Singer Armaan Malik looking forward to Dubai concert on November 25

The popular artist dropped into the Khaleej Times office for a chat


Enid Grace Parker

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Photo: Ehaab Qadeer
Photo: Ehaab Qadeer

Published: Wed 23 Nov 2022, 5:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Nov 2022, 5:28 PM

Indian singer Armaan Malik is all set to enthrall his UAE fans on Friday, November 25 at The Agenda, Dubai Media City, as part of the Winter Music Fest. Armaan dropped into the Khaleej Times office on Wednesday to talk up his show, also delving into his success as an independent artist post Bollywood success, and his mission to take Indian music to the global stage.

A quick chat with the singer who has given us many memorable hits like Hua Hain Aaj Pehli Baar and Naina, and recently picked up his second MTV EMA for Best Indian Act.

Armaan, congratulations on your second MTV Europe Music Award. How does it feel?

It feels amazing because as an Indian artist, it’s always been a dream of mine to take my music and artists from India global and I’m so glad that I have been able to do it for the second time now.

I hope and wish that more of these opportunities come my way and to other Indian artists as well. I just want India to shine on the global stage; that’s been a dream of mine and I want to do more in that direction.

Indian music is often associated with Bollywood; you’ve created many memorable tunes in the film industry, but how challenging is it to break out of that mould and record independent music?

When I was 15, I had expressed to my father (composer Daboo Malik) that I wanted to do independent music. But he told me, son, this is India, and India is full of Bollywood music! Why don’t you do Bollywood music and playback singing for a few years and once you’ve established a name for yourself, use that and leverage it for your independent and international music career.

I’m so glad that I got that advice so early on. It’s definitely a big advantage when I’ve made a name for myself and having those fans and listeners, I take it to the other side which is independent and global music.

The transition was not easy. I made it in 2020 during the pandemic. I release a single called Control and everyone was like, wait, what is Armaan doing? Has he left Bollywood? What is happening?

Those were the first reactions. But the more I did English pop music, that’s when people realized, okay, he is serious about it. He’s not doing a one-off song just to be cool and say that, oh, I sing in English as well. That’s not what my main aim was. It’s always been a dream of mine, as a singer, as a musician, to do pop music but the situation was such that the main consumption was Bollywood music.

But I made sure that all these years later the 15-year-old Armaan’s dream did not die. So my dad had these dreams for me as well, which I fulfilled and then I said, now let me do what I want to do!

I feel I’ve been able to carve a separate identity as an independent singer while also being a playback singer or the Armaan Malik that everyone knows.

You have a very hectic schedule, you’re currently on an India tour, and now you’re here, performing tomorrow at The Agenda for the Winter Music Fest. Can you tell us a little about what fans can expect?

I’m performing in Dubai after a long time and I’m super excited to meet all my fans, all my ‘Armaanians’ from here. There are a couple of songs that I’ve released that I’m really excited to perform for the very first time on the stage.

Just meeting my fans, singing for them, interacting with them, offering a new show, a new design, a new audiovisual experience is always something that I look forward to. And I cannot wait to party with them, to make them feel all the feels and emotions because that’s what almost all my songs are about.

How do you want Indian music to be defined on a global stage today?

I don’t think we should define Indian music in any way because we have so many cultures and sub-cultures within India. Being a multi-lingual singer, I know how varied Indian music is.

While I sing a Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon or a Bol Do Na Zara in Hindi, I also sing a Butta Bomma in Telugu. While all that is happening I’m also singing songs like Control, You and Echo which a different section of the audience is listening to. The North East listens to a lot of Western pop music, the South has its own kind of music. So I don’t think we should define Indian music as anything - whatever Indian artists are doing, is Indian music. And that’s what we should take global.

The only thing is that Hindi as a language hasn’t yet broken the barrier that Korean, Spanish and other languages have done and I hope to change that. I’ve slowly done this transition where I’m doing a Hindi-meets-English kind of a vibe, so that when people abroad listen to our music, they are kind of interested in what we are saying but also relating to the English lyrics in a way so that they can understand the song faster. So I’m trying through that to take Hindi music or Indian music global and I hope I am successful in my mission.

Tickets for Armaan Malik's Winter Music Fest concert are available on Platinumlist.

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