Malik debuted as a Bollywood singer in 2007 with Aamir Khan’s “Taare Zameen Par” under the musical direction of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio and has enjoyed a glittering career since then, singing for films in the Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali-language industries. He released non-film album “Armaan” in 2014 and has recorded several singles and albums since.
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Having more than 14.5 million followers on Spotify, Malik has over 9.5 million monthly listeners on the platform. He has a total of 10 billion streams for more than 250 songs in different languages and more than 50 million followers across platforms. Earlier this year Malik and Warner Music India revealed a strategic partnership to launch new record label Always Music Global.
The singer was born into a musical family. His father Daboo and brother Amaal are both composers, as was his grandfather Sardar. “Growing up in a family of musicians definitely had a big impact on my musical choices. During my early years, I was exposed mainly to Bollywood music and my favorite musicians while growing up were Sonu Nigam, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi,” Malik told Variety. “However, my teenage years are when I veered towards a whole new world of Western music which included records from artists like Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé, John Mayer and Bruno Mars. That’s the kind of music I think truly shaped my artistry as a vocalist and songwriter both. In recent times, I look up to my contemporaries like Justin Bieber, Charlie Puth and Ed Sheeran.”
“To sing for composers like A.R. Rahman, Ilaiyaraaja, Pritam, and Shankar-Ehsan-Loy who are absolute legends from my country are what I would consider some of the biggest opportunities in my career so far,” Malik added.
However, being from a family of musicians did present some issues. “Being a young artist who hails from a big music family comes with its own unique set of challenges. Firstly, a lot of people believed that because I’m a Malik I would easily get all my work from my family members, so they would not approach me for projects,” says Malik. “Secondly, when you are a young artist in the industry, people don’t take you and your talent seriously, which is why I’ve had to prove myself over and over again over the years.”
Besides appearing in his music videos, Malik also acted in 2011 film “Kaccha Limboo.” “I’ve always been a true-blue musician from the very beginning and even though many acting offers came my way, I never really took them up,” said Malik. “I would love to act someday when the right opportunity comes up, but the project has to be extremely meaningful for me and probably something related to music.”
Earlier this year, Ed Sheeran released single “2Step.” There were 13 global remixes of the track and the Indian version featured Malik. “I’m always ready to collaborate with like-minded artists who make good music. The collaboration with Ed Sheeran on ‘2step’ was something I’ve dreamed of for a very long time and I’m so glad it came true,” said Malik. “Taking India to the world has always been a dream of mine, so if that means many more such collaborations — I’m game!”
Watch an excerpt from “Tu/You” here:
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