Born as Jagmohan Singh Dhiman in Bikaner, Rajasthan, Jagjit Singh was an iconic Ghazal singer and a music composer. His father, a government surveyor, always wanted him to become a bureaucrat and pursue engineering. However, at the same time he also encouraged Jagjit to learn music. He even took admission in DAV College but in his hostel room, there were more musical instruments than books. The rest, as they say, is history. Let’s take a look at the life of Jagjit Singh.
Jagjit was an aspiring kid. His interest in a professional career in music started developing when he was in college. His continued interest in music got even stronger in college and hence he decided to undergo training in classical music by Pandit Chhaganlal Sharma and Ustad Jamal Khan of the Senia Gharaana.
Jagjit Singh began his professional career by singing for All India Radio’s Jalandhar station where he used to do live concerts for AIR Jalandhar six times a year.
When Jagjit Singh shifted to Mumbai to pursue his career as a singer, he survived by doing various jobs, which included acting as an extra, before making a living by composing ad jingles and performing at weddings.
As a struggling artist, Jagjit Singh shared a small room with four others in Worli. He used to go up to Dadar for his meals, where the restaurant owner gave him meals for free.
Jagjit Singh met his wife, Chitra Singh in a recording studio where they were both recording an ad jingle together. Initially, she refused to sing a jingle with him as she felt his voice was heavy. Later, they managed to come together to give a fantastic jingle out.
In 1976, Jagjit Singh released his album ‘The Unforgettables’ with his wife Chitra Singh. It became the highest selling album of the time after which there was no place left in their lives for non-film albums.
Jagjit Singh is the only composer and singer to have composed and recorded songs written by former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was also a poet in two albums, Nayi Disha (1999) and Samvedna (2002).
He is the first Indian musician to record a purely digital CD album called ‘Beyond Time’ which was released in 1987. During his struggling days, Jagjit Singh was once offered a hero's role in a Gujarati film, but he rejected it saying he wanted to stick to singing. Hence, he sang a Gujarati bhajan in that film.
Jagit Singh’s idol was Mohd. Rafi and he used to sing Rafi's songs on All India Radio in Jalandhar. He became so famous that in 1982, the tickets for Jagjit Singh’s concert, 'Live at Royal Albert Hall' were sold out in three hours.
Jagjit Singh and his wife Chitra Singh got married in a very simple ceremony that lasted only two minutes and cost them just 30 Rupees.
Jagjit Singh was also a cycling enthusiast who loved betting on horse racing matches and checking the stock market.
In the year 2003, Jagjit Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the government of India and post his demise, in 2014, the Government of India released a stamp in Jagjit Singh's honour.