BY Charles Myambo
UNITED STATES-BASED Ghanaian singer Jeff Addo has described some of the country’s singers as among those who motivates him to do better in his musical career.
He described songbird Gemma Griffiths’s style as smooth and welcoming while describing dancehall singer Enzo Ishall’s style as more high energy and party vibes. On Tinashe Kachingwe style, Jeff Addo said she was more into pop music and R&B and is a great dancer.
He said African music brought joy to the world as it was full of beats, culture, dances and high energy. The singer adds that African music goes deep into people’s emotions and produces a desire to just dance and have fun. Jeff Addo is a specialist in the Afrobeat genre and causes waves globally.
His latest masterpiece is the hit album titled Memoirs. Jeff Addo has made headline appearances on BET, MTV, Music Choice, The Shaderoom, Worldstar, Fox News, ABC, CBS and many more. United States-based NewsDay’s Life & Style correspondent Charles Myambo (ND) caught up with Jeff Addo (JA) for a chat and below are excerpts from the interview.
ND: Talent like yours is rarely seen and in the rare cases of such talent, it’s often once in a generation. What has been your formula in setting the Afrobeat industry on fire?
JA: My desire is to create an Afrobeats culture that is infused with R&B rhythms and styles. My formula for that is simply collaborating with great talents, understanding my creative strengths and producing art that speaks to people at any level of understanding.
ND: You have African heritage although you were raised in the US. Could you give us insight into how that impacted your music journey and style?
JA: I grew up in a Ghanaian household and my parents raised my brother and I in the church where we were involved in the choir.
From hearing the beats and rhythms there as well as attending several cultural engagements, it created a strong desire in me to utilise my talent to explore what I can bring to the Afrobeats community.
Being Ghanaian has influenced every step of my musical journey and I am excited to see what is ahead.
ND: One of your favourite lines is Just Trust the Process which is indicative of your affinity for authenticity and hard work. What do you believe are some of the dangers of attaining success too quickly or through questionable means?
JA: Being truthful and being authentic are huge values for me. I would rather enjoy the journey and be prepared for what is to come than to just automatically be famous.
There is so much to take in, so many things to learn and so many people to meet. I would not want to miss a step and get myself in situations I don’t want to be in.
Taking advice from others and having a strong team will help prevent me from those dangers.
ND: You are one of the most ambitious people I know and at the same time one of the most humble. You have headlined at platforms like BET, The Source, California Gazette, Voyage LA and many more, how do you stay grounded after achieving all this?
JA: “God and my team keep me humbled. I realise more and more that my support system is truly God-given. They drive me to do more and work harder.
Their support means so much to me and I am grateful to them.
A level head and having fun is what is needed as you grow and expand as an artiste and I have my team to thank for that.
ND: Who are some of the fellow celebrities who are still on your vision board as far as collaborations? Similarly, who are some of the celebrities you are most proud to have collaborated with over the years?
JA: I desire to collaborate with other Afrobeat artistes like Stonebwoy, Tems, and Burna Boy. I would also like to collaborate with other artistes such as Whale and Raheem Devaungh.
So far I have collaborated with Fat Trel, and Phil Add and I am looking forward to more connections in the future.
ND: Tell us more about your love for African music and Afrobeats. While on that subject, what are your thoughts regarding some of Zimbabwe’s stars such as Gemma Griffiths, Enzo Ishall, Winky D and global superstar Tinashe Kachingwe?
JA: African music brings joy to the world, it is full of so many beats, culture, dances and high energy. It goes deep into our emotions and produces a desire to just dance and have fun.
Gemma Griffiths’ style is smooth and welcoming while Enzo Ishall’s style is more high energy, party vibes. Tinashe’s style is more like pop music and R&B and she is a great dancer. Stars like these motivate me to go even further.
ND: What advice would you like to offer to aspiring musicians who are in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular? What worked for you that you reckon will work for them as well?
JA: Find your own style, find what works for you and your team and chase those efforts. Don’t give up too soon and keep pushing towards your dream.
Focus on having the right people around you that will keep you grounded and motivated at the same time.
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