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Page added on July 20, 2010
For many Sierra Leoneans he’s largely responsible for the defeat of the Sierra Leone People’s Party in the last general elections through his hit song ‘Ejectment Notice’. Almost three years on Prince George aka Innocent, in a rare interview with salonemjamboree’s Lamrana Bah, reveals the motive behind the song and his recent response to Emmerson’s ‘Yesterday Betteh Pas Tiday’. And the wedding bells will soon ring for the Innocent. (Photo: ‘˜My hands are clean’-Innocent)
When did you start singing?
At a very young age, whilst I was a member of my church choir; and I later started writing my own songs.
What’s your first song?
My first song was ‘Igwe‘, which I did with a friend called Decent when we were members of the Igwe Rap Society.
Where’s Igwe Rap Society now?
The ‘Igwe‘ album was a success but we were cheated by the promoter and we decided to look for another promoter for another album which we were working on by then. However, we did not get anyone to sponsor us, so we decided to go our separate ways.
I was coming from the provinces when I heard that the Libyan leader, Col. Muamar Ghaddafi, would be addressing Sierra Leoneans at the National Stadium in Freetown, and as a leader I admired I decided to go there to listen to him. During his statement he spoke of a shipload of rice which was given to the people of Sierra Leone. I was struck by that disclosure, and I pondered over it for the rest of the day. Why should the donation not reach the people it was meant for? I picked it from that point and decided to do a song titled: ‘Ejectment Notice’ and the release of that song became a turning point in my life. In fact I composed the ‘Ejectment Notice’ album that very night.
After the release of ‘Ejectment Notice’, people started referring to you as a campaigner for the APC (All People’s Congress) party. What do you make of that?
What I believe is that every man is a political animal and every man has the right to belong to whatever political party including myself. I have a party that I belong to but I don’t mix politics with my music because music is a thing of its own. I am just the voice of the people.
What about your reply to Emmerson’s ‘Yesterday Betteh Pas Tiday’?
Emmerson sings what he thinks about the country. I later did a survey about what people think about Emmerson’s ‘Yesterday Betteh Pas Tiday’ and most of them believed that today is far better than yesterday. In fact many say it is very odd to compare 11 years of SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) rule to just three years of APC’s. I am the voice of the voiceless and it is incumbent upon me to explain the truth. So I had to intervene with ‘Gee Dem Chance’. People should not be thinking that I am a one-sided musician or rather bias to a particular political party. I support the majority and I serve as their voice.
What’s your relationship with other artists?
I was a member of the Noble Squad because it was a group representing the east and I am living in the east, which I am very proud of. I played my own part for the team to excel, but I decided to take the back seat because of the growing problems among members of the squad. We still have respect for ourselves though I am not a member of the group anymore. I have a good relationship with all the artists. I consider them to be my brothers and sisters. I show love to everyone but I don’t take disrespect. I am a revolutionary and if you hit me, I’l hit you harder. Discipline should be in this game as music is a mission and not a disrespectful competition. I also believe that some artists succeed through abusing others whilst others through abusing the government, some others by adoring women; but for me I just respect everyone.
What are some of your achievements as a musician?
I am one of the most successful artists in Sierra Leone. Through music, I’ve got shelter, cars, businesses and a very huge bank account. I also have other investments that I don’t normally brag about. I think I have achieved a lot and I believe I am one of the most successful artists, but success comes with lots of challenges. The good thing is I learn from them and move on. I believe persistence is an essence to existence. I am a winner and I don’t believe in quitting, no matter the challenges.
You recently travelled to the United States, what was your trip about?
I got an invitation from a church in the US asking me to perform in one of their annual celebrations because of my gospel song titled:‘Bind them’. I travelled for a week and did the performance, which was great. I have plans to travel with my label, the Money Making Machine.
Is the Money Making Machine your own record label?
I am the CEO of Money Making Machine (MMM). The group comprises myself, M2, Hard and Cool, Nigger Bone, Stunt Man, Rahim and the 323 that is based in the US. As the bible says: When thou has coveted, strengthen thy brethren and this is really what I am trying to do by helping others. MMM is part of my investment as I am teaming up with other artists to develop the industry.
Which of your album do you consider the best?
‘Banya Fakei,’ which comprises songs like ‘Apple of my eye’, ‘Love sick‘, and others, is my best album because it shows people that I can sing other music better apart from political songs. Banya Fakei is also my highest selling album. My best song, for me, is ‘Blessing Borbor‘ because I’ve seen so much blessing and I say To God Be thy Glory.
Talking about God, how religious are you?
I strongly believe in God and Jesus as my Saviour. I came from a very strong religious background. My mother is a born-again Christian and my elder brother a pastor, which makes me very strong religiously.
What do you think about the music industry in your country?
Well, the industry is making very slow progress and the artists are not making money because people do not appreciate the songs they are putting out there. I also believe that the Disc Jockeys have a lot to do in order to develop the industry as they are the ones that are playing the music for the fans. It’s not easy competing with all this foreign music in the land, but as a soldier I have been surviving which makes me one of the most successful artists in the industry.
Why do you think there is always conflict among yourselves, I mean musicians?
Battle for supremacy is perhaps the main reason. Everyone wants to be seen as the best, but I would like to advise colleagues that if someone says he is the best tell him you are the champion.
What do you think artists should do to develop the music industry?
Team work. We have to work collectively so that we can achieve more. If we are divided we will never reach were we aim to reach. If we are divided the fans will be divided too and we will not be able to realise anything for our efforts. Although we are coming from different groups and backgrounds, we still need to respect each other. It is only when this is done we would be able to make money. Let us put our egos aside.
You are working on your videos?
Yes, I am doing my videos that comprise songs from different albums. I am also doing an album with MMM and further working on a personal album titled: ‘Nar Wae Ar Miss’. The videos are by popular demand. I have been doing my songs without videos and I keep succeeding. ‘Nar Wae Ar Miss’ is for those who keep on talking about what they don’t know about me and to tell people that I do not regret all what I have been doing.
What do you do during your leisure time?
I am a family man and I like being around my family, especially my daughter. I also make time for sport, reading, computer games, and browsing the Internet.
Do you have time to pursue your education?
Yes, in fact I am doing an on-line program with a college in the US. I respect education, so you should not be surprised when you hear that I have acquired my Masters in what I am currently studying.
Innocent, are you married?
I am single but not searching. For your information, I will be marrying a typical Sierra Leonean woman very soon.
Thank you for talking to us.
Thank you very much salonejamboree.
By Salone Jamboree www.salonejamboree.com
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