Jagjit Singh was born “Jagmohan” in a very religious Sikh family on 8 Feb 1941 in the City of Ganganagar in Rajasthan. Right from his childhood, his father Sardar Amar Singh Dhiman and mother Bachchan Kaur inspired him to sing religious chants, however, as he grew up he was more drawn towards modern music. His siblings include four sisters and two brothers and he is fondly called Jeet by his family members. He went for graduation to DAV College, Jalandhar in arts stream and acquired a post-graduate degree in history from Kurukshetra University, Haryana.
His earliest Guru was Pandit Chaganlal Sharma under whom he learned music for two years in his hometown. Jagjit Singh then learnt the nuances of Indian Classical Music from Ustad Jamaal Khan of Sainia Gharana for six years. The Vice Chancellor of Punjab and Kurukshetra University, Late Professor Suraj Bhan encouraged his interest in music. He came to Mumbai in 1965 to become a playback singer and thus began his struggle. He began with singing in marriages and functions and jingles in ads during his days of struggle. It was during this period that he met Chitra whom he married after two years of courtship. Both decided to focus on the ghazal and expanding the market. Jagjit made 3 EP’s, Chitra 2 and a Super Seven together. He got his first major break in the form of the Album The Unforgettable in 1976 which was a big hit and his first song in this was "Baat niklegi to phir door talak jayegi …". The “Unforgettable” 1976 changed the face of Ghazal and non-film music forever.
The Unforgettable was followed by a Punjabi album Birha Da Sultan followed by Milestone (1980) setting new records in sales and acceptance. This was succeeded by a series of breezy successful albums such as Ecstasies (1984), Main aur Meri Tanhaayee (1981), A Sound Affair(1985) and Passions(1988). With Chitra, he became India’s first successful husband-wife singing team. Playback singing for Bollywood films also happened at the same time and brought mass adulation as well as critical acclaim to Jagjit. He even composed music for a number of successful movies such as Prem Geet (1981), Arth (1982) etc. and the popular TV serial Mirza Ghalib (1988).
Jagjit Singh has seen tremendous success as a Ghazal Singer. His albums such as The Unforgettables, Ecstacies, Beyond Time, H O P E, Face to Face, Desires etc.have been highly appreciated by the audience. Apart from Chitra Singh, he has also come out with an album with the Nightingale of India – Lata Mangeshkar called Sajda (in two columes) in 1991. Lyrics by Gulzar & Javed Akhtar have been rendered by Jagjit Singh in memorable alums as Silsilay (1998), Marasim (1999), Soz (2002) and Koi Baat Chale (2005). Jagjit Singh has also had the privilege to render ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s poetry in soulful voice in the Album Samvedna (2002). Jagjit also sang (as playback singer) for various songs in Bollywood films including Arth, Saath Saath and Premgeet (all from 1980s). The scores remain popular even today.
Jagjit sing has won numerous awards including a D.Litt., the Sahitya Kala, Sangeet Natak Academy, Ghalib Academy & Lata Mangeskar Award by the M.P. Govt. In 2003, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, from the Govt. of India for his contribution towards music. The Teacher’s Achievement Award was conferred upon him in 2006.
On 28th Sept. 2007, Jagjit Singh released his first Gujarati Ghazal Album Jeevan Maran Chee Ek. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence 1857, the parliament organized a special event on the 10th of May 2007 to pay their tributes to the martyrs of the event. Jagjit Singh sang the famous ghazal by Bahadur shah Zafar, Lagta nahin hai dil mera ujde dayar mein…
In 1990, Jagjit - Chitra were struck by grief when their only son, Vivek, who was twenty-one, met an untimely death in a road accident. Jagjit Singh took time off, and buried his sorrows in music, however, Chitra could not totally recover from the shock. Their last album together Someone Somewhere was released as a tribute to their son. Starting with a Shabd – Gurubani Album Jagjit made a solo comeback minus Chitra Singh and made this pain as a reference point for his music to come. Jagjit Singh is accredited with bringing the ghazal genre, which was previously restricted to the elite classes, to the masses. He has played a crucial role in the success of various singers such as Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet, Talat Aziz, Ila Arun, Jaspinder Narula etc. He has been the guiding force for singers like Sudha malhotra, Sukhwinder Singh, Hariharan, Ghanshyam Vaswani, Ashok Khosla, Siza Roy and Vinod Sehgal. He has to his credit an album as an arranger only for (“Rajan & Rina”).
He also lends active support to several philanthropic endeavors such as the Library at St. Mary's (Mumbai), Bombay Hospital, CRY, and ALMA (an organization that adopts under-privileged students for further education and development).