While some would call him a child prodigy, Armaan Malik only became a household name after the hit single, Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon (2015), composed by his brother, Amaal Malik.
Armaan’s songs in films such as Khoobsurat, Hero, Hate Story 3, Kapoor & Sons, Azhar, Baaghi, M.S.Dhoni, Baar Baar Dekho, October, De De Pyaar De, Kabir Singh, etc. have since, grown into major hits. With a stellar discography in Hindi film music, Armaan also ventured into the regional music space.
The 25-year-old singer-songwriter’s career has spanned across reality television, films, non-film music, and now his larger than life take on the English music space.
In March, last year, Armaan released his first English single, Control, under Arista Records. Since then, he has released two more English tracks, Next 2 Me, and How Many.
His single How Many and Next 2 Me, topped Billboard’s Top Triller Global chart twice, making him the first-ever artist to have achieved this feat within a year.
Trying to dig deeper into Armaan’s newfound international success and what it might mean for the Indian musicians who aspire to go international, we spoke to Armaan for our Interview of the Week.
Starting off as a young singer to growing into a megastar, your independent/non-film music career has been a major contributor. Do you think this is just the beginning? Also, what do you think that means for Indian musicians?
Independent music is here to stay and this is just the beginning. The volume of non-film music that was released last year is a testament to that very fact. I am very confident about the future of independent music, there’s massive talent out here and the time is just right.
I truly believe that India has a lot of talent and potential. We never really knew how to go about making a plunge into the global music scene up until now. 2020 has changed a lot of things for Indian artists and I can foresee Indians being up there with the big mainstream western and international acts.
Your songs have appeared twice on U.S. Billboard Triller Charts, as the only Indian artist achieving that, how did the journey start? Tell us about your vision.
I’m absolutely over the moon to know that another one of my singles has topped the Billboard-Triller charts!
How Many is a very special track and it’s so heartwarming to see how well it has been received by the audience. I have always wanted to take India to the world and this has been my lifelong dream. There hasn’t really been a precedent before and I want to be the first one to truly represent my country on a global stage.
This whole vision and idea took birth during my childhood. I have always loved singing in English, and while growing up, I used to listen to a lot of western artists like Michael Bublé, Frank Sinatra, John Mayer, Bruno Mars, and Chris Brown. The music that I am creating currently feels like it’s a part of my DNA, and that this was always destined to be my trajectory. It was quite daunting to re-introduce myself and start my musical journey all over again in this new big world of global pop.
A lot of people here in India thought I was taking the biggest risk of my career, not knowing how it will pan out and if it would affect the career I’ve built in India all these years.
However, I’m so glad that this switch has happened smoothly and I’ve received so much love and support globally be it the Spotify Times Square billboard for my debut single ‘Control’ or winning the MTV EMA Best India Act; I am very confident about this new journey!
We believe you had already written more than 50 English songs but you waited to release them. What made you feel the time was right for you now?
Here’s how it all happened.
Since late 2018, I have been making trips to L.A. to do writing sessions with a couple of writer friends of mine.
I made plenty of songs with the sole intention of releasing my English music out in the world. I wanted to let people know about this side of mine.
The thought of a label did not exist at the time.
After I came back to Mumbai, my writer friend, a mutual friend, and I heard my compositions. The mutual friend loved them. He had this wild idea of wanting to send the stuff to David Massey.
I excitedly agreed. Who wouldn’t want a highly respected record executive like David to hear their music! So he sent the tracks, and we immediately got a positive response!
David was traveling to the U.K. for the BRIT’s, at the time. So we decided to meet in London.
My mother and I flew there immediately and met David a couple of times.
We discussed how global music was blowing up, and how India was ready to be on the global map.
That is the vision that clicked with me. A few months later I signed up with Arista Records. Since then, I have been working on getting the music right.
I want to put out songs that mean something to me.
How important do you think is the Non-Film/Independent music boom for the Indian music industry?
The independent scene is growing and expanding rapidly but this music has always been there; it’s just that people are paying attention to it now.
Big songs from Bollywood or label releases aren’t being pushed as much as they were previously because shooting music videos has been very difficult due to the pandemic and in India, a song doesn’t work until there’s a proper video asset for it.
Therefore, indie music filled the void in the most brilliant way. I just don’t want the momentum to die down once film music starts taking over the scene again.
You have a huge fanbase who have been dedicatedly listening to each of your Hindi songs.
Do you think the same group is listening to your English releases? Or is it a set of new listeners that have added to the fanbase from India and abroad?
It’s a mix of both in my opinion because my Armaanians (a name given to the stans of Armaan) have always loved me all throughout and the support didn’t back down when I released English music, it strengthened further. And, due to the virtue of streaming platforms I’ve been able to reach different parts of the world! It’s just the beginning and I am glad to be making music I believe in during such an exciting time.
What stage of career do you think you are in right now?
I feel I have been reborn. I am becoming more of the artist that I always wanted to become. I’ve just only begun!