Indian Pop Music

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Indian Pop’s Panoply of Styles

The contemporary music scene in India is an infectious blend of influences, ranging from Western rock to the country’s own classical heritage

By Nandini Lakshman

Indian pop music has always been inextricably tied to Bollywood, and singers often made their reputation with vocal performances on film. Indians love their musical flicks, and plenty of so-called “playback” singers, whose songs are lip-synched by actors, have huge followings. But India’s vast youth culture and the multiplicity of media outlets has started to change that formula. Today, “Indi pop” is a broad range of styles, including elements from classical and folk music, often garnished with contemporary global beats.

The pop scene still has its highly popular Bollywood crooners, but there are also plenty of independent acts and rock bands. Some Indian artists have considerable followings around Asia and elsewhere—and have, in turn, been influenced by hip hop, rap, and other Western sounds and beats. Here is a by-no-means-exhaustive sampling of the more prominent Indian recording artists.

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