Tuesday, 25 August 2009

For Lara George, the beat strikes anew

The event was supposed to be a media parley on Lara George’s latest album, but it ended up as a mini show, with some top showbiz personalities in attendance. The list of notable faces at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the briefing include Branama singer, Keffe, Sasha, Baskethmouth, Patricia Uwaje-King of the Midnight Crew, Stephanie Okereke and others. Lara on her part, entertained the gathering with Kolebaje and Halleluyah, two of the songs in her latest self-titled album.
From the day Lara George was declared Best Female Vocalist of The Year, at the Nigeria Music Award (NMA), held in Owerri, Imo State, it was obvious that her music career would surely blossom. In fact, from her reaction after the announcement, you need not be told that the mother-of-one least expected to win in the category. However, Lara wouldn’t blow her trumpet. Her debut album, Forever In My Heart, was good enough to edge out other contenders such as Asa and TY Bello, her ex-Kush mate at the event. “I don’t want to talk about anybody now,” she says after the presentation in Owerri. “I think Asa is good on her own side and Lara George is different in her own way. I’m so excited and very encouraged winning this award,” she muses, clutching her plaque in her right hand. After almost 12 months of intense studio work, Lara is back with her latest album, which is a collaborative production effort between Wole Oni and Jeff Taylor. An inspirational work, the album features Run with You, collaboration with Lord of Ajasa, and Halleluyah, with Midnight Crew’s Patricia Uwaje-King. In the new album, Lara deploys her vocal skills to stamp a unique feel in all the songs, thereby adding a refreshing dimension to the work. The songs evoke joy, laughter, depth and a sense of purpose. Like her first solo effort, the album, without prejudice, is a truly timeless piece of art. For Lara, music is about reaching out to people with messages, regardless of race, tribe or belief. “I don’t believe that ‘gospel’ is a genre of music; it’s a way of life. No matter what form I employ in delivering my songs, the message remains the same; hope, encouragement, positivity and helping people to see life from a better, brighter perspective.” She continues: “My desire is to see people empowered in their own minds first, so that they can then go on to become positive agents of change in the larger society, and in their own spheres of life.” Lara’s foray into music dates back to her days at the Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos, where she had the opportunity of being part of the school choir. As a chorister, she was privileged to play lead parts in the school’s musical concerts. However, her professional career in music took off in 1997, at the University of Lagos, when she joined Rocksolid, a musical arm of the Rock Foundation Mission, where she met her colleagues in KUSH. “It was while we were working on our album, Your Dream Come True, that I met TY Bello, Emem and Dapo. We later teamed up to form KUSH.” As a suprano singer for KUSH, Lara lent depth to the more upbeat sound that the group had and provided a balance that, to a large extent, allowed their music to be loved by all who heard it, especially Let’s Live Together, which seemed another national anthem. But after an international record deal and many nominations and awards later, the group decided to take an emergency break. “I always say we grew apart; we were different individuals that had different goals in life and I guess we were not going to the same place in the same way. People wanted to go towards different directions,” she notes. “And when such things starts to happen, the only thing you can do is to say bye-bye and go your way.” That break actually gave birth to Lara’s solo music career in November 2007. Those who have listened to that work will surely agree that, though a gospel album, the songs are classics. “That album is honestly my heart,” she muses. And for sure, it is. As a singer and song writer, Lara touches almost all issues that life brings her way; she’s never afraid to be real, a quality that has endeared her music to many. Meanwhile, Lara’s decision to stick totally to her music career was not an easy decision to take. As a trained architect, Gbenga George’s wife and Adeoba’s mother, the choice “took a series of divinely-orchestrated events. To be honest with you, I didn’t make that decision until 2007. All those times I was with the KUSH and before then, I always do music as a second thing, because I had a job that time. Part of the reasons I did it that way was because of lack of regulation in the music industry. So, I wanted my means of income to come from somewhere, while I would still be able to follow my passion.” Today, Lara is playing music full time. “Oh, I’m playing music fully; the industry has grown over the years and; it’s becoming difficult to divide my time between two interests. For now, it’s music.” To ensure proper distribution, as well as guard against piracy, the work, which is expected to hit music shelves this week, has been licensed to SoForte Entertainment Distribution, Nigeria’s first automated entertainment distribution company, working in conjunction with TNT logistics and Maevva Solutions as its Business process automation provider. The new album, according to Soforte Entertainment, has security device called hologram to check piracy. But is this device going to work in a country like our, where piracy is gradually becoming a way of life? “ Well, you never know until you try. We Nigerians love to complain but no one wants to bail the cat. For me, music is what I want to do, so, I might as well make it work. Nobody else can get up to do this; it has to be somebody in the industry who feels the pain that will know what to do to put a solution to the pain of piracy.”

After MTN Project Fame, Dorcas eyes Addiction
Ghanaian-born music sensation, Dorcas Yeboah, who came to limelight in the first season of the MTN Project Fame West Africa in 2008, is gradually upping his game in the in the already crowded Nigerian music industry. On the other hand, Ghana music market is waiting for their diva to join in the effort to put the country’s name on the world map musically. With two singles, Wuru Wuru Love and Sika from her forthcoming album currently enjoying airplay and massive reviews in the media, work is tsill on for the full album titled Addiction. Nigerian producers Sheyman, K Solo, Dr Frabz, Tee Y Mix and Ghanaian Panji, are are working round the clock in the studio to ensure a quality production, which is expected to drop in the first quarter of next year. In a bid to add the Nigerian flavour to the work, Dorcas will be doing a remix of Wuru Wuru Love, with Koni Koni Love singer, with Klever J, while collabos with other Nigerian artistes are also expected to follow. The album, according to 411 Entertainment, is rich in folklore and will introduce the artistes’ afro-centric style of music. “The video of Wuru Wuru Love, will be realesed this October,” says Akpor Gbemre, the CEO of 411 Entertainment. Born into a humble family in Accra, where she grew up, Dorcas Yeboah started singing in the church at the tender age of 7. The 23- year-old fast rising singer loves hanging out in the beach and lending a helping hand to less privileged.

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