Armaan Malik Talks About His Bond With Ed Sheeran: ‘He Is Excited To Do More Things In India’ – News18

Royal Stag BoomBox’s latest season brought together the worlds of Bollywood and hip-hop once again, showcasing top artists such as Badshah, Neeti Mohan, and Armaan Malik. This season also featured hip-hop talents like Dino James, Ikka, and Dee MC, along with pop artist Nikhita Gandhi and DJ-producer Ali Merchant.

Aside from the collaborative releases of brand-new tracks by these artists, Royal Stag BoomBox started off with a series of grand gigs in various cities such as Indore, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Pune. While Gandhi, Mohan, and James were all part of the first season, this time they teamed up with different partners like Armaan Malik, Badshah, Merchant, Dee MC, and Ikka.

Armaan Malik who returned for this season spoke about the concept of merging Bollywood music with Hip Hop. Rising to fame as a finalist on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs, Armaan secured the eighth position through public support. Coming from a family deeply rooted in the Bollywood music industry for three generations, Armaan is the son of music director Daboo Malik and Jyothi. His family lineage includes his grandfather, the renowned music director Sardar Malik, and his great uncle, the lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri. In the succeeding generation, Armaan’s father Daboo and uncle Anu Malik are distinguished music directors and occasional singers. The musical legacy continues in the third generation with Armaan’s elder brother Amaal Mallik, also a music director.

In an exclusive chat with News18 Showsha, Armaan opened up about his musical journey in Bollywood and beyond.

Here are the excerpts:

Royal Stag Boombox has created a unique blend of Bollywood and Hip-Hop. What drew you to this project and what can fans expect from your participation this year?

I have been associated with Royal Stag Boombox for the last two years, and I think the property really resonates with me with respect to the fact that really cool artists come together, and in general I don’t think we have the time or I would rather say we are unable to make the time to come together, collaborate, do songs, perform, which I think is a beautiful initiative by the brand bringing all of us together on one stage. The second part is obviously the fusion of Bollywood music and Hip-Hop. Very rarely do we see stages and concerts and music curated in a way where we get to see eclectic genres come together. Definitely very excited even for this year. I think, you know, out of the two concerts that I was scheduled to do for Royal Stag Boombox, in Indore and Pune, our intention with the whole project is to reach out to the youth because that’s the sound of the generation– whatever we are creating is the sound of the generation large. Very excited about tonight.

The project brings together artists from diverse music backgrounds. How was it collaborating with other artists for Royal Stag Boombox and how did these interactions influence your contributions?

I think it’s always interesting to meet different artists, see their viewpoints, hang out with them, understand where they come from. Musically we are always on different planets, I would say. All musicians are zoned out. Everyone is doing their own thing. But the one thing that really unites us all is good music, and when we come together in a room to create a song or a piece of music, we unite in more ways than one. Even despite our differences, we get to come together and come on a common ground, you know, to make something that is in some way memorable and immortal. If you can make something immortal, that obviously is the highest, you know– the highest good that we can do as musicians, but the idea is to have fun. I think that is the most important underlying part here that we all need to have fun making music, being together, collaborating. In the past, there are lots of instances where artists do not come together to collaborate because of ego, because of attitude, but I think the newer generation, especially the young artists that are present today, who are doing amazing work and are popular as well, I don’t think there is a lot of, you know, hesitance to work together, there is no ego, and everyone wants to just come together to do something beautiful, and I think that’s what Live At Large also kind of like stands for. We all are here to have a good time, a large time, a time that’s beyond us, and it’s not just about us singularly, it’s about us as a community.

The interest in Hip-Hop genre has grown immensely among the Indian listeners in the last few years. Do you feel as a genre it has impacted Bollywood music in a positive way? What are your thoughts?

The rise of Hip-Hop has been astronomical in India, especially in the last few years, and then also at the time when Gully Boy kind of came onto the scene. Divine with Mere Gully Mein and then from there, you know, he charted a very cool career for himself. Divine was one of the artists that I kind of like was aware of from the scene, who was doing street hip-hop, who was doing gully hip-hop, voices of the people that were unheard, and I think he represented that sound, that rustic, rugged, super street sound, and very rarely did we see a movement happen in our country, and I think Indian Hip-Hop, as they call it, DHH or Desi Hip-Hop, the community is very strong, all the artists are very strong together. Obviously, in Hip-Hop, it’s very famous that people need to have beefs with each other, rivalries with each other. Even though there may be in our Hip-Hop scene, but there is also a lot of, I would say, coming togetherness, you know, a lot of collaboration that’s happening, and that’s lovely to see. I feel like it has had a very positive impact on Bollywood music as well because there has been a lot of borrowing that happen. I think overall on Bollywood music, there has been a massive impact of Hip-Hop in the last few years, and we have seen a lot of Hip-

Hop artists singing a lot of songs or rapping in Bollywood. A big example being Badshah himself,

who is part of Royal Stag Boombox. He obviously has his independent career, but he has been able to bridge the gap between Bollywood and Hip-Hop in a very cool way. I think all of us are looking at India being the next big global musical superpower and it can only happen when such collaborations come together, such artists come together, and I am glad that Royal Stag Boombox is making it happen.

Royal Stag Boombox aims to bring unforgettable experiences to the youth of India. What message do you hope they take away from your performances in music, the Indian youth?

I mean, to be honest, I have always represented love in my concerts, in my performances. I hope that I am able to share that love with people. I hope that they take love with them, go back to their loved ones, and share that love. I feel like it needs to be like a circle of love, it starts with someone, ends with someone, and comes back again. Instead of circle of life, I call it circle of love, at least from my end. What I send out comes back to me 10 folds. You know, I see it on a daily basis. I sing a song. I just do my thing. It’s something that I do daily. But when that song goes out and probably that song is part of someone’s relationship, someone has proposed to someone with my song, that comes back to me in so many beautiful ways when they come to my concert and feel like,

“Okay, you were the one to bring us together.” That’s where I kind of come in, I would say, as a

singer, as a musician, and I hope to do more of these things where I am able to be someone important in someone’s important memory or a milestone. There have been many artists who have been very special to me and there have been many moments which I have shared with my loved ones where I have special songs to dedicate to them. I hope to be one of those artists who gets to hear or know that people have been dedicating my songs to their loved ones. It makes me feel really happy. The only thing that I want them to take is love from my concert.

During his Mumbai tour, Ed Sheeran expressed his admiration towards your music, and you also got to spend some time with him. How would you describe your bond and whether we see you maybe collaborating with him in the future?

An interesting thing is that we already have collaborated two years back. I did a Hindi verse on his song called 2step, and that’s the first time that we connected. He told me that in 2024 I am going to do a concert in Mumbai, I am going to see you there, and then obviously he kept his promise. When he was down here for the concert, I got to spend a little time with him. We had multiple

conversations about music, where the music is headed. He is very excited to do a lot more things in India. He shared a little bit of his music with me, I shared a little bit of my music with him, all our unreleased stuff as musicians always do when they catch up. I just have to say that he is the humblest superstars I have ever met, despite the mammoth achievements that he has garnered and achieved in his life as a musician, as an artist. Despite all of that, he is such a humane person, he is very simple at heart, and I think that’s what touched me the most, and in a way inspired me tobe someone like him. I think he and I got together on the stage, we did 2step, the song that I was talking about, we performed that, and I hope to do more and more collaborations with him because he is just a lovely human being. For me, more than anything else, connecting with like- minded artists’ energies is so important and I felt like I found a brother in life, you know, a brother in Ed, and I think he feels the same as well. We good few days together and I am glad I could take him out to have Indian food. He loves butter chicken, which I think he posted in the reel also. He has had 10-12 dishes on this trip that he came for. But yeah, I found a brother in him and I think that’s very rare to say when you have just met someone for the very first time properly and hung out with them. So, you know how much of an impact he has had on me for me to be able to say that.

Looking back at your career, how would you describe your evolution, the evolution of your music and your voice in the industry?

I think since a very young age I have been exposed to the musical world. Ever since I was eight, I

started singing and doing voiceovers professionally. At each age, my voice has changed. I would say that as a child singer it’s very different, as a teenage pop voice it was very different. Finally, when I debuted in Bollywood and I started doing playback singing for actors very well beyond my age, you know, my voice was matured. Even though it wasn’t mature enough in real, I had to mature it for them on screen. There have been various phases. I think as a singer I have seen a lot of evolution from my initial sound to now, and I feel like my voice changes year after year. I get a new– I feel there is a new Armaan Malik setting in my voice, which activates every year. I am very happy with the way my music is shaping up for this year and for the years ahead as well. My new music is making me very excited. It’s very different. It’s something that you guys have not heard from me before. I am very keen to put out the music I have been working on, and I don’t think you have seen everything of Armaan Malik. It has only just begun, which is also the name of my album.

You have explored various genres in your career. Moving forward, are there any new musical styles or collaborations you are keen to explore?

I think I am really keen to do something in Spanish and Arabic and if I can do it with, say, in Afro beat. I love Afro beat. I am really into Afro right now. I am a Piano Afro. These are some of the genres that are really, really trendy. It’s not just because they are trendy I like it, they are really groovy, which is what I love. I hope that I am able to fuse my melodies with all these just like the way Royal Stag Boombox is fusing Bollywood and Hip-Hop. I hope to fuse Spanish in Afro and Arabic in Afro and put my own touch to it and do my own thing.

What advice would you offer to aspiring artists who look up to you and wish to make a mark in the Indian music scene?

I think looking back at my journey and even who I am today as a singer, there is one thing that I stand for and that is being very true to my craft, no matter how much fame, how much success I gain, I always want to sing well and I want to make good music, and I think I just want to tell all the upcoming singers and whoever aspire to be, you should never be like anyone, you should be you. I wouldn’t tell anyone to ever aspire to be like me but, you can be inspired by someone’s journey and what they have achieved. I am also very inspired by other artists. But be yourself, I think that is something that I would like to tell them, and be true to your craft. If you guys are singers and want to be singers like me, please make sure that you sing live and do not, you know, lip-sync because that’s something I don’t stand for. If anyone who really loves me and really loves my music, make sure that the craft is protected, make sure that people who listen to you believe in the fact that live singing is a thing, I really stand for that. I believe that it’s truly an art, singing is not easy, singing takes years of hard work. I am still training. I am still learning. I am always gaining knowledge as I go. No one is perfect. I keep learning from my idols and people around me. I sometimes learn from artists who are younger than me. The one thing I would definitely tell them is to be yourself and never stop learning. I think that is very important. Don’t have ego thinking, “Oh, there is a younger artist. Like, is it okay to be inspired by someone young?” Hell yeah, I feel like younger artists sometimes show you so many unique paths that you probably couldn’t even think of. Keep your eyes and ears open and keep listening to different artists, whether they are younger or older or the same age.

Can you share any details about any upcoming projects that you are looking forward to?

April is going to be really, really fun. There is a lot of amazing things happening, obviously can’treveal much. There are some really interesting collaborations happening. I am focusing a lot more on my global pop music at this point and that has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Some amazing concerts in different countries, and different projects that I don’t think you would ever expect out of me.

Among the songs you have performed or written, do you have any personal favorites and what makes these songs special to you?

I think there is this song from my album Only Just Begun called Kasam Se, that’s a song that I co-wrote with my brother and Kunaal Vermaa, the lyric writer. All of us came together to write this song for Aashna who is now my fiancé. I proposed to her with this song. I have never mingled my personal life and professional life or like ever written about what I am actually feeling. Kasam Se was one of the first pieces of music, actually the first piece of music that I have poured my heart into. All the emotions poured in the song by borrowing all the inspiration from my real life and putting it into that song. That’s very rare to have happened with me, and I hope to continue doing so because when artists are really raw and real about their emotions, it connects with audiences even more. I wrote the song because I wanted to actually profess my love for Aashna. I think it came from a very true place, and I would say that’s my most honest work, something that I feel is a piece of my heart and my soul.

How do you see the Indian music industry evolving in the next few years, especially with increasing influence of digital platforms and social media and so many other things?

I think we are in a very nice place right now. India is soon going to be a very, very big global musical superpower, and with such amazing performances, we have already seen Ed Sheeran come, before that we had the Lollapalooza Festival, which brought so many amazing acts to Mumbai and to India in general. I think more and more, a lot of people are sitting up and taking notice of India and the potential that the artists have here. I think we in the next say three to four years will become really, really massive. Just the way Afropop is massive and K-pop is massive, Ithink I-pop is going to rise massively, along with Hip-Hop, which is Indian Hip-Hop and Desi HipHop, which is already doing its thing. But pop has not had its big moment from India. The last big moment pop had was in the ’90s when Shan sir, KK sir, Mohit Chauhan, all these amazing artists came together, formed an industry parallel to Bollywood, but I am seeing that happen right now. A lot of amazing independent artists are doing incredibly well for themselves, for the scene as well. I feel like I-pop, as we call it, Indian pop is going to explode, and in the next three-four years, we will be seeing a rise of Indian music on a global level.