Sonu was born in Faridabad. His family moved to Delhi when he was still young. He attended J.D. Tytler School. His father Agam Kumar is a singer too. Sonu has two younger sisters; One of them, Neekita Nigam is also a singer. Sonu started singing at the age of four-and-a-half years singing a Mohammad Rafi number at a concert where his father was due to perform. He was discovered and promoted by Gulshan Kumar of T-Series, who gave him his first major recording opportunities. He moved from Delhi to Mumbai to seriously pursue his singing career, at the age of 19.
Sonu started his career singing covers of Mohammad Rafi songs. His first movie as a playback singer was (Janum) which was a major flop in (1990). This film was not officially released due to some reason but some considered it as a flop. Again he got his big break as a playback singer in Gulshan Kumar’s film (Aaja Meri Jaan) and then “Accha Sila Diya Tune” (also sung in Gujarati) from Bewafa Sanam (1996). At this time, he also started hosting Sa Re Ga Ma, a television singing talent competition that became one of the most popular shows on Indian television. Thereafter, the offers poured in, albeit slowly at first. He shot to fame with the song “Sandese Aate Hai” from Border (1997). In the initial stages, he was type-cast as a Rafi-sound-alike. The image was transformed after his brilliant rendition of “Yeh Dil, Deewana” in the film Pardes (1997). Since then, he has created a unique trademark style of his own. His career really got a boost when Kumar Sanu was diagnosed with throat cancer in (1998).
Over the years, Sonu Nigam has become a major force in the music industry. He has released a number of pop albums including Mausam, Sapnay Ki Baat, Kismat, Deewana, Jaan, Yaad, Chanda Ki Doli and Colours of Love, as well as a Punjabi album ‘Pyar’. Besides SaReGaMa, he has also hosted Kisme Kitna Hai Dum and been a judge on Indian Idol. Recently, he started hosting his own radio programme called Life Ki Dhun With Sonu Nigam on Radiocity 91 FM, where he has had the opportunity of interviewing industry greats, including the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. This radio show is available on the net. He is due to release a semi-classical album as well as an English album in the near future.
Sonu has sung playback for countless Hindi movies. As well, he is a popular playback singer for many regional movies, singing effortlessly in many languages from Punjabi to Bengali to Telugu, and many more. He is very famous in south Indian movies especially in Kannada.
Sonu recently toured North America (August/September 2006) with a spectacular musical production “Simply Sonu”, accompanied by singer Sowmya Raoh. The tour included Raleigh, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Washington D.C, Houston, San Jose, Vancouver, Chicago & Toronto.
Sonu lives with his parents, wife and younger sister in Mumbai. Another sister of his is married and resides in Mumbai. He married his girlfriend Madhurima in Kolkata on February 15, 2002 after a long courtship of 7 years. Besides singing, he pursues a wide variety of interests: he is an avid reader, enjoys watching movies, is dedicated to his fitness routine, practices yoga regularly, and loves to travel. He is a very spiritual and devout person; his optimistic attitude towards life, and his unshakeable faith, have been the strongholds in his life.
- 2005, Swaralaya Yesudas Award, for his outstanding performance in Music.
- 2005, MTV Immies – Best Pop Album, for his self-composed album titled “Chanda Ki Doli”.
- 2005, Star Screen Award Best Male Playback, for the song “Dheere Jalna”, from the film “Paheli”.
- 2004, MTV Immies – Best Male Singer, for the song “Main Hoon Na”, from the film “Main Hoon Na”.
- 2004, National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer, for the song “Kal Ho Naa Ho”, from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho.
- 2004, IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song “Kal Ho Naa Ho”, from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho.
- 2003, Filmfare Best Male Playback Award, for the song “Kal Ho Naa Ho”, from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho”.
- 2003, Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song “Saathiya”, from the film “Saathiya”.
- 2003, IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song “Saathiya”, from the film “Saathiya”.
- 2003, MTV Immies – Best Male Singer, for the sing “Saathiya” from the film “Saathiya”.
- 2002, Filmfare Best Male Playback Award, for the song “Saathiya”, from the film Saathiya.
- 2002, Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song “Suraj Hua Maddham”, from the film “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham”.
- 2002, IIFA Best Male Playback Award, for the song “Suraj Hua Maddham”, from the film “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham”.
- 2001, Star Screen Award Best Male Playback, for the song “Tanhayee”, from the film “Dil Chahta Hai”.
- 1998, Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Male, for the song “Sandese Aate Hai”, from the film “Border”.