Recalling his early days in Mumbai, Sonu said here on Tuesday at the India Today Group's conclave Agenda Aaj Tak, "When we came to Mumbai, we used to worry about money for our living. We used to stand for hours outside composers' homes and offices in search of work."
Reality shows, he said, have changed that scenario to some extent.
"People don't have to struggle as much. They come here, try to get into reality shows, build contacts and they get to do some shows, which gives them Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000 a night. That keeps them happy and busy. So it's not a hand-to-mouth situation for them anymore," said Sonu, who was the host of 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' in the 1990's.
He has since, judged some new seasons of the same show. He has also been part of others like 'Kisme Kitna Hai Dum', 'Indian Idol', 'X Factor India' and more.
However, Sonu, known for songs like 'Sandese aate hain', 'Yeh dil deewana', 'Panchhi nadiya' and 'Kal ho naa ho', believes real talent is not dependent on reality shows.
"Whoever has to emerge as a big name, will do so whether or not he or she gets a reality show," Sonu said and cited the example of names like Kunal Ganjawala and Shekhar Ravijiani, who lost reality shows but managed to carve a niche for themselves.