BY ROTIMI AGBANA & CHIBUIKE OKAFOR
Bright Ukpabi, better known as ‘Mr. Dutch’ is a young afro-pop musician, record label executive and business man who at a young age had strong passion for music but never had the opportunity to live his passion.
After his success from investments, he decided to establish Dutch Dreams Records, a South African based record company. Mr. Dutch made his music debut in Nigeria with the release of his first official single titled ‘Carry Go’, featuring Yung O.G and followed up with the release of the audio and video of his latest song “She Want”. In this interview with Potpourri, he speaks about his music and more.
You just released a new single “She Want” with the video, why drop it on Valentine’s Day?
Yes, it was planned that way to give lovers something to savour on St Valentine’s Day to spice up their romantic imaginations and expression. It is a love song but I am using the street lyrics to express love for an African woman in a way that everyone can relate to with a slow tempo, RnB, afro-pop feel.
The inspiration came from praising the African woman because all around the world African women are known to have beautiful bodies.
Unlike other women around the world who undergo all sorts of surgery to acquire jaw dropping bodily endowments, African women possess the most attractive feminine endowments and body structure in the world and that is why I don’t mind spending my money just to appreciate them.
Basically, I’m passing a message to African women telling them how beautiful they are, appreciating them because they have the best physique and body structure compared to other women around the world . “She Wants” video is a creation of Dutch Dreams Records, masterfully produced by Kiddominant with a classic performance visuals directed by SOS. ‘She wants’ conveys a cool piano strings, subtle music with that high note in between that chills the ears, producing magical effects and sensational feeling.
How did music start for you?
I’ve been into afro pop music for a while now; my first song was released around 2002 or 2003 and it was in a group called ‘Basket Boys’ in Benue State, but we later changed the group’s name to ‘Three Tribes’ because we were from three different tribes in Nigeria. When we started, there was no money to finance our music; along the line we lost one of our members in an auto accident in Lagos. After that, everyone went back to school.
After graduating from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, I travelled to the United States to stay with my cousins who live there. In 2013, I decided to establish my own record company, that’s when I registered Dutch Dreams Records, then between 2014 and 2015 I signed my first artiste, and from there the story continues.
What is the greatest sacrifice you have made for your music career?
The greatest sacrifice I have made since I started my career is pushing my artistes. I remember while I was pushing my artistes I had other businesses I was doing, so at some point I had to stop going to the office and doing my business to focus on pushing them and making sure they get to where they need to be and achieve what they want. It was difficult because if you believe in someone, not everyone believes in them, and you alone know what you see in them and it eventually paid off.
Which song is your debut?
My first official single is ‘Carry Go’.
Your sound and beats are like Davido’, don’t you think you will be criticized for that?
I didn’t intend it that way; if you listen to the beat well you will understand that all afro-beats sound alike and the beat I’m given determines what I’m going to deliver. So, if you give me the best beat I will definitely jump on it because I usually work with what the producer brings up.
So, when Kiddominant went with his own inspiration and made that beat I followed the inspiration that made him make the beat and that was how we made that song. I didn’t intentionally have the mind to copy Davido’s beat, sound like him or any of his artistes at the time when the music was produced.
Do you think you can withstand the current competition in the music industry?
Music is not a competition to me because music is the art of creativity, the art of sending out a message and expressing yourself. My music is me trying to express myself in the way I feel at the moment I’m making the music. I think I have the talent, so, I do not need to be under any pressure because of what other artistes are doing, I just need to deliver what I think people love to listen to.
So you won’t follow the musical wave going on right now in the music space?
My goal is to create sounds that come from deep inside of me, it may not sound like the current wave of sound but the delivery is what matters. I feel if you believe in what you are giving out there will be people who will love it. I seriously don’t need to follow the trend because no matter what, there must be some people who will listen to whatever you put out.
I remember when Davido sang ‘If’, lot of people were like “This is nonsense, what is he saying”, even Davido was skeptical at the beginning but later when the song became a hit; he was so shocked. I feel that is how music is, it’s better to always give what you feel is good, a message people can remember.
What strategy are you adopting to remain relevant?
When you make music you must realise you are not making music for yourself because as a musical artiste, you are painting a picture for yourself and others. You are doing music for everybody; you may do commercial music but it has to be music that appeals to all, not leaving anyone behind. So, I think I will make music for everybody and I believe that will give me an edge over others.
In recent times, live music is becoming the trend, are you inclined to it?
Yes, I’m prepared for it because I actually like live performances. Live performance goes with the reaction of your audience, so you need to present yourself in a way that the people will want to listen to what you have given to them. I believe in live music and I think I will deliver when the time comes.
How has South African music influenced you?
If you listen to my songs you will notice that they have the South African feel because I’ve been able to infuse elements of South African music into mine.
Which Nigerian artiste do you look forward to working with?
I would love to work with Davido; I also want to work with Tekno so bad, while for producers I would love to work with Master Craft.
You don’t want to work with Wizkid?
I love Wizkid’s music but I have not really thought of working with him although it will be great to have a song with him. If I’m given an opportunity to work with Wizkid, trust me I will jump at it.
What is music to you?
Music is supposed to pass a message, heal people, make people happy and feel good. I feel that music is life, it brings about unity, and music is to bring about change, one way or the other.