Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reggie N Bollie: Can they win the X Factor?


On 25 March 2015, One Direction singer, Zayn Malik dropped a bombshell- detonating and shattering into irredeemable tiny pieces the hearts of One Directioners the world over- he was parting ways with one of the most successful boy bands in the world and a career that spanned four chart-topping albums. At the time of his departure, One Direction had sold a staggering 50 million records worldwide.

“I want to be a normal 22-year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight”, an official statement announcing his departure from the band read. Tactful, as is expected.

Reports suggesting he was leaving the band to save his relationship with Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards were rife. Zayn made his real intentions known in rather undiplomatic terms three months later in July when he signed a record deal with RCA to do “real music”, slating his former band’s music weeks after as “ Generic as Fuck”.

The four remaining band mates, Harry styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne have since announced a break from the band to apparently pursue individual projects.

So a quintet of good singing, good looking young men who have sold millions of albumsand played dozens of sold out concerts will each become free agents. On their own, and bereft of each others musical strength that blended so perfectly to birth “What Makes You beautiful?” and other chart-toppers among the band’s repertoire.

The truth, and a very sad one, is that few artistes go on to have successful solo careersaway from their former bands. In most instances, only one individual achieves career milestone that surpasses their former group. Justin Timberlake being a most famous reference. Efya being another.

Like One Direction, Efya (Jane) and Irene were merged on a singing talent show in Ghana modeled after X-factor. She has gone on to become an accomplished singer, away from her former group mate, Irene.

In the Ghanaian music folklore not many breakaways have been this lucky. The two gentlemen who made up Wutah, the Praye trio, Promzy and BukBak before re-uniting, seem to have committed career suicides when they broke away.

And the jury has called its verdict on them: They are a bunch of half talented individuals who were better off with their groups where other group members helped obscure their deficiencies from fans and critics.

To be fair, it is legitimately natural for artistes to want more for themselves. More space on the album cover or greater say in which tracks appear on the on it. If you would believe most of the rumours that are thrown about in Ghana, many groups fall apart due to disagreement over money.

What has been the bane of these groups/bands is their inability to foresee the future: the pre-knowledge that most of them on their own, would sell less albums, fill up less concerts seats or even worse, become forgotten. Hindsight. That is the word.

And Ghanaian X-factor duo Reggie “N” has a lot of it. Each has had a shot at a solo career, with varying degrees of success. Bollie had the biggest song in Ghana in 2004. Not much was heard from him afterwards.

Reggie “Zippy” also released three successful singles in 2006 followed by a prolonged absence from the music scene. Both failed to break into the elite circles of Ghana artistes.

With separate careers that were agonisingly so short, each would have appraised his potential to acknowledge that on their own they are not good enough, and cannot cut it in the excruciatingly competitive arena of music where few survive long careers, especially on their own.

On X-factor, they have the ears of a legion of record producers in Europe, and the heart of ever increasing admirers. Regardless of where they place on X-factor, they are a song away from becoming the most successful artistes from Ghana.

Arguably, Ghana’s most famous artistes now would do well to stick together or plunge into oblivion, a final time.

A feature by Reggie Kyere

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