Ever since his first non-film song -- Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag -- released in 1998, Mika Singh has been a name to reckon with, in the Indian music industry. While Bollywood music has undergone several changes in terms of the evolution of its sound and the music-making process, the singer has never been out of work.
Apart from singing, Mika also tried his hand at acting in a Bollywood film last year with Balwinder Singh Famous Ho Gaya (2014), which failed to impress moviegoers. But the singer-musician says it was a learning experience for him, and that there is no looking back. On the sidelines of a singing reality TV show that he is currently a 'coach' (judge) on, Mika discusses his acting plans, solo projects, and how controversies 'follow' him.
Your first Bollywood acting project did not fare well. How was the experience?
It was memorable for me. I got to work with popular actors like Anupam Kher and Rajpal Yadav, and Shaan (singer), who is like a brother to me. I got to learn a lot about acting and filmmaking.
Are there any other acting ventures in the pipeline?
I am working on a few projects, but I can't share the details until thingsmaterialise. Acting and production have always interested me.
Do you think you have evolved as a singer over the years?
I believe innovation is the key to evolving as an artiste. I always make new music, and explore different genres. I also sing in various languages, and continue to diversify my style of singing.
You are known for your unique style of singing, as well as your strong stage presence. Is there a tip you would give young singers?
I have always had a unique style. When I entered the music scene, almost 18 years ago, playback singing was at its peak. I changed that trend by becoming a power-packed performer, and not just a playback singer. It feels good to see young singers follow that trend today, and perform well. It's very important to have your personal style and attitude.
You are often associated with controversies. Many people feel such stories help them stay in the news. What is your take on this?
I have always asserted that controversies follow me, and I don't invite them. But, they have never fazed or discouraged me. I will continue to focus on pleasing my fans by singing their favourite songs.
Are you planning to release a solo album?
I am working on a few solo projects currently, and I will make an announcement soon.
What else interests you, apart from singing and acting?
My initiative, Divine Touch, is closest to my heart. We help destitute women and girls secure a future through education. I dedicate a lot of my time to it. I also enjoy outdoor activities and adventure. I like to visit my farmhouse, where I spend time with my pets.
Among the younger crop of Bollywood singers, who are your favourites?
I feel India is full of young talent. I am very fond of Yo Yo Honey Singh, who is like a brother to me. He has a distinct style. Arijit (Singh) is also terrific. Among the female voices, I like Jasmine Sandlas and Kanika Kapoor, who have become quite popular now. I'm proud that there is no shortage of good singers in our country.