I’ve not been to many live concerts actually. I’ve only managed to catch my favourite artists online through their concert videos. Some of my favourite live performers are Bruno Mars, John Mayer and Sonu Nigam, from whatever little I have heard and seen.
How much are you looking forward to your UK show next week?
I am super excited to meet the people in the UK and spread my music and love to them. This is my debut show there and I feel blessed to be able to play a prestigious venue like the SSE Arena so early on in my career. I’m also really looking forward to meeting my #Armaanians and sharing some special moments with them.
What can we expect from your concert?
My UK show will be a musical journey loaded with a lot of emotions, energy and excitement. There will be ballads, dance music, some pop/rock arrangements of my hit Bollywood songs and songs that I personally love. I strongly feel there’s a song for everyone at the #ArmaanMalikLive concert.
Which songs do you enjoy performing live?
I enjoy performing all kinds of songs, from ballads to dance tracks, but some of my personal favourites are Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon, Buddhu Sa Mann, Sab Tera and Wajah Tum Ho.
Which classic numbers do you like singing?
I love singing quite a few classic songs. Some of my favourites are Kishore Kumar’s Pyaar Manga, Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna and Chand Chupa.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
I would love to collaborate and work with artists like Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Zedd to name a few.
Tell us something that not many people know about you?
I may seem like a very outgoing and sociable person from the outside, but I’m very intimate. I have my own private space and carefully select the people I want to be around or want around me. Armaan in person is different from the Armaan Malik the world knows and I prefer keeping it that way.
What are your big passions away from music?
I have a passion for food – I love food as much as I love music and that’s a lot. I have this dream of opening my own restaurant or café in the near future. Let’s hope I get around to doing that.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
My dad always inspires me and gives me the best advice. He once told me, ‘in the line of work that you are in, just remember this, don’t be over-humble or over-confident, be sane. That’s all you need to be.’
This piece of advice changed my whole perspective on life. It’s very easy to get success and go power mad with it, especially when you get it young. I’m glad I have people like my father to guide me in the right direction.
Who is your all-time singing idol?
Sonu Nigam. I think he’s one of the most gifted singers of our time. He is just impeccable in his pitching, feel and rendering of songs. Something I have learned from observing him singing live is his ability to replicate the studio recording of his songs – he sounds exactly like it on stage.
Have you ever used your singing skills to woo a girl?
(Laughs) Definitely, it is my strongest weapon. Add a guitar to it, and you’re sorted. Well, it may not always be that easy when it comes to a girl, though, because sometimes it takes more than just musical skills or good looks to woo a girl. Girls are much more complicated than that. But my singing surely comes in handy!
If you could ask any singer or musician, living or dead, a question, what would it be?
I would love to ask Justin Bieber if he can ever stay sane with the kind of madness and euphoria around him.
Which new instrument would you want to learn?
I would love to learn the drums. I have always been a fan of rhythmic instruments since I was a kid. I beat-box kind of well, but for me that’s not satisfactory enough. I definitely want to pick up the drums.
Finally, why do you love music so much?
It’s something that feels heavenly. I feel that I am connected to a higher power, making me forget all my tensions and worries. It’s as simple as that.
Armaan Malik will be live in concert at the SSE Arena, Wembley in London on Saturday (September 24) with a full live orchestra. Log onto www.ssearena.co.uk, www.axs.com and www.thestarsline-event.com for details.