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Kailash Kher

Kailash Kher (born 1973) is an Indian playback singer and music composer, he sang songs with a music style influenced by Indian folk music and Sufi music. He was inspired by the classical musicians Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and the Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

When he couldn't find the right guru or a school, Kher started learning music by listening to it. He listened to Indian classical singers like Pandit Gokulotsav Ji Maharaj, Pandit Kumar Gandharv, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and later even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, and their contemporaries.

Kher received the Padma Shri award in 2017 from the Indian government. He has also received two Filmfare Awards for Best Male Playback Singer: one for the Bollywood movie Fanaa (2006) and one for the Telugu film Mirchi (2013), along with several other nominations.

With his powerful voice and his unique style of music, Kher has established himself as one of the most popular playback singers of India.

Early life and struggle

Kher was born in 1973 in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Mehar Singh Kher was a traditional folk singer. Kher's first brush with music came in his childhood. Brought up in a musical atmosphere, from his school days, he was enchanted and fascinated by music and used to listen to his father's Indian folks songs all day. Even as a four-year-old, Kher displayed natural musical talent and would often impress friends and family by belting out songs with his prematurely powerful voice.

At the age of 14, Kher left home in search of a guru or an institution to further his musical training, and he embarked on years of classical and folk music study. According to him, "it was because I wanted to pursue my passion for music. It required me to stay in isolation". He also attended music classes and would teach students for just ₹150 per session to maintain himself, taking care of all his personal expenses from lodging to food, plus his education and musical expenses. Although he couldn't find the right guru or a school, Kher started learning music by listening to it. He listened to Indian classical singers like Pandit Gokulotsav Ji Maharaj, Pandit Kumar Gandharv, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and later even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, and their contemporaries.

He then experimented with a family friend's Indian handicraft export business until 1999. However, when the business collapsed, he became depressed and even attempted suicide in early 1999. He went to Singapore and Thailand, and stayed there for six months.

Later, after relocating to Delhi with his family, he graduated from Delhi University through the correspondence program.In 2001, Kher left Delhi for Mumbai, the center of India's highly competitive music industry, as a professional singer. For a while, Kher struggled, living in cheap hostels and doing whatever musical work he could find to make ends meet.

Career beginnings



Jingles



He moved to Mumbai in the year of 2001, where he began his foray into the music industry.

When he moved to Mumbai, he already had a few friends there who were connected to the film industry. He was recommended to musician Ram Sampath, who was looking for a new voice for a jingle for Nakshatra diamonds. Kher would later recall the jingle as one which did not bring instant recognition but fetched him ₹5000, which he needed desperately at the time "just to survive".

Kher's foray continued with him singing jingles for TV and radio commercials, receiving critical acclaim for his unique style of singing. He sang in commercials for big brands such as Coca-Cola, Citibank, Pepsi, IPL and Honda Motor Cycles.

Playback singing and regional singing



Kailash had to struggle to get a chance in Bollywood. He got opportunity to sing a song for the movie Andaaz. In this movie his song "Rabba Ishq Na Hove" became much popular. His song "Allah ke Bande" from the obscure movie Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II became very popular and this song made him a popular singing star in Bollywood.

He sang a number of the songs in the Bollywood film Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he had a cameo appearance. His another famous song is "O Sikander" from Corporate. The song "Teri Deewani" from the album of the same name by his band Kailasa and the song "Ya Rabba" from the movie Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love had record sales.

A. R. Rahman commented-

Kher has a uniquely soulful, raw and high-pitched voice. He sang a number of the songs in the Bollywood flick Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he also had a cameo appearance. His other Bollywood appearances include the movie, Corporate in the song 'O Sikander'.
I remember how I first heard of him. I had asked Mehboob, our lyricist, for a new voice that is earthy and strong, and he said, I have just the person for you. That voice can only be that of Kailash!' And he sent Kailash to meet me. The moment I heard him, I knew that here was a voice that was so wonderful, and which had its own unique space.... I want to say that Kailash Kher's voice has something that had been lacking a lot – it had pure soul! Allah Ke Bande is one of my all time favorite songs.


Vocals and music style



Kher has a raw, soulful, fresh, high-pitched and sharp voice. Unlike others , he mainly sings Ghazal, Sufi, Qawwali, folk and other devotional songs. He has been greatly influenced by the classical singers including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi etc.

He can sing in a wide vocal range from high to low-pitched songs. His songs have been famous for their unique, soulful music and classical lyrics. Kher is the only singer in India, who often includes a classical lyrics and folk language in his solo albums and films. Most of his film or non-film albums include romantic tracks with a touch of classical music, lyrics and traditional languages.

Commercial music



He has given music score's for numerous movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Sacred Evil, Sangini, Desi Kattey etc. He has also penned lyrics in few movies like Chandni Chowk To China, Dasvidaniya, Kaal and Traffic signal .

By 2014, he had sung in more than 20 Indian languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Bengali, Sindhi, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Konkani, Rajasthani etc. for Indian films and more than 500 songs for the Hindi film industry and recorded more than one thousand radio and television advertising jingles.

He has also ventured into the Kannada film industry. His hits from Kannada films include the songs "Hale Patre" from the movie Junglee and "Ekka Raaja Raani" from the movie Jackie.

He has composed and sung the title track of Star Plus's serial Diya Aur Baati Hum along with Shubha Mudgal. He has also sung the title track of Colors serial "Udaan" along with the anthem for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the national campaign for cleaning India.

Non-film work



Kailasa

He formed Kailasa in Mumbai in 2004, with Mumbai-based musician brothers, Paresh Kamath and Naresh Kamath, whom he met in Mumbai. The band's first album, Kailasa, released in March 2006, went on to revive the Indian pop music market. The album was an immediate smash hit.

Their second album, Jhoomo Re, released in May 2007, went on to be an equally smash hit. With songs like "Saiyaan" and "Agad Bamm" touching the right chords with Indian as well as international audiences.

Kailasa's third album, Chaandan mein released in June 2009, was yet another smash hit! He made his first international album on the acclaimed independent record label Cumbancha.

He released his fourth album, Rangeele, which was released by his owned company Kailasa Records in January 2012. This album was widely acclaimed amongst the fans of Kailasa, and was critically acclaimed worldwide.

Kher has also sung a non-filmy Nepali pop song such as "Phool Ko Thunga" and "Bolnai parcha bhanne K cha ra" from the album called Only Love in 2011.

2016 marks the return of Kailash Kher with his brand-new melodies, Ishq Anokha. This album, sel-produced and distributed by SaReGaMa was a chart buster shortly after its launch. Ishq Anokha comprises eight fresh numbers as 'Ishq Anokha', 'O Jogi', 'Meharbani Teri', 'Berukhiyaan', 'Vaari Vaari', 'Guru Ghantal', 'Turiya Turiya' and an electro version of the track 'Vaari Vaari'. The album had to be launched thrice, in 3 different metropolitan cities, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Performances and international concerts



He has not only performed for the south east Asian diaspora, but also for international audiences in festivals and venues such as GlobalFest at New York's Webster Hall, Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.), Stern Grove Festival (San Francisco), Celebrate Brooklyn, Santa Monica Pier Festival (LA), Fillmore Center (San Francisco), Hollywood Bowl (LA), Hammersmith Apollo (London), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Massey Hall (Toronto).

In 2007, he participated in a concert tour in North America entitled "The Incredibles", also starring Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam and Kunal Ganjawala. In March 2011, Kailasa performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as part of the Maximum India festival. Kailash Kher performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

In 2012, as part of Kailasa's third Nepal tour, Kher performed at Dhaka in Bangladesh, Nairobi in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Congo, Karachi in Pakistan and Muscat in Oman.

Television and reality shows



He has appeared in various television shows, including Wind of Change (Bangladesh) (Gaan Bangla), Saregamapa Li'l Champs (Zee TV), Mission Ustaad (9X), Indian Idol 4 (Sony), IPL Rockstar (Colors) and Rock On (MTV). In 2009, Kher appeared in Indian Idol 4 as a judge along with Javed Akhtar, Sonali Bendre and Anu Malik.

In 2013, Kher collaborated with singer Shreya Ghoshal for the first time for a mission titled 'The Project Resound: Upgrade your Ears', in which Kher wrote, composed, and invited Shreya to sing along a song named "Naina Chaar". This online initiative by Sony Music India, aimed to make people aware of the rising technological advancement in the field of music, which may make it difficult to distinguish between noise and music. The project also promoted the use of Sony headphones.

In 15 March 2014, Kher appeared in the celebrity talk show Comedy Nights with Kapil, at the special occasion of holi celebrations.

Personal life



Kher married Sheetal in February 2009, and their son Kabir was born in December 2009.

Controversies



In a series of sting operations carried out by Cobrapost code-named Operation Karaoke, Kailash Kher has been named as one of many celebrities who can be seen agreeing to promote the agenda of parties on social media platforms in exchange for money, on camera.

Kher was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during Indian Me Too movement 2018.

Music for social causes

He lend his voice to the Clean India Mission theme song, ' Swachha Bharat Ka Irada Kar Liya Humne', which is lyriced Prasoon Joshi. Taking forward the Clean India Mission, Mr. Kher visited several places in PM's parliamentary constituency drawing praise from Narendra Modi.

Bravo @kailashkher! I congratulate you for joining Swachh Bharat Mission in Varanasi. Admirable effort," the Prime Minister tweeted."


Kailash was also invited by the PM to accompany him in his first USA tour, where they performed in the SAP center community reception at San Jose, California on 27 September'15.

He also composed the song "Ambar Tak Yehi Naam Gunjega" for Anna Hazare anti corruption movement, and sang it in Ramlila Maidan during Anna Hazare protest.

Awards and nominations

Film awards and other honours

Discography/Filmography

Hindi songs

Kannada songs

Tamil songs



Moochile - Bahubali, Ore oru oorile - Abium nanum, Intha porapu thaan - Un samaiyal araiyil, Thaaimadiyil naan thalaiyai Saaikkiren - psycho

Telugu Songs

Guest appearance

Lyricist

Music director

Solo albums and compilations

Title songs