King Franki Holyflames is an international reggae music star who now resides in Nigeria. The Kogi State born artiste in this interview with ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM speaks on his musical career, reggae music and his relationship with late Lucky Dube.
What inspired your decision to go into reggae music?
I was inspired to go into reggae music at a tender age, although music has been flowing in my vain from. Birth I grew up with my grandmamma who always take me to church to sing special number. She love singing in reggae and when I was growing up I developed love for reggae music. Even when I was going to Late Bala Milla band at Marafa Nite Club and later Custain Club to train myself, I’m talking about Trustee Band of Africa, even at then, I always listen to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and others. I decided to to go into reggae because of the messages and the revolutionary inspiration that helps to change the society.
How would you describe your kind of reggae music?
My kind of reggae music can be describe as a new fusion and I called it “Hip Root” basically created from root reggae. I took my time to change and create a favourable and modernise style that will appeal and bring back or take reggae back to where it originally belong. Bob Nesta Marley has his originality and style, same goes for Lucky Dube. He has a fusion of South Africa rhythm into his brand of reggae, this great icon created a style which they were identify with. My fusion and style is created to form a bridge linking the old school and the new school. I brought back a new taste of the reggae meal, taking reggae to another level, Nigeria brand of reggae from my ghetto called “Olubojo Reggae Music”. I want lovers of reggae to adapt to the style. It is like eating the same type of food. There is the need to continue to give the reggae fans new brand of innovation. Reggae is not static in styles, Reggae is Dynamic, so that form my new style of reggae.
Is reggae music dead in Nigeria?
Reggae music is not dead in Nigeria/what we are experiencing is that the leading Reggae generals in Nigeria slow down. Nigeria has one of the biggest followers of reggae music in the world. We have lots of people who love reggae music but the reggae generals slow it down. Where is Majek Fashek today? When he came to the reggae scene he was accepted globally, but some things happened and he went off the radar. Where is Ras Kimono, Victor Eshet, Orit Wiliki they all down. I will continue to dish out reggae music with new exciting fusions as I take reggae music to another level in Nigeria and the world in general. Although hip pop and afro beat music seems to be gaining from the slow pace in Reggae, so what do we do? I researched and brought in what will give reggae fans a new taste to keep their first love called alive. Reggae is not dead and can never die.
Who inspired you to take to reggae music?
When I was growing up I was inspired by Bob Marley lyrical prowess. I was also inspired by Peter Tosh and Lucky Dube, they my mentor. I so much love my friend and mentor Lucky Dube kind of style that made me to take into reggae music, my desire then and driven force was to be greater than this great icons of reggae music. I had this belief that I will one day be among this great icons and even do better than them. With this motivation, I chose to take to reggae. In a nutshell, my inspiration is from Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and My mentor Lucky Dube.
What are the challenges you are encountering as a reggae artiste?
The challenges I encountered as a reggae musician is of sponsorship. During my time as an upcoming Reggae artiste, sponsorship and marketing was difficult to get, but thank God today it is better now because I now own my studio, can I call it research lab, from where I can comfortably do my work? On like those difficult years. There is this problem of promotion, we find it difficult to promote our works because of finance.
Which of singles are you promoting?
I’m promoting two singles now, “Stop the Killings,” “Gbangbala Woman. Stop the killings is talking about the killings taking place all over the world most especially the one taking place in Nigeria the message this track is talking about is killing in any form is bad and must be totally stopped. Preaching peace among herdsmen and farmers. Because the world need peace also it preach against forms of killings in the whole world. Gbangbala Woman is a new single that talks about the virtue of a well-trained and cultured African woman. This rich reggae flavour want to bring decency to our society, with a vibrating danceable reggae tune, it’s a must-listen track.
You said you worked with late reggae icon Lucky Dube, how will you describe his personality?
I worked under my mentor Lucky Dube for seven years and I was trained by him. Lucky Dube was the one who mentored me in reggae, I learned the act of reggae under him, and he was a friend and a father in reggae. As a producer, I learnt the act of production when I was with him. He was a family man, who loves his family. Lucky Dube is a God fearing man a goal getter, a disciplined man, he is a man you will always want to be with, he always want to impact positively on people around him.
It is believed that the Afro music laid down by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti is responsible for slow decline of reggae music, how true is this?
No I do not agree because every music has its fans. Afro music has its followership and Reggae has its own. Just as I said, reggae is ever green, it cannot die. It is just that the generals are slowing down and there is no new innovation, and that is why I have come to take reggae to next level. Even reggae has its own version of Afro reggae. It’s all about innovation. I assure you Reggae is a life.
What should your fans be expecting of you next?
My fans all over the world should expect the best of undiluted reggae music. What I have lost for a long time, I’m here to take them to another level, and they should wait for my next big hit.
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