Another day, another stamp in our musical passport thanks to Passport Playlist, a series where we at THP spotlight new artists from all over the world! Music is a universal language that speaks for all of us. We believe that music should not be limited to linguistic boundaries, so here, we introduce you to some of the world’s undiscovered artists to bless your ears! They’ll make a great addition to all your favorite music playlists.
Our lovely readers, get your luggage and your passport ready because today we are flying across the Atlantic Ocean to learn about some astonishing artists that your playlist needs to have! We will be traveling to the enchanting, exotic, and incredible India: Home of Bollywood legends such as Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, and Sonu Nigam, as well as classical gurus like Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Jagjit Singh, and more.
India is a multicultural, vibrant country that offers a feast for all your senses. It is known for its exquisite colors, breathtaking landscapes, mouth-watering multi-cuisines, and rich heritage. The melodic richness of Indian music is unparalleled because of the ragas and emotions, and Indian musicians are striving to make a mark on the world stage.
Early on, classical and traditional music was more widely known, which later paved the way for sophisticated Bollywood songs from the 1970s to the 1990s. However, the current music scene has leveled up and incorporates foreign tones, offering more pop, rock, rap, and indie music! Some artists are gaining the global recognition they deserve, but there are plenty of artists whose music hasn’t really ventured outside of the realm of their territory. While many people associate Indian music with just playback singing (when an actor lip syncs to a musician’s song) and soundtrack scores for Indian films, the younger generation and rising stars aim to take it to a new level in the years to come.
Indian music is so diverse that it is hard to describe its essence and beauty in a single article. But to give you a little desi flavor, we present you with some of our favorite Bollywood singers who exude a romantic glow, as well as some heartthrobs who exemplify the music scene in modern Bollywood. Here’s your chance to discover some of the best Indian music artists, Bollywood style!
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Arijit Singh is a name that conjures up feelings of love, admiration, and tenderness, and for some fans, his voice is synonymous with these emotions. There’s a good chance he has sung most of the songs that have strummed your heartstrings over the past decade, including the ultimate love anthem, ‘Tum Hi Ho.’ Arijit is one of the most talented, eclectic, and well-rounded musicians in India. He shows off his versatility through his incredible vocal range that varies from strong falsetto to softer angelic tones, as well as a deep understanding of Indian classical music and the different musical styles it has influenced. He’s known as the “King of Playback Singing” and has numerous accolades under his belt as he continues to set new records, strive for perfection, and deliver outstanding performances. He is also the most-streamed Indian artist of 2020 and 2021, and the most-followed Asian solo artist on Spotify. Pretty impressive if you ask us!
Songs we recommend: ‘Tum Hi Ho,’ Raabta,’ ‘Khairiyat,’ ‘Agar Tum Saath Ho,’ ‘Humdard,’ ‘Hawayein,’ ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,’ and ‘Samjhawaan.’
Armaan Malik is a Bollywood heartthrob who taps into millions of hearts with his soulful, heartwarming, and romantic multilingual songs. He rose to prominence at a young age and is one of India’s most popular, versatile, and highest-paid singers today. With an impressively diverse discography, his music caters to a wide array of moods. Following his success in Bollywood, he now aims to conquer the global pop industry with stellar English singles like ‘You,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Echo,’ which are already on heavy rotation in our playlists. With over two billion global streams, a mile-long musical resume, and a renowned family background, spanning over three generations of Bollywood music, Armaan Malik continues his family’s musical legacy while making his own shining statement.
Songs we recommend: ‘You,’ ‘Control,’ ‘Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon,’ ‘Kuch Toh Hai,’ and ‘Jab Tak.’
Jubin Nautiyal has made his mark as one of the most sensational playback singers and prominent performers in Bollywood! Partly thanks to his father’s own passion for singing, he has loved music from a young age and plays several instruments, with a solid foundation in classical music. His exceptional tenor range and distinctive vocal quality, coupled with his impressive abilities playing the harmonium, drums, guitar, and piano, set him apart from other artists. He has recorded several songs in Indian languages since his debut, including indie albums and singles in Urdu and Hindi. His roots run deep in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and he now ravers all over the nation. It’s only a matter of time before he gets global recognition!
Songs we recommend: ‘Humnava Mere,’ ‘Raatan Lambiyaan,’ ‘Tum Hi Aana,’ ‘Dhal Jaun Main,’ ‘Kaabil Hoon,’ and ‘Zindagi Kuch Toh Bata.’
AR Rahman is an internationally-acclaimed and highly regarded Indian music composer, record producer, singer, and songwriter. He’s mostly known for his work in the Tamil and Hindi film industries, but his fame extends to Hollywood! He has also composed beautiful background scores for various films and stage musicals. Rahman is known for his musical versatility and ability to incorporate varied musical styles into his background scores, which feature elegant, lush orchestrations and serene ambient tones that instantly capture audiences. He seamlessly fuses transcendent genres and layers contemporary and traditional Indian instruments together, alchemizing outside influences and turning them into astonishing artworks. It’s no surprise that his admirers call him “Isai Puyal,” or “Musical Cyclone,” and “the Mozart of Madras!”
Songs we recommend: ‘Dil Se Re,’ ‘Jai Ho,’ ‘Rehna Tu,’ ‘Kun Faya Kun, and ‘Naadan Parinde.’
One of the most famous female playback singers of Bollywood, Shreya Ghoshal has been winning our hearts for over two decades! She has recorded songs for both films and albums in multiple Indian languages and has established herself as a leading playback singer in the Indian music industry. She rose to prominence right from her debut with Devdas in 2002 and quickly received numerous awards. Since then, her charismatic voice has graced scores for hundreds of Indian films! In addition to her enchanting, angelic vocals and unparalleled singing, Shreya possesses extensive and impressive musical knowledge along with a warm personality that captivates her audience. She has been performing in musical concerts worldwide, with her lush, romantic songs still humming in the ears of every music fan. She is also the first Indian singer to have a wax figure in the Madame Tussauds Museum.
Songs we recommend: ‘Sunn Raha Hai,’ ‘Agar Tum Mil Jao,’ ‘Saans,’ ‘Samjhaawan,’ ‘Jaadu Hai Nasha,’ ‘Deewani Mastani,’ ‘Teri Ore,’ Ye Ishq Hai.’
Sunidhi Chauhan is a multifaceted and accomplished vocalist with an effervescent and soulful singing style, well-suited for all genres. Her repertoire includes over 8,000 songs in Hindi and many regional languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil, Odia, Rajasthani, and Haryanvi. Sunidhi possesses a distinctively deep voice and can reach high octaves and switch her pitch effortlessly, exuding charisma. Her feminine timbre elicits a passionate, ferocious, and sensual tone when she gets into the mood and draws out the emotions. Her music fuses pop, hip-hop, and R&B, and her lively energy shines through her diversified singing.
Songs we recommend: ‘Desi Girl,’ ‘Kamli,’ ‘Maskhari,’ ‘Bhaage Re Mann,’ ‘Hey Shona.’
Ananya Birla has established herself as one of the most exciting new artists of Indian descent on the international pop scene! Her music exudes an effervescent and intoxicating fusion of pop, R&B, and electro, highlighting her dynamic vocals and energetic style. Passion, authenticity, and originality are the ingredients that have made her a rising sensation. She went from playing a few intimate gigs around London to amassing millions of streams on Spotify and performing at music festivals like Global Citizen and Sunburn. She is also a successful entrepreneur in addition to her music career! Ananya has founded Svatantra Microfin, which offers empowers underprivileged women in rural India to become financially independent, and Mpower, an organization working to reverse the stigma associated with mental illnesses and providing care in India.
Songs we recommend: ‘Better,’ ‘Unstoppable,’ ‘Circles,’ and ‘Meant To Be’
Guru Randhawa is one of the most hard-working musicians out there, making music as a singer-songwriter, Bollywood composer, and rapper! He’s famously dabbled in various genres, including Bhangra, Indi-pop, and Punjabi, as well as singing on many Bollywood film scores. His surreal vocals and infectious swagger will make you want to sway and dance your socks off once you hear catchy hits like ‘Lahore’ and ‘Suit.’ His talent has even gotten him attention on the global stage – he released ‘Slowly Slowly’ with Pitbull in 2019 and recruited British singer Jay Sean for ‘Surma Surma’ in 2020. And when he’s rapping, he fuses Punjabi and Hindi music for a performance that will leave everyone floored! Guru is one of India’s most promising acts and you should not miss out on him.
Songs we recommend: ‘High Rated Gabru,’ ‘Suit,’ ‘Lahore,’ ‘Ban Ja Rani,’ and ‘Ishare Tere.’
Badshah is one of the top-earning Indian artists, known for not only his raps but also his colorful outfits and love of sneakers! He loves fusing Punjabi and Hindi lyrics with a dash of Desi that feels very rootsy. His music is very infectiously groovy, and it’s popular with both Millennials and Gen Z. He’s also known for composing several successful Bollywood soundtracks. If you are getting ready to dance in the club tonight or just tap your feet, Badshah has you covered.
Songs we recommend: ‘Kar Gayi Chull,’ ‘Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai,’ ‘Heartless,’ ‘Kala Chashma,’ and ‘Proper Patola.’
With our exclusive playlist, you’ll not only get a taste of Desi flavors, but also some gems of Indian music that will get you intoxicated and make your heart beat faster.
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Khushboo Malhotra works as a freelance journalist, digital marketing & media strategist, and content marketer featured in various global and national media publications and works alongside B2B, B2C, and eCommerce brands. A wide range of her work spans music and entertainment culture, sustainable lifestyle (including sub-niches), and SaaS. She enjoys writing novels and designing screenplays, grooving at concerts, or exploring new fashion and cuisines that tickle her taste buds when she is not working. Have a story? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org