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Music calling: Tales of popular Indian musicians that will steal your heart

Four of India's most popular artistes share how they found music to be their true calling

Sonu Nigam (Bollywood/Pop)
Nigam is undoubtedly one of the best singers to have emerged from India. Apart from working in the film industry, he also has successful private albums (including Mausam, Deewana and Jaan) to his credit. His father, Agam Kumar, also a singer, guided him from childhood. "I have been singing professionally since I was four. Music is a by-product of a particular sense that many people don't perceive. I was born with that sense and thus, it came to me naturally," says 43-year-old Nigam, the voice behind hits like Main Hoon Na and Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Nitin Malik (Rock)
The vocalist of Rock band Parikrama is known for his insane high-range vocals and screeches. Till 1991, he didn't know that a band would help him design his future. "I remember playing a gig at a school in New Delhi that year. The crowd response made me realise that music was my calling," he says. The Doors, the biopic on Jim Morrison, had released that year and the band played their songs. "There was a major resurgence of The Doors' music. We played Light My Fire and The End," adds the 44-year-old.

Ehsaan Noorani (Blues/Bollywood)
Noorani had a tough time deciding whether music would provide him financial security. "In 1984, I was playing with a band called Crosswinds. I had finished college, and was confused about my professional life. I come from a family of architects, and my uncle, Munawar Noorani (also an architect) told me to study music, which surprised me. He said I should do what I enjoy doing," recalls the 53-year-old. He went to California to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood in 1985. "Then, I got a call from composer Ronny Desai to play on a jingle for Paragon shoes, and that was the start."

Lou Majaw (Folk/Country)
The legendary musician from the North East, also a Bob Dylan admirer, has been a musician for over 50 years. "I saw the guitar for the first time in 1954 but I started earning from 1965 after moving to Kolkata. I would play at a nightclub called Moulin Rouge for a fee of R5 per week," recalls the 70-year-old, who won the Dr Bhupen Hazarika Award for his contribution to music last year. "I remember playing a lot of Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves." He hadn't heard Dylan's music back then. "I heard his songs towards the end of the '60s," he adds.

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