Neha Kakkar is a popular Indian playback singer, artist and TV personality. The singer grew up in poverty and started singing at the age of 4, working her way up to an audition on “Indian Idol.” She was eliminated quickly, but started working in Bollywood as a singer and artist. Many of her songs have topped the charts and been some of the most-viewed videos of their type of YouTube.
Neha Kakkar was born on June 6, 1988 in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. Her older sister, Sonu Kakkar, is a popular playback singer; her brother is singer-composer Tony Kakkar. Neha and her family had a modest upbringing. Her father used to sell samosas during the day while her mother worked as a homemaker. The family lived in a rented single-room house.
As of September 2021, Neha has more than 17.4 million TikTok followers, 34 million Facebook fans, 12.9 million YouTube subscribers, 1.1 million Twitter followers, and 62.1 million Instagram followers.
In the early 90s, the family moved to Delhi to try to pursue Neha’s career as a singer. Her family had very little money, so Neha started singing at local gatherings and religious events with her siblings at just four years old to help earn money. She sang bhajans until she was 16 years old, then started attending four to five jagrans a day.
Neha and her brother moved to Mumbai in 2004 and two years later, she auditioned for “Indian Idol,” but got eliminated early into the season. She expected to get work following the show, but didn’t find much success. People saw her as the “Jai Mata Di girl.”
Neha got her big break when she made her Bollywood debut as a chorus singer in the movie “Meerabai Not Out.” She became popular when she released the dance track “Second Hand Jawani” from the movie “Cocktail.” Neha followed up the release with several other popular dance songs, including “Sunny Sunny” from Yaariyan and “London Thumakda” from Queen.
Neha grew her success and popularity with party songs like “Aao Raja” from “Gabbar Is Back,” “Tu Isaq Mera” from “Hate Story 3,” “Humne Pee Rakhi Hai” from “Sanam Re” and “Kar Gayi Chull” from “Kapoor & Sons.”
Neha’s “Mile Ho Tum” from “Fever” became one of the most-viewed Bollywood songs on YouTube. Several of her later songs also received similar status and topped the charts: “Aankh Maarey,” from “Simmba,” “Dilbar” from “Satyameva Jayate,” “Cheez Badi” from “Machine,” “Badri Ki Dulhania,” “Kala Chashma” and more. All these songs received more than 600,000 views on YouTube.
Her song “Dilbar” was the first Indian song to reach the number three spot on the Billboard YouTube Music Chart.
Starting in 2017, Neha worked often with artist Tanishk Bagchi and began to remake older Indian songs into newer songs.She received some backlash for this work, but maintained that she liked recreating popular songs and said the work had otherwise been received positively.
In addition to her work as a payback singer, Neha has been a judge on several reality TV shows as well as “Indian Idol.” She has become known for her emotional response on the shows, and often receives hate for crying on the shows on screen. However, she has often admitted she is proudly an emotional person.
In 2017 and 219, Forbes named her to their India Forbes Celebrity 10 lists.
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