In this exclusive chat with PREMIUM TIMES, singer songwriter, Harrysong, opens up on his latest move and why he quit Five Star Music
From singing in his local church in Warri, Delta State, this fisherman turned singer-songwriter, now charges as much as N1 million to write a song.
The muscular artiste found fame in 2013 when his track titled, ‘Tribute to Mandela’ recorded one million downloads in one day.
At the time, it was the most downloaded caller tune in Nigeria and Africa. He also raked as much as N50 million as proceeds from the Mandela Caller tunes on MTN. Until recently, Harrison Tare Okiri, who is popularly known as Harrysong, was signed on with Five Star Music. Now the head honcho of his own label, ALTERPLATE, he is quick to explain the reason behind his exit from the label that made him a star.
“My contract expired and that was why I left Five Star music to set up ALTERPLATE. I am thankful to 5 Star Music Group and everyone who have put in an effort to make the Harrysong brand what it is today.”
When asked if his exit didn’t lead to some form of friction between himself and his former label bosses, Kingsley Okonkwo aka KCee and Emeka Okonkwo aka E-Money, he said, “When the contract expired I aspired to grow and express myself in another light and that’s why I put together ALTERPLATE. This is my vision and this is a dream that I have nursed for so many years. There is no friction between 5 Star Music and I.
“There is also no bad blood brewing between my record label and I. I will always respect my former labels, Questionmark Records, and Five Star Music, because I learnt a lot from them. I will always respect them any day and anytime; there are my bosses.”
So is the feeling mutual? To this he responds, “I don’t know about how they feel but I know how I feel. I had their blessings to move on.”
When asked if Five Star Music offered to renew his contract, he said, “I don’t want to talk about that. Other record labels have approached me but I can’t leave Five Star Music for any other record label. My dream has always been to put together a new platform having learnt a lot from other platforms.”
On the inspiration behind ALTERPLATE, the Gala sausage brand ambassador says, “I started playing music as a music director and choir master in a church. So ALTERPLATE simply encapsulates the various ways I express my music. It also reflects all the effort that I have put into my works and how it has satisfied my clients and my fans over the years. I needed to put this label together to meet the expectations that people have for my brand.”
The 35-year-old artiste also sheds more light on the direction of his label.
“My label mates and I will perform with a live band at any event or concert where we are billed to perform. The ALTERPLATE band is set up to back me up on stage whenever I am performing.
“Having grown in my career, I also have to improve on my craft. ALTERPLATE is also a stand-alone band that will perform without me at events because it is a complete music team. This is a business I have been meaning to do full time for a long time,” he reveals.
Speaking further, Harrysong, who is the only child of his parents also reveals the reason why he has chosen to go solo at this stage in his career.
“I didn’t go solo two years ago because perhaps I wasn’t strong enough to stand on my own. But it’s been a long time coming. I am a strong believer in the popular saying, which says, ‘ A child who doesn’t know how to walk but decides to run will fall down.’ This saying pretty much sums up my situation,” he says.
Although Harrysong appears ready to stand alone, the artiste who moved to Lagos in 2007 where he met KCee who signed him on with Five Star Music is confident in his team’s capabilities.
“I have a team that is assigned to different offices and this will allow me focus on my own music. I will release my own album next year. Writing seminars, live band sessions, vocal sessions.
“I have missed performing live music all these years and this is what I intend to do henceforth. I have no regrets so far because it is all a learning curve for me. For now, there is no bad blood between Five Star Music and I,” he concludes.