Armaan Malik

A colossal star in India, Armaan Malik is the big name to look out for in global pop. Having amassed some fourteen million followers on Instagram, he continues to grow the numbers on his digital platforms, while streaming numbers go up, attracting a very similar pattern. 

Constantly looking outwards and upwards, with an admirable string of artist collaborations under his belt already, which includes Ed Sheeran, there is plenty to build on, and be proud of, but the Mumbai based musician still wants more, and he seems to know how to get it. Revealing an admiration for some of some British all-time music greats, the singer tracks his artistic journey to date. 

1883 Magazine chats with Armaan Malik about what makes him tick when he is in work mode, the newly released infectious single Sleepless Nights, as he maps his love for London and the British music scene and its artists.  



Congratulations on Sleepless Nights, it’s such a vibrant track. What can you tell us about it?  

It’s a love song, but it talks about when you found the one that you really love, you don’t mind spending sleepless nights and sleepy days with them. The video was shot in London over the past month. A lyric in it deals with the idea of wanting to take the person to London, for the day. It’s pretty UK centric, even for me as an artist, as I’ve always loved the UK. 

We’re just taking the project as it goes, but we’ve got such a positive response. Pop music is what I’ve always wanted to do, and British music has long been a dream of mine. To finally put it out, having put out six songs, I understand who I want to be musically and identity wise. You need to do a few tracks to understand, what to discover in your sound and to find you amidst all of those songs. This past month I was in London, on a month-long trip, it felt like I’d arrived, and Sleepless Nights is a hint of what’s to come.


With vibrant social media numbers behind you, what do you want to achieve in that space? 

Today it’s an asset to have good numbers on social media. But it’s been a continuous effort from my end to build an audience in my home country, among the Indian and South Asian diaspora and across the world. Now I want to take this army of people with me on this journey and break into different territories. 



Tell me about how you wrote the track Sleepless Nights, how did it come together?

It was a song that I wrote as a demo on one of my trips to LA in 2019. It’s been sitting with me for some time. I had this sense of awakening. That’s literally what triggered me to put out sleepless nights. That’s how it came about. Simultaneously, I was planning a trip to London in June, the song has a lyric which says “Take you to London for a day”. I got to shoot the video in London and get those vibes in. It’s always good to just release music you’re excited about.


What’s your view on music videos, how do you like to approach them?

It’s pretty authentic to my vision. I love being close to the song. The video is an extension of what the song is trying to say. Sometimes, I’ve seen some of my favourite artists put out music, with a video that feels like the song is something else. It’s a complete contrast, and maybe that works in certain situations. But for my songs the way I envisioned it, the video is a visual representation of the lyrics and the music. The video is super close to what the song is, it’s very happy. 

There’s an overload of love and motion that’s about to happen for the listeners and the viewers. I’d describe Sleepless Nights as an energetic warm hug, because you feel like dancing, but it also about feeling cosy with your loved one. So if the video perfectly captures that emotion and that feeling and pretty much is the overall visualisation.


The new single is catchy. How do you know when a track is right?

I’ve spent time in India doing a lot of commercial work and Bollywood soundtracks. They’re always chasing songs which have a very strong hook line. Songs that have high retention, an instant moment where you are just hooked right away. Repeatedly working on songs, in this part of the world, to master the skill of having that one hook, that gets everyone singing and gets everyone invested in the song. It’s about sharpening that skill over and over again. 

Having done 300 of those in my discography so far, it’s this muscle memory for me. The main thing has to be applied to the English language and the sensibilities in the Western part of the world. Which then comes through the songwriters in the room, I have my vision and the team that I want to follow, and the songwriters help me put my vision to life with the words that they choose. 


What have you learned from the professional relationships you have built? 

Working with a lot of songwriters, you get to know who your people truly are. Working more with those same people, in that group, they get you and your sound. Naturally, it just becomes a home team. So even though I love working with new people, I also love working with the people I’ve already worked with, because there’s a certain synergy and relationship. 


You already have a string of collaborations against your name, what do you enjoy most about this way of working?   

For me, being an Indian artist, collaborating with artists from around the world has just been such an amazing experience, I get to know how industries work across the world. Everyone has their own way of doing things and collaborating. There are teams involved in different pockets of the world, working in different time zones and getting everyone aligned. 

When I did the song Echo with KSHMR and Eric Nam, we were deep in the pandemic period. It was even more tough because people had fewer hours to work and spent more time at home. Putting all of it together, I realised how special it is when a piece of work comes out, because there are many energies between people who’ve come together to make that happen. 


The experience of working with Ed Sheeran must have been rather extraordinary. 

The collaboration with Ed Sheeran was phenomenal. I’ve been the biggest fan of him for a long time. To hear from him and his team, saying that they wanted me on board to do a version of 2step was a dream. It was beautiful to be part of that moment. I even got to meet him, and he’s the best human, a special person. He was doing a show in Copenhagen, and we wanted to go to his concert. Then a few months later, Ed and his team reached out to help enable the collaboration. 


Tell us about the artistic connection you established with K-pop star Eric Nam.

It happened over the internet. He tweeted “Is there a cool Indian artist that you’d like me to collaborate with?” The tweet was shared among my fans in India. Nam delved into my discography, tweeted saying that he loved my music. There was an interaction, I followed him on Twitter, we started talking and our teams got involved. We sent songs to each other. Literally, from a tweet that he put out, we became internet friends. The funny thing is I’ve not even met him, but we have a song out together.



You speak and sing in several languages. How much do you enjoy that remarkable dimension? 

I like to describe myself as a chameleon. Put me anywhere, I’ll make it look super organic, and I feel that’s one of my strengths. As an artist, I love working in different cultures, in different languages, and just working with a bunch of different people, because it challenges me to do work that I’ve never done, it pushes my limits, which I really enjoy. 


What projects do you have in the pipeline? 

There are a few things I’d love to tell you about, but I have to stay tight-lipped. Some exciting collaborations with artists from the UK, as I love the music scene. The UK feels super close to me, it’s one of my favourite places to be, and spending time here making music, is magnificent. There will be more collaborators and features coming in the next few months, so more exciting projects in the pipeline. I’m looking forward to this journey, being an Indian artist, I now want to go into the global pop mainstream. 


Do you think it’s important to maintain your Indian identity in the music you make? 

With Sleepless Nights I’m doing something that is endearing vocally, it shows where I come from. The way I deliver the lines in a certain way, the interjecting of something or other, it shows where I come from. I don’t want it to completely overshadow, the overall nature of the genre or the song, and I don’t want it to be a fusion – East Meets West – sound. 

I like to infuse my Indian elements vocally in the way I sing, let a few inflections through some runs or sketching my singing. It runs through the production, as a part of things, I may add a few instruments layered with the Western ones, it gives everyone that flavour of where I come. The way I sing English songs adds an Indian element and helps bring my identity to the forefront. 


What do you dream of achieving? 

I have some lofty ambitions in life. I have this super dream of selling out Madison Square Garden one day, I feel everything I’m doing is inching towards that dream.


Sleepless Nights is out now, follow Armaan via @armaanmalik


Interview Susan Hansen

Photography Jack Alexander


You don't have permission to register