By Manny Ita and Edward Emmanuel
The music Osinachi is undoubtedly one that resonates with every music lover and the story behind the guy who released the Afro pop is certainly one that would pop the ears.
Maybe it is a difficult thing for music lovers in Nigeria to stay stuck to a particular hit for a protracted time as experience shows that another hit soon comes from the blues and knocks every other one out and so the beat goes on.
That was the picture with the track Osinachi rendered by Chukwuekene Ijemba, a.k.a Humblesmith; a work with new rhythm and style, packed with sizzling vocal dexterity; a work that has brought the crooner great fortunes and the much coveted spotlight.
According to the artiste, my flair for music began at an early age, where he started-off as a footballer, singer and street trader. Subsequently, he later anchored on singing, as his passion grew irresistibly strongly.
I was 6 years old when I first led a group of friends to several social gathering and church programmes.
Humble smith has been around the scene for a while, you know, sort oif paying his dues in the trade . His professional shot was with the track single Chairmoo which didnt seem to cut much ice with the pop population but as someone determined to get to the top, he never relented, maintained his focus and kept the faith and today, beyond even his own expectation, his name has assumed a household status and his songs has popped the charts on Television, Radio and the internet.
Osinachi easily shows Smiths ingenuity; an impeccable delivery of rich vocal strength, whose popularity was accentuated by the ingredient of Phynos indigenous touch.
Smith can only be thankful for the way his music has been so accepted , I am so grateful to God and thankful to my fans and my management who has been pushing my songs to the public, and finally they have accepted me. I am so grateful to God, he humbly noted.
Life was really a difficult one for the crooner as he grew up from a very humble origin, Talking about my background, I was born and brought up in Ebonyi State. My full name is Chukwuekene Ijemba. I was born into a family of ten; five boys and three girls, my mother and my father. The whole thing started from Ebonyi State, which was where I grew up. Somehow, at some point, I found myself on the street hawking to make a living; coming from an average background.
For Humblesmith, challenges are blessings in disguise that prepare one for a glorious future, I hawked moin moin till I finished secondary school. Since I was a kid, I have been a fan of music. It runs in the family as my mum is a good singer, she sings in choir and my father listens to different genre of music as well, he emphasized.
One of those who spurred Smith was Bright Chimezie ; a big motivation for this young talent, which honed his musical skill, just listening to his tunes. I look up to my mother; she encourages me a lot, because she is hard-working and focused. She doesnt give up easily. But, in the music industry, my mentor is Bright Chimezie.
while growing up I was listening to Bright Chimezies songs, hence I had it in mind that someday I am going to take music seriously as a career. So after my secondary school I decided to channel my energy in music. I intended to further my education but I couldnt with the poor background of my parents. As an Igbo boy, I just have to hustle, make the money and go back to school if I can. In 2008, I left Ebonyi State for Asaba.
So, I continued the hustle in Asaba. I joined the Nollywood crew, in few films, I worked as the boom microphone man, the pros and set and a personal assistant. There was a time that I had to work in a construction site, for daily survival. I made some money from there, and then I opened a film rental shop, where I rented and sold both audio and video compact discs. I spent four years in Asaba. Afterwards I left Asaba for Lagos in 2012. Coming to Lagos made me to understand something about music; that music is not all about the fact that you can sing and people are clapping for you. I understood that music is business; if you really believe in music then you have to do music commercially, while you earn a living from it. I prayed to God to connect me to the right person to work with, I fasted and prayed to God to give me a good management. God finally answered my prayers when he connected me to N-tyze Entertainment, which is owned by Bob Kelly Williams. My story changed since I met with him. He told me that if I believe in what I do then he will take me there, and I shouldnt worry and listen to what people say. There were times people said that I should go back to the village when things got very rough. He encouraged me that I shouldnt worry, and that my breakthrough would come very soon, that I should just keep doing good music.
The challenges however in breaking from musical obscurity was excruciating according to the singer, Sincerely, being an artiste is not an easy task and climbing to the top in the industry is also a great hurdle as well. I think one of the challenges I faced was trying to get my songs heard.
It was too much for us that time, and I was confused. I asked myself what is happening. I fasted and prayed, yet nothing changed. At some point, I went to church to pray. I spent the whole day in church; I wasnt even praying but crying and questioning God. I said to God after all the years spent doing music. My mates are already graduates, if it is wrong for me to do this, let me know so, I could do something else. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I should stop complaining, that I should rather thank God that I am young and vibrant than most people out there. I thought of it, and I did appreciate God and that was how Osinachi became a blessing to me.
After I had this conviction, I called on my manager and told him that I just got a new hit. He said amen. So I wrote the song in a church, came back to the house, called the producer, he came over and we worked on the song.
On his collaboration with Phyno, Smith said Trust me it was easy. I do not even know how it all happened, but it was so easy. One thing that I believe is that, once you are doing something, God is always watching and when it is time for him to intervene; everything will work out smoothly for you. After recording the song, we called Phyno and he just jumped on it, with no stress.
Humble Smith is not your everyday gospel artiste but his track Osinachi has deep gospel connotations that appeals to just about anyone, I am no gospel artiste; I only try to pass a message with my song. Osinachi only narrated Gods blessings that I enjoy today. I am an artiste, a musician that can sing any song. One thing is just letting your songs to connect to everybody not just the youths.
At the moment Smith is working on promoting Osinachi one of the biggest hits in Africa by embarking on a tour to London where he will be performing at Crack your ribs. There is still Europe and United States tour. He is also working on releasing another album next year.
For Humblesmith, music was never up for debate and it was not an option either. His passion and belief kept him going till the very last moment.
He further said, No parent would want their child to skip education, no matter what. But my mum wanted me to be a reverend father while my dad wanted me to play football. I only wanted to do music. Although I tried all of that, I worked in church as a manservant, played football for some teams in Ebonyi State, but it didnt work out for me.
Looking ahead, Smith has a dream to perform on international platforms Performance on world class stages, festivals. Nigeria is a stepping stone for me to explore the world. I will like to be a role model to other young talents that have been through the thick and thin of life.
And for those like him in obscurity today whether in music or any other sphere of endeavor, the crooner has this golden words, One thing that every upcoming artiste should know is that if you must eat, then you must work. It is all about working and believing in what you are doing, because your hustle must pay one day no matter what. So long you know what you are doing and you are doing it right. Stay away from violence and evil acts.