Neha Kakkar Singh (born 6 June 1988) is an Indian singer and songwriter. She is the younger sister of playback singer Sonu Kakkar. She began performing at a very early age at religious events. In 2005, she participated in the second season of the singing reality show, Indian Idol. She made her Bollywood debut as a chorus singer in the film Meerabai Not Out. She rose to prominence with the release of the dance track “Second Hand Jawaani” from Cocktail, which was followed by several popular party songs including “Sunny Sunny” from Yaariyan and “London Thumakda” from Queen. Apart from playback singing, Kakkar has appeared in several music videos and as a judge on several television reality shows including “Indian Idol”.
In 2019, Kakkar was listed among the most viewed female artists on Youtube with 4.2 billion views. In January 2021, she became the first Indian singer to win a YouTube Diamond Award.
She appeared in the India Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2017 and 2019. In December 2020, she appeared in the list of Asia’s 100 Digital Stars by Forbes.
Early Life and Career
Kakkar was born on 6 June 1988 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
In the early 90s, Kakkar along with her family moved to Delhi, to try her luck in singing. Kakkar, at the age of four, started performing at local gatherings and religious events. In 2004, she moved to Mumbai along with her brother, Tony Kakkar. In 2006, at the age of eighteen, Kakkar auditioned for the second season of Indian Idol where she got eliminated early in the show.
In 2005 she participated in the second season of the singing reality show, Indian Idol’, in which she was eliminated early.
In 2008, she launched her debut album Neha The Rockstar with music by Meet Bros. Anjjan. During the time, she recorded for a music album, Romeo Juliet composed by her brother, Tony Kakkar. She sang “Hai Rama” from Meerabai Not Out (2008) along with Sukhwinder Singh. The following year, she was featured in A.R. Rahman’s composition, the theme song of Blue (2009) where she provided the chorus vocals for the song. She then lent her voice for the title track of the Hindi-language soap opera Na Aana Is Des Laado (2009).
In 2010, Kakkar made her screen debut with Vidhi Kasliwal’s film Isi Life Mein…! (2010) in which she played the role of a college student.
Kakkar’s first release of 2013, “Botal Khol” from Prague which met with controversy, where Central Board of Film Certification raised objections on the song citing that its lyrics contain double meaning. This was followed by a Sachin-Jigar’s item number composed for Ramaiya Vastavaiya. Titled “Jadoo Ki Jhappi”. She next collaborated with Pritam for another item song “Dhating Nach”, performed alongside Nakash Aziz and Shefali Alvares.
2017 marked Kakkar’s first of many collaborations with Tanishk Bagchi which resulted in the rehashing of several Bollywood songs in the coming years. Their first release, “Badri Ki Dulhania” from Badrinath Ki Dulhania performed with Dev Negi, Ikka Singh and Monali Thakur has few segments lifted from the Shankar-Jaikishen classic, “Chalat Musafir” from Teesri Kasam (1966). The version became an instant chart-buster among the audience and was included in the list of most-viewed Indian videos on YouTube with over 500 million views.
From 2017 onwards, Kakkar, primarily, in collaboration with Tanishk Bagchi, became more associated with the trend of remaking old to very recent songs, which resulted in several backlashes targeted for the singer.
Kakkar’s music contains elements of pop, hip hop, and R&B. Her voice has been described several times in the media as “distinct”, “unique”, “chirpy”, “seductive” and “partially nasal”. She did not take any formal vocal training.
Kakkar and actor Himansh Kohli were in a romantic relationship since 2014. In September 2018, they officially announced their relationship on national television and revealed that they will tie the knot soon. However, three months later, an Instagram post by Kakkar revealed that the couple broke-up.
Kakkar married Punjabi musical artist Rohanpreet Singh on 24 October 2020 in a Gurdwara in New Delhi.