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Meet the musical herdsman ‘Kamar’

Meet the musical herdsman ‘Kamar’

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“I’m a useful tool in the hands of women”

It is not so often you run into a herdsman that sings. Budding Afro-fusion singer, Kamar Simon Tachio, simply known as ‘Kamar’ is one. It may sound dramatic, given the temperament of the nation concerning herdsmen, but Kamar is not a conventional one. He only has the blood in him and of course, has done his own share of cattle rearing. In this interview with Star Tracker, the Hausa-Fulani singer reveals his plans to break into the mainstream, using the appeal of his Hausa-Fulani dialect to win through.


Tell us about yourself

My name is Kamar Simon Tachio, I’m from Kaburu LGA in Kaduna state, I’m the second of three boys. I started music at the age of 10, I started by playing the drums and years later I started playing the piano and base-guitar but I started music professionally at 23. I studied statistics at the University of Abuja. While in the university I worked with Dare Art Alade as a backup singer for his band and at the same time I was performing at Salamander Cafe also in Abuja.

I enrolled for Project Fame season four in 2011, I made it into the house but was evicted at an early stage on the show. After project fame, I went back to school to complete my course after which I recorded a song. Ice Prince liked the song and requested to meet me and I went to Lagos to meet with him, he advised me and then tweeted about me and that was how record companies got to know about me and showed interest in signing me, my music kicked off officially from there. After that, I worked with Burna Boy and other artistes like Leriq, I’m signed to All G Entertainment at the moment.

I sometimes sing in the Hausa dialect to project northern sound that is untapped in the industry and to also showcase it to the world. My grandfather was a descendant of Fulani and he was a warrior back in my village. While growing up it was like a culture for people to own cattle, so whenever I got back from school I used to take my grandfather’s cattle out to the fields for grazing.

So, you were a herdsman?

Yes. I have reared cattle before like every other Fulani kid but not any more. My music is now my life and I don’t see myself going back to that.

What’s the life of an average herdsman like?

Nothing complicated. A herdsman just want to rear his cattle because his sustenance depends on it. Contrary to the widely held opinion that Fulanis are violent, they are peace-loving people, though mostly warriors. I don’t want to go deep into this because I know where you are going.

How come you didn’t make it beyond stage one in Project Fame?

I spent two weeks in the house, I was the only contestant that played different instruments in the house among the 17 contestants. We were always given two songs to rehearse and being the only one that could play instruments, I made myself available for other contestants, I was that selfless. I played for them to rehearse, forgetting what I went there for and that it was a competition. Doing that made me come across to other contestants as a show-off and when I was put up for eviction I wasn’t saved because people saw me as a competition, even the judges thought I would be saved because I was loved but that was not the case. People saw me as a competition right from the audition in Abuja. During the audition my performance made one of the judges, Matilda of Rhythm FM cry, that blew up my CV during the audition and people had their eyes on me because of that. Regardless, I had fun, got experience and opportunities.

What genre of music do you do?

I will describe my music as Afro fusion, it is a combination of Afro and Rhythm and Blues.

How has your background influenced your type of music?

I started singing while I was in Kaduna. Where I stayed in Kaduna, there were different denominations of churches and mosques and the clash of sounds from these places influenced my music. There was a Celestial church right in front of my house, I got the Yoruba flavour in my music from there. I also had Igbos as neighbors, so, I pretty much have the Wazobia flavour in my songs.

How many songs do you have out?

I have 20 to 30 songs out already. I also have a 10 tracker EP titled ‘The Audition,’ some of my songs include ‘Darling darling’ which was released under Aristocrat Records. I have three songs under All G Records and one of them is ‘Life goes on’ which I’m currently promoting.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on an EP that will be out by September. The songs on it will be about my experience, from Kaduna to Abuja and then Lagos. These are the places that I have spent most of my time and my experience in all is what I’m about to share.

What is unique about you and your sound given the stiff competition in the music industry?

I’m not coming in to sing the regular, I’m bringing the northern sound and lifestyle into the industry to spice things up. We have people like Olamide, Flavour and Phyno doing their thing, so, I want to showcase the rich northern heritage to Nigerians and the world at large with my music.

How do you think your northern sound will buy over an audience that is attracted to Yoruba flavour?

The audience is attracted to the Yoruba flavour because they haven’t had a feel of the Hausa sound. I realize that whenever people meet me and I identify myself as Hausa people are always happy to hear what I’m saying because I’m an educated Hausa. It is a contemporary move, I sing not only in Hausa but also in English. When I drop the Hausa songs, people will want to know what I’m saying in it, it will be interesting, that, they will want to learn the Hausa language. I want to take away the stereotype that northerners only know how to fight, I want to show a brighter side to us that nobody wants to see. People need to understand that in the past Yoruba music were made only for Yoruba people until people started doing Yoruba music with a more contemporary flavour, then it became open to a larger audience. Also, everyone loves good music regardless of the language it is delivered in.

What inspired you to go into music; the money, fame or the women?

Starting music at the age of 10 I wasn’t thinking about any of these. Back then my brothers would take me out and I would come back with money that was enough to pay my school fees, so, I have never thought about money. It is all about my love for music, I didn’t even know that was the path I was going until I realized that everything I did drew my attention back to music. I play football very well but I cant compare it to music because that is where I feel happy. As I grew older I started to get a lot of attention from ladies, time changes and at a point in my life I had nothing to think about but girls. While I was in secondary school my female seniors would gather around me and ask me to sing as a form of punishment. I sang to save my life at that time. I also call myself Ralia Toy, I refer to every woman as Ralia, so I’m like a toy for women. I’m a useful tool in the hands of women. I like to impact positively in their lives, I like to spread the gospel of happiness to women because I feel that they are not totally appreciated.

Who are some of the artistes you have collaborated with?

I have collaborated with Leriq, LAX, Ice Prince and Naeto C, I was also featured on DJ Jimmy Jatt’s album.

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