Indi-pop is a music genre that is pop music made in India. The Indian music scene, famous for Bollywood music, changed with the Indi-pop era as it is independent music. British-Indian fusion band Monsoon was the first to use the term Indi-pop through their 1981 EP release.
Early pop in Indian music
Indian producer Biddu was already in the pop scene of the South Asia region. He popularised pop in Indian music with the release of the best-selling album Made in India in 1995, launching the career of Alisha Chinai. He also launched the careers of famous Indian pop acts like Shaan and his sister Sagarika, Sonu Nigam, and K. S. Chithra. Charanjit Singh released Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat in 1982. Many Indi-pop bands came to life, producing record-breaking albums in India. In the 2000s, Indi-pop faced competition from filmi music, and pop singers shifted their focus to singing for movies.
The best Indi-pop bands of all time emerged during the Indi-pop era.
- Colonial cousins
Hariharan and Lesle Lews, an Indian duo, formed the band called Colonial Cousins. Their self-titled debut album Colonial cousins got released in 1996. It broke all the records hitting platinum sales in India. They also won MTV Asia Viewer’s Choice Award and US Billboard Viewer’s Choice Award. This duo’s hit albums are the Way We Do it, Aatma, and Once More.
Indian pop Rock band, Euphoria is one of India’s best-selling artists and best-selling bands. Their band members consisted of Palash Sen, Vaishali Barua, Jayashree Basu of vocals, and nine others who specialized in instruments like keyboard, flute, guitar, and table. They released seven studio albums and 16 singles. In 2012, they were inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Indian Recording Arts Academy.
- Parekh & Singh
The Indian pop duo consists of Nischay Parekh and Jivraj Singh are from the city of Kolkata. Their debit album Ocean was named one of the best Indian albums in 2013 by Rolling Stone India. They released Science City in 2019 with hit singles Hello and Summer Skin.
Best Indi-pop singers – Male
- Mohit Chauhan
Mohit Chauhan has worked in several languages for films and albums and is considered one of the most prominent Indi-pop singers. He was one of the vocalists of Silk Route and released his first album Boondein in 1998. He mainly sang in pop and Rock genres in Indian music. Most of his top hits were from Bollywood movies.
- Arjun Kanungo
Arjun Kanungo started his pop career with Baaki Baatein Peene Baad, a hit single. He released a lot of hit singles, including Fursat, Aaya Na Tu, La La La, Ek Dafaa, and everything sucks being the most recent one. He has also worked in Bollywood and Tamil movie industries.
- Sonu Nigam
Sonu Nigam released pop albums in several languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Odia. He won the best male pop artist for Kismet in the 1998 Screen Awards, best pop singer for Yaad in the 2002 Bollywood Music Awards, Best pop album Chanda Ki Doli in 2005 MTV Immies Award, and various other awards.
- Lucky Ali
Lucky Ali’s debut album Sunoh, saw record-breaking sales and gained international recognition. He once ruled pop music with hit singles like O Sanam, Tere Mere Saath, Mausam, and Jaane Kya Dhoondta Hai. Lucky Ali won several awards, including Best Pop Male Vocalist at the 1996 Screen Awards and Viewer’s Choice Award in 1997.
- Shantanu Mukherjee / Shaan
Biddu introduced Shaan and his sister Sagarika into the pop scene with Naujawan. Earlier sang remixes and singles with Biddu’s music. Now That’s What I Call Indi pop is one of his hit pop albums in Indian music. His hit songs in pop in Indian music include Faasle, Bhool Ja, Aksar, Tum Jo Mile, Bolo Bolo, MyDil Goes Mmmm, and Woh Ladki Hai Kahan.
Best Indi-pop singers – Female
- Sunidhi Chauhan
Sunidhi Chauhan is one of the prominent singers in Indi-pop. She is known for her pop songs in the Indian music industry. Her hit songs from movies include Desi Girl, Crazy Kiya Re, Dhoom Machale, Dilliwaali Girlfriend, Sheila Ki Jawani, Saami Saami, Punjabi Wedding Song, Kamli, and Ishq Sufiyana.
- Shreya Ghoshal
Shreya Ghoshal is a prominent voice in Indi-pop, with hit singles in different languages. Her hits include Agar Tum Mil Jao, Ye Ishq Hai, Radha, Manwa Laage, Mujhe Tumse Mohabbat Hai, and Zoobi Doobi. Chikni Chameli, Tere Naina, Latoo, and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.
- Alisha Chinai
Biddu launched Alisha Chinai’s career in the pop scene with Made in India album in 1995. She is known as the Indian Madonna and is a leading pop singer in the Indian music industry. Her hit singles include Made in India, Lover Girl, Touch Me, Zooby Zooby, Aaj Ki Raat, Kajra Re, Go Balle Balle, and I Love You for What You Are.
- Usha Uthup
Usha Uthup is a unique figure in Indi-pop, with one of the most influential voices. She is known as the original diva of Indi-pop. She entered the pop scene in 1968 with English cover songs Jambalaya and Greenback Dollar on an EP. Her hit singles include Hari Om Hari, Aami Shotti Bolchi, Hai Ye Maya, Din Hai Na Ye Raat, Yeh Raat Mona Lisa, Oh My Darling, Nakaa Bandi, Rambha Ho, One Two Cha Cha Cha, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and Doosri Darling.
- Neha Kakkar
In recent times, Neha Kakkar repeatedly proved herself as one of the famous pop voices in Indian music. Her song Second Hand Jawaani served as a breakthrough in the pop scene. Her hit singles include Goa Beach, Kar Gayi Chull, Dheeme Dheeme, Coca Cola, Saiyaan Ji, Makhna, London Thumakda, Manali Trance, Chhote Chhote Peg and Morni Banke
Best-selling albums of Indi-pop
Daler Mehndi’s Bolo Ta Ra Ra, released in 1995, was the highest pop album in Indian music, with 20,000,000 sales. Artists saw record-breaking album sales, even though the price of a CD was high during the 1980s and 1990s. Other best-selling albums were Only One, Thanda Thanda Pani, Made in India, Sunoh, Sifar, and Deewana.
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