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60 SECONDS WITH GRACEY MAE

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Meet Gracey Mae, one of the many Gatekeepers of the Afrobeats movement.
While working 24/7 to get musicians music heard by the masses Gracey Mae is a well recognised brand within her self, we were lucky enough to catch up with Gracey to find out how she started in radio.

SK: When did you know you wanted to get into radio? 
GM: I’ve always been a chatter box. If you look at my reports from primary school, I was the one distracting others by being talkative. I don’t think I had a defining moment when it hit me that radio was for me; I’ve just always loved being in entertainment and now I’ve got the privilege of using my voice to get other people heard. 

SK: Who are some of the people who’ve influenced you? 
GM: The list is endless but my mum is the most influential person to me. She’s the hardest worker I know, she moves with dignity and integrity, and she’s a boss b! Professionally, I have to honour the strong Black British female journalists that have come before me or walk along side me: Trisha, June Sarpong, Diane Louise Jordan, Angellica Bell, Afua Hirsch, Claudia-Liza Armah, Lukwesa Burak, Gillian Joseph, Afua Adom, Pandora Christie, plus, AJ Odudu, Amplify Dot, Yinka Bokinni, Shayna Marie, Bisi Akins, Henrie, Remi Burgz, Cindy Temi, Miss P, Ola Aweo, Esi, Linda E, Cynthia MVP and the list goes on.

SK: What’s your prediction for Afrobeats scene on radio in the near future? 
GM: I believe our definition of what Afrobeats is will change and it will no longer be the umbrella term for all music from the motherland. Afro house will feature in house sets. Rappers like Nasty C will be played along side the “mainstream” stars like Stormzy, and the southern African vibe will be the new sound of popular African music.

SK: Tell us about your involvement with The Afronation Show? 
GM: For our weekly broadcast I do a significant amount of work from booking guests, to running the social media pages, to editIng audio/footage/images, to radio production. Week on week, I analyse the broadcast and identify areas of improvement. I created the current branding on top of all the stuff you hear on the mic. I research for each guest and engage in highly stimulating conversations.


SK: Any advice for those just starting out in broadcasting? 
GM: Your network is your net worth. Actively engage with people and form a genuine community. Who you know always trumps what you know.

SK: Can radio prepare you for any other professions? 
GM: Of course, in radio you’re ultimately a sales person making music attractive to a new audience. The amount of talking you do could also lend itself to consultancy. Most importantly, by being in the system, you can easily provide PR services based on your network, and A&R services as you’ll be used to spotting a hit record

SK: How have you managed to succeed in so many areas of media? 
GM: God’s grace and mercy, consistent content creation and selfless promotion.

SK: How do you select songs for your playlists? 
GM: My only criteria to be featured on the NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: AFROBEATS EDITION playlist, is the song must have been released in the last 7 days. If I like, I’ll add it.

SK: What are three things you look for when you see an artist play live? 
GM: Live arrangements of the song, un-auto tunes vocals and stage production

SK: Give us an insider tip on what artists are about to break?
GM:  Look out for Victony (Nigeria), Camidoh (Ghana) and D’wante Navire (UK). These men are about to go far!

SK: What song do you currently have stuck in your head these days? 
GM: Sound – Fireboy DML

SK: What is the best gift you have received from an artists? 
GM: It’s not even material for me, though I love presents, it’s usually when they say thank you for believing in me. Like I’m literally a gateway – I’m making dreams come true!

SK: When can we catch you live, please share all your platforms! 
GM: Please join me the @afronationshow every Wednesday from 9-11pm on @thisiswestside, I release weekly @frobeatspodcast on a Sunday via YouTube and all Podcast streaming Platforms, plus I host Unsigned 3 days a week on Instagram Live via @_graceymae; this is a talent show where we review emerging afrobeats artist in the hunt for a star!

Interviews

In Conversation with Mamy Dope

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Following his latest release “Misfits” Mamy Dope continues to bring flow, versatility and word play to the game, we caught up with South London-born, Sierra Leonian rapper Mamy Dope.  
Born Alahji Wurie, the UK rapper specialises in rap, afro swing and trap music and his know for his unique sound and distinctive hooks. Check out our chat as we get to know Mamy Dope.

SK: Who is Mamy Dope?
MD: I am a young unique rapper from South London with an African heritage (Sierra Leone).
From jumpy music to smooth vibes, my music brings vibrant energy to everything I release.
I am all about distinctive hooks and catchy flows, which will have you wanting to get up and bop to my bangers.

SK: If you could explain your music in 3 words, what would they be?
MD: My music in 3 words…I would say it’s Eclectic, Vibes and I guess Dope.

SK: How did you get started as a Grime artist?
MD: As a kid, I grew up with my older cousin and I was always around his friends. They were all into music, so I would always follow them to studio sessions and watch them perform on stage. I would always observe how they would write lyrics, produce beats and imitate their flow.
I have also lost a lot of friends along the way, so the best way for me to grieve is to put it in my music. This drove me to record and release music. I write from my heart and you will hear my experiences in my lyrics. It’s something you hear in Misfits.

SK: What inspired your track Misfits?
MD: I may or may not have been called a misfit growing up lol.  I also used to watch the show Misfits, I personally felt like I could Identify with some of the characters and the show itself. The theme of community support, societal struggle and also sometimes feeling like an outcast (MisFit) is something I can relate to. I wanted to make sure I captured that in my video, with the orange outfits and also filming at the same place where the show itself was filmed.

SK: Does the area or place you come from influence how you make your music?
MD: Growing up in south London, grime music is part of the culture so it is easier to get involved with music. And now the rise or rappers and drill artists and even producers hail from south. Everywhere you look is an inspiration musically and I too, want to inspire people with my music.

SK: How do you feel social media has impacted your music and reach?
MD: Social media has made it easier to reach people and connect with fans and other musicians. I’m not reeallllyyy a social media person, but I know it’s the key to building a community. I do however, have a large following on snapchat so seeing loads of people respond to my stories and repost gives me confidence. I need to tackle Instagram now lol

SK: UK Artists Grime/Drill/Hip Hop are currently on your playlist?
MD: Currently, my favorite artists from the UK are Fredo, Ms Banks, Nines, Digga D, MizorMac, Tion Wayne & Headie One.

SK: What future projects and (or) collaborations are you currently working on?
MD: I am currently working on more singles to be released this year. Fingers crossed an EP next year. As for features, Double S, Omo Frenchie, GB and Mista Silva have blessed some riddims so Im looking forward for that and I hope everyone will be impressed.

Follow Mamy Dope: IG | Twitter | YouTube

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Interviews

First Times with Shay La Rose

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We caught up with independent singer-songwriter, Shay La Rose for this week’s First Time!
The South Londoner shares her first life experiences growing up and being in the music scene.
 
First time I realised I wanted to be a musician, was when I went to the Destiny Fufilled tour by Destiny’s child. I was watching the women in awe and I said yes! This is what I want to do. It was an amazing show, I was blown away by their dancing, singing, style everything! I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do!

First time I had a Diva moment, I don’t really have a diva moment but when I’m on set or on stage, I can be a bit ‘diva-ish’ because I want everything to be perfect, so I’m in tunnel vision, being focused. 

First time I realised I was good or let’s say believed in myself, I auditioned for a label. I queued outside for ages and ages, there was so many different talented artist and I got through! I did not expect it and when they said I was really good, I was like yeah, this is it! They listened to me perform a song a wrote by myself invited me back to record, it was a great moment.

First time I got star struck, Well, I tell this story all the time, some people believe me, some people don’t lol. It is what it is, and it is the truth.  It was Kanye West! In Carnaby street and I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him, he was walking towards me and I said Kanye! And he said “what’s up baby girl” I was like huh? And I ran back to get an autograph lol. I also met David Beckham in New York he was so fine a very sexy man. I asked for a photograph, but he said no because he didn’t want anybody to know he was there lol.

First time I went viral, was last year where I did a video about nobody being above blocking. I really meant it from my heart and I think everyone could relate. It was posted everywhere! Nobody is above blocking. Because if you stress me, block! If you give me attitude, Block!

First time I fell in love, Um… do we need to talk about it lol?
The first time I thought I fell In love was college, but I now know that it wasn’t love lol.
I think it was 3-4 years ago, but that was real stupid love. but it’s good to fall out of love I guess.

First time I performed in front of a live audience, was assemblies and talent shows in school. I made sure that all my friends came up on stage and danced with me!

 

Check out Shay La Rose latest hit ‘She Bad’ produced by Mikes Pro Listen Here

Follow Shay YouTube | Instagram  | Twitter  | TikTok | Facebook

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Interviews

In Conversation with Olakira

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Following the release of ‘4play’ we caught up with ‘Headies Rookie of the Year’ Olakira who took us through his latest EP and life as a musician.

Talk us through the 4Play EP.
4PlayEP is a project with four major tracks and two bonus. It’s intended to arouse my FANMILY and music lovers prior to the main event (my debut Album). The inspirations for the songs came from my travels within Africa during the lockdown, my experience with different cultures and their sounds birth the EP.

What do you feel is the best song from the EP and why? 
Honestly, I love all the songs on the EP and each song appeals to me differently at different times depending on my mood and location, But “Gotchu” is personal because it’s the story of my first real heartbreak.

What drew you to the music industry? 
My elder brother drew me into the industry, he initiated the journey into music when I was a little child, with basic lessons.
Then a lot of practice and experience with the local church band cemented my love for music. I evolved from playing different instruments in the church band, to choir boy and with conscious effort towards development I mastered the crafts of a true musician and the skill to produce my own music.

What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome to gain any commercial success? 
The finances to promote creative contents.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the Nigerian music industry?
The talent and drive is abundant in the industry, but I think the industry lacks proper structures, the government and all stakeholders need to create a mechanism that will see artistes benefit from their creative content.
Also, good quality contents must be encouraged and compensated. We must stop unhelpful hype, that will mess with our creativity. Lastly, the hostility towards independent upcoming acts in the country should stop, everyone deserves fair and equal platforms without prejudice.

How do you separate yourself from other artist? 
I don’t, I think we we are all the same in many aspects.

Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
I am currently working on a new project and I hope to work with some of the amazing talents I have always admired; Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber are top on my list.

What makes your music unique?
My sound is Afropop infused with a feel of RnB and dancehall.

What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilise them?
No tree makes a forest they say, I constantly connect with my colleagues in the industry, producers and artistes alike, to work together and make magic. Connecting and rubbing minds helps in mutual development, I get to learn from them and likewise they learn from me.

Can you give us 5 tracks on your playlist right now?
Summer Time – Olakira ft Moonchild Sanelly
Essence – Wizkid ft Tems
King Sunny Ade
Wasiu Ayinde
Hot Night – Olakira

Tell us one thing your fans may not know about you?
I’m a shy and private person.

What do you have in store for your fans in the upcoming months? 
Pan African media tour, Middle-East linkup, Nigerian club tour, releasing more visuals to some of the songs on the 4PlayEP soon. And I have started working on my debut album.

 

Follow Olakira
Instagram | Twitter | YouTube 

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