HARRYSONG – THE UNSUNG HERO IS READY TO BECOME HIS OWN KING
Have music critics, journalists and other entertainment entrepreneurs in Nigeria made the industry an unfair ground to several artistes? The answer to that question is the reflection of so many awards, ratings, countdowns and artistes line-up billed for performances. It’s almost thirty days to the end of the year, as I reflect on the several industry meetings I have walk into, the multiple times I have surfed the net and all the times I have enjoyed reading the papers, the industry has never been this biased in the last fifteen years. The amount of industry opinion makers lobbying around who actually need reorientation about the industry is huge. The degree of vested interest and personal vendetta is denying the industry of well-vetted analysis, opinions, reporting and rewards. Some of the guys trying hard to shape the opinions in the Nigerian entertainment industry are so shallow minded. They sit somewhere in Lagos, share drinks with their record label friends, fly in and out of the United Kingdom, and after all is said and done, they use their little know-how as a yardstick to make an assertion of what the music industry in Nigeria is. Outside the boundaries of Lagos, there are legions of followers and fans of artistes who are denied due respect by those industry heads that are subjective. Even in Lagos, one needs only to go to the nooks and crannies to realize that some of the underrated artistes are like demi-gods to a large number of followers.
As I walked, armed with my Press Access, through a crowd of about twenty thousand outside still trying to make their way into the stadium, I finally made my way in through the clustered crowd. On getting inside the main arena, coming in through the backstage area where the sound from the speakers were so loud, I noticed that the noise still could not match the roar from the ignited crowd that had filled the arena to the brim. The idea of the Phyno Phynofest2016 in Enugu was to shut down the stadium popularly called The Cathedral, instead, he ended up shutting down the entire city. The power and influence of artistes like Phyno is one that some of the industry heads in Lagos are still taking for granted and not giving due respect to. Like in the case of Phyno, so it is for the artiste called Harrysong. Flying straight into Asaba from Lagos on the 31th July 2016 was an eye opener. The entire Delta state was agog with the fever of 1delta #harrysongpeaceconcert. Just like the way the momentum ignited with the hash tag; the event itself lived up to expectation. The question on all lips was how come one man pulled this off? How was Harrysong able to activate and actualize a concert that brought peace into a region surviving by a thread? Yes, such influence and followership is what artistes like Harrysong have in regions where his peers can only dream of but despite all of these, he remains an unsung hero in Nigeria.
As far back as close to fourteen years, I have witnessed the rise of Harrysong like an unknown scientist working on a project that has changed the landscape of civilization. He was that unknown factor so instrumental to the efforts made by Question Mark records, a company once home to music powerhouses like Cohbams and Asa. Like a company’s trade secret, he was that X-factor helping with vocal training and assisting in writing songs for some of the hits that came out from that record label. I have watched him work on hit songs for some of the biggest artistes which pride will not allow them to come out to say he did. Regarded as one of the best vocalists and songwriters in the industry, Five Star music did not make a mistake when they signed him on immediately he exited from Question Mark. In order not to act like artistes, it will not be hard for me to make my assertion and come to the conclusion that Harry was one of the most important ingredients that have inspired all the successful songs ever served from Five Star Music. Who doesn’t need the right people or ideas to put together a winning team? As a testament to his craft, Harrysong has released songs that will be tagged a masterpiece. While in his first record deal with Question Mark he released the single ‘I’m in love’. Within 2014 when he signed the yearly deal with Five Star Music, he did deliver four club bangers and singalong songs. He released Ofeshe, Beta Pikin, Baba for the Girls, Akagum and the monster hit Reggae Blues. February 20th, 2016 at the Eko Convention centre, with a number of top dignitaries in Nigeria in attendance, amongst them Nuhu Ribadu, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, among others, the Reggae Blues crooner was named the Most Creative Man for the year 2016 at the recently concluded Sun Awards. At the recently concluded AFRIMA, he also won best collaboration for same song Reggae Blues. Indications that Harrysong is one of the best vocalists in this country could be traced back to the year 2014 when he broke the internet with the song ‘Tribute to Mandela’, recorded as the most downloaded song on MTN Platform.
While his success continued to unfold in the presence of all that cared to acknowledge it in the industry, he stunned everyone with another epic frontier when unveiled as the brand ambassador for one of the most successful brands in the country. Apart from Saint Louis (St Louis) sugar, few brands can be compared with the success of Gala. He became the brand ambassador for Gala in 2016. In all ramifications, that was a fantastic piece of business for an artiste who is one of the unsung heroes in the music industry. For Harrysong, he’s of the belief that apart from God, he’s in control of his destiny. With all the accumulated knowledge gathered from his deals with Question Mark and Five Star Music, he tweeted early November that he would be floating his very own record label called Alter Plate. Before the industry could wake up to the news, he dropped ‘Bacana’ as the first single under the label. With the rate at which the new single is gradually gathering momentum, it’s safe to say that this unsung hero has designed a plan to become his own King. This new journey might come with his paying the price for fighting his battle alone, but no critic will dare say he has no right to reach out for his own throne. With unconfirmed information of his debut album titled ‘Spontaneous’ due for second quarter of 2017, let’s all get ready for the coronation of a new King.
THE HARRYSONG INTERVIEW
Growing up and how I fell in love with music.
Growing up for me was not easy at all. With my grandmother I learnt a lot but with my stepmother I suffered. I started singing in church from when I was eight years old and it has just been getting better and better and better since then.
Signing with Question Mark records.
I met Kelvin Luciano through Del B, my producer. We both worked on a project for a Question Mark artiste called D’suprem. Kelvin noticed how good I was, picked interest in my talent and signed me on.
Let’s talk about artistes you have worked with as a songwriter?
I have worked with a lot of artistes in this country both in vocal coaching, writing and music directing but you know how they feel when you mention their names, wahala(touble) go burst now so make I shut up my mouth o… lol!
You and Five Star Music, let’s hear from you.
Five Star Music, hmmmmmmm, okay oooo. I officially got signed to Five Star Music in the middle of Kcee’s singles/album project after the separation of the group Kcee Presh. It’s been a wonderful experience working with the team at Five Star Music. I have learnt a lot all through the process, it all made me a better and more experienced music writer. One of the most important things I learnt while working with Five Star Music was creating music that is more business inclined. I can’t forget that and I have also brought that into Alter Plate. And the Alter Plate sound is going to magnificently wow the world because my audience is now ready to see me in my true element.
Do you think the industry has celebrated you in the way you feel you deserve?
Talking about being celebrated as one of the best songwriters and vocalists in Nigeria, my dear, I have thought of this several times and come to the conclusion that they should even keep their celebration to themselves and just keep dancing to my songs both the ones sang by me and the ones sang by my clients as they pay me my money because, after all, who celebration epp? Just kidding though…
Let’s talk about Alter Plate, your new record label?
ALTER PLATE, hmmmmmm, this is a dream come true. This is historic and God’s unveiling grace and power. Alter Plate was just unveiled to the world mid November but this dream and vision has been in the works for like 9 years now. My fans should expect creativity at its best; music that will cut across the universe. Alter Plate will serve you sounds from the heavens.
When should we expect an album?
My album will drop second quarter of the year 2017. I want to say a very big thank you to Mystreetz magazine, my friends, my fans, followers and my wonderful team at ALTER PLATE. GOD BLESS US ALL. HARRYSONG.
words by – Sesan Adeniji