Zubeen Garg was born in Jorhat, Assam and was named Jibon Borthakur. Having a lyricist and poet father and a dancer and singer mother, music was never too far away from him. His mother was his first teacher as far as music was concerned though he did learn tabla under Guru Robin Banerjee as well as local folk music of Assam from Guru Romoni Rai.
Not only does he play the tabla also dhols, mandolin, guitar, ‘dotara’ and a number of other percussion instruments. While still in college he bagged a gold medal for performing a Solo Western number at a youth Festival. That one victory was enough to make him quite studies to take up music. He recorded and released an album in Assamese titled “Anamika” (1992) and since then has recorded a number of albums in his native language. This was also the time when he went from Jibon Borthakur to Zubeen Garg. He chose his first name after Indian-born Western music conductor Zubin Mehta and used his ‘gotra’ for his surname - just to make his name more acceptable!
His entry into the Hindi film music was with the song “Mere Watan” (“Fiza”, 2000) and continued with “Rama Re” (“Kaante”, 2002), where he sang along with Anand Raj Anand, Shaan and Sudesh Bhonsle. The song that catapulted this singer to stardom, however, was “Ya Ali” (“Gangster”, 2006). Since then he has sung for a number of Hindi films, prominent among them being “Jaane Kya Chaahe” (“Pyar Ke Side Effects”, 2006), “Dilruba” (“Namastey London”, 2007) and “Jaana Hai” (“Dum Maro Dum”, 2011).
Apart from singing for Hindi, Assamese, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada and even Nepali films, Zubeen has composed music for and acted in a number of Assamese films. His compositions for the Assamese film “Dinabandhu” (2004) won him a National Award too. When his younger sister Jongki Borthakur passed away in a road accident in 2002, he released an album in her memory.