The name Tommy Breezee may not ring a bell yet, but this is one aspiring artiste that is destined for great things. NewsPlus Editor-in-Chief caught up with him recently and engaged him in a chat on his motivations and challenges. Enjoy it:
NP: Welcome to NewsPlus, Tommy Breezee.
TOMMY: Thank you.
NP: Tommy Breezee; that, obviously, is a stage name. Let’s begin with your real name and where you come from.
TOMMY: My real name is Victory Thomas O. Akhigbe. I’m from Uromi in Esan North East Local Government, Edo State Nigeria. Esan oyeeeeee!
NP: Your YouTube demos are tagged T-Brown. What’s the relationship between that name and Tommy Breezee?
TOMMY: T stands for Thomas, my dad’s name, and the Brown I long changed to Breezee, because my dad Thomas lived a very short life; sometimes when I think of him there is this cool breeze of comfort that blows within my heart. And I love brown colours originally.
NP: For how long have you been in music and how did it all begin?
TOMMY: For as long as I can remember. But I officially took it up as career (sic) in 1996. I would always sing everywhere, disturb everybody and my school mates then will be like, ‘guy, go to a music school’, and from there I started attending local band shows secretly to watch Emperor Wadada, (hahahaha!), then church and so on.
NP: One thing that is common to many music artistes is that they started singing in the church choir. Is that part of your experience?
TOMMY: That has been my life actually. I’ve been in choir too a lot.
NP: Did you receive or have you received any formal training in music?
NP: Talking about training, what’s your academic background? I ask because it takes a reasonable level of literacy to put together the type of lyrics and rhymes that you produce, except of course if a person is naturally gifted.
TOMMY: Am just a dropout (hahahaha!) Well, let’s say education should not determine what you can do with yourself. If you put the power of your mind to work, your possibilities are endless.
NP: That makes your work even more awesome. In fact, some of the greatest men in history dropped out of school to drop into their fortune – but with exceptional focus and hard work. We’ve been following your act. You have this peculiar ability to switch between genres. You rap, do hip hop and even gospel. Do you have a preference? I mean, is there a particular type of music you would like to be identified with?
TOMMY: Am a musician/entertainer. It’s just the power of the mind. I’m motivated to play what comes to my mind at any given time.
NP: Your releases so far are just demos. You don’t yet have an official album, right?
TOMMY: Not yet.
NP: Why is that so? What are you waiting for?
TOMMY: It hasn’t been easy; it’s just me. At this point I need sponsors, musical equipment, a mini studio, training, mentorship; so I can improve myself and my career.
NP: I’m pretty sure our readers would like to see you in action. Which are your favourite demos so far and where can they view/listen to them?
TOMMY: Thank you. One is ‘Oshioriabhegbe’ and the other is ‘If I have my way’.
NP: Oshioriabhegbe is strictly in Esan language. For the benefit of those who don’t understand the language, what is it talking about?
TOMMY: In short, it says it is better to gather people around you than to cover yourself with beautiful clothes.
NP: Wow! That’s deep. Here’s ‘If I have my way’:
NP: I can see you miss your dad a lot and that bit about making him come and live again if you had your way really got to me. Your Gospel demo, ‘Thank you’ is quite interesting too. Looks like you’re a religious person.
TOMMY: Am a believer who can worship both in the church and in the mosque.
NP: Let’s listen to ‘Thank you’ :
NP: One thing that is unique about you is that in this age when many youths cannot speak their native language, either by omission or commission, you sing in Esan language, not only fluently, but with deep philosophical undertones. Tell us the motivation behind that.
TOMMY: Well, Esan language helps me express myself better, credits to my late grandmother, Mrs Ayenosen Eiterebhe.
NP: You quite easily infuse some lines in the local language into your English productions like you did in the birthday tribute to your sister, Pinky Vincent. Does it not bother you that some people might not understand those lines?
TOMMY: Music is a universal language and I have this love and passion to promote Esan language through my songs to the entire world, if given the opportunity, and inspire some of our brothers and sisters who do not understand the language for some reasons to get connected to the language.
NP: In my opinion, the tribute to your sister is a masterpiece for the fact that it was spontaneous and original without the traces of this cut-and-paste mentality of the many wannabes in the music industry. Let’s see whether our readers feel the same way too.
TOMMY: Thank you very much. I appreciate the compliment.
NP: Cool. Here we go:
NP: I assume you have a very close relationship with, and admiration for Suzan, given the things you said about her and the emotion with which you said them.
TOMMY: Yes, there has never been anyone in my life or in my family that believes in me and supports my talent like Suzan; she is a motivator. We’re pals. (Smiles).
NP: How do you manage to do all the audio and video editing, and even graphics, on a laptop?
TOMMY: Believe me, it’s just something you wish you could do and when you go deep in it, you can try something out. So, I keep researching in my own little ways, and keep finding out more.
NP: And the backup singers: Are those potential band members or just friends?
TOMMY: The backups are friends like brothers, who love and support what I do and they’re potential band members as God permits and directs.
NP: I might be going overboard to suggest that some of your productions, even with just a laptop, can compete favourably with those of some established artistes. That’s the way I feel. I know you mentioned some of your challenges earlier, but for the benefit of anyone who might be interested in sponsoring or assisting you, what are the immediate basic needs to help improve your output?
TOMMY: Mostly financing; now is the time to go home to my country and do this full time. I will need accommodation and all of that. You know in our place we believe that anyone that is living out of the country is a made man. Who nor go nor know.
NP: That reminds me. You’re based in Dakar, Senegal at the moment. Was your intention to settle in Dakar or is it a temporary thing?
TOMMY: Let’s just say it is part of an adventure and trying to see where one’s bread can be buttered.
NP: But you would like to return to Lagos if you have the means to set up there?
NP: I noticed that you also sing in Yoruba language. Tell us about that.
TOMMY: Yes, I do sing some verses in Yoruba in my songs because music is indeed a universal language. I believe as a musician you should be able to relate in any language. I’m just a guy who believes that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
NP: I like Kosiberu, though I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about there.
TOMMY: Kosiberu in Yoruba means ‘No fear’. It says in this life that we live, never put your trust in man, God gat our back; No fear.
NP: Here’s Kosiberu:
NP: You may not like my next question, but I’ll ask it all the same. Why should anybody put their hard earned money into helping you and what guarantee is there that you will use the money for the intended purpose?
TOMMY: That’s a tough one really! Well, as they say, you can’t see what someone has in mind by looking at his face. It’s not possible to really see on my hard face (laughter) whether I will go into voicemail after receiving people’s money. But that will be the most foolish thing for me to do because that will be a big disappointment to God who blessed me with this talent. My biggest dream is to make something out of this gift and inspire others to pursue their vision. So, why would I use my own hands to scatter my vision? Besides, I’m not looking forward to being given cash. I will be most grateful if there is a way to help me meet the challenges without putting a cent in my hand. Also, I’m sure the Good Samaritan assisted the victim on the wayside because the good in him told him to help that man, for which I’m sure God would reward him. I know there are still many good Samaritans out there and God is still up there to reward the good works of men and judge those who pay for good with evil. I think that’s all I can say.
NP: And I think you put it very nicely. It seems you would make a good preacher too!
TOMMY: Thanks a million. I’m humbled.
NP: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. From NewsPlus, it’s all the best for the future.
Well, readers, there you have it! That was Victory Thomas O. Akhigbe aka Tommy Breezee. He is like a natural precious stone waiting to be refined. If you’re moved to be part of this TRANSFORMATION kindly contact NEWSPLUS via WhatsApp @ +27 81 704 4519 or indicate your interest in the COMMENTS section of this post and we shall contact you to take the matter forward.
Thanks for your time, thanks in advance for your help, and God bless you!
For more of Tommy Breezee’s demos, you may visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvP957aq7X4&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2I88WebgMIDrqqjMvZHGzEcwrq1W1ymjXIa12BVJX6fha4ZSEh7v766qQ
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