Olaniran Abiodun Olalekan, stage name Hareesto is a South African based Nigerian musician. In this interview, the award winning musician in this interview with TAYO GESINDE speaks about the similarities between Nigerian and South African music, his favourite pastime and how to stop piracy. Excerpts:
Foray into music
I started music early in life because I discovered my talent for music when I was five years old. However, the drive of my parents to ensure that I completed my education made me start practicing music late. With all sense of appreciation, I also consider their desire as one of the best for me because my education is an advantage to my music career. I have been in the music industry for 12 years; I started by learning how to play guitar to complement.
I have a number of mentors and they impacted on my style of music despite not having physical contact with some of them. People like Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman, Phil Collins, and LoukaKanza are the music dons that I really adore.
Work done so far
At the moment, I have two singles and one album. I also have collaborated with K Zinger, Leigh Harmony: they are Nigerian musicians who are also based in South Africa. I am also working on some projects and I am hopeful that all these will see the light of the day very soon.
On how my music was accepted by Nigerians in South Africa
It is general knowledge that Nigerians are everywhere doing well in all the industries that they have found themselves in. In South Africa, Nigerians; especially those of Yoruba descent have embraced my music. I really appreciate their support because if you are not accepted by your people in a foreign land; who will celebrate your efforts?
The similarities and differences between the South African Music and the Nigerian Music Industry
Nigerian music is going international as fast as it can and South African music is also doing the same. However, I love South African music a lot because most of their music are based on African roots beats.
Awards won so far
My Single; I’ll wait, won Pretoria music award in 2012. The award spurred me to continue to make good music and I am all out to delight my teeming fans with quality tracks and videos.
What I miss most about home
Home will always be home. I have missed a lot of things about home. I grew up in a family of seven boys and seven girls. I miss the companionship and the relationship between my brothers and I. I am sure this will make you laugh, I also mis the special Egusi soup that my mom cooks every weekend. In all, the dream to always make them proud of my attainment at home is what I strive for daily.
What I will be doing if I am not a musician
Like I mentioned earlier, Bob Marley, one of my mentors and he was an activist. I would have taken that same path if I am not into music.
I am a very homely person, once I am not engaged in this creative enterprise; I would be in the kitchen cooking some healthy delicacies as medical experts currently advocate.
Assessment of the Nigerian music industry
Nigerian music is growing so fast but I will like to introduce the Motherland soulful art into the Nigerian music industry.
Nigerian artistes I wish to collaborate with
The delectable Asa has always been my favourite musician to collaborate with and I look forward to doing a duet with her either on her project or on my personal project.
How to stop piracy
Piracy is an age-long challenge for the creative industry; every musical album that succeeds fall victim. Unfortunately, the pirates feed well on the sweat of others. However, we would keep appealing to the lovers of good music to support us (the musicians) by purchasing the original disks. I believe that is the only thing way to stop piracy in Nigeria.
On whether I prefer singing with a life band or to be cued with a DJ.
The test of a musician is his ability to play with a live band. A live band needs a lot of rehearsals so that it can also synchronize. That’s the hallmark of a professional.
What I intend to do next
Hareesto has been in the music industry for a while and he intends to go into the movie industry too. These are both creative crafts and they work hand in hand and that is the beauty of the creative industry.
To my fans
Shout out to all my fans. I want to appreciate you for the support that I have received till date. All the efforts that have been invested in my career would have been a waste without your support. Please keep on supporting me and I won’t let them down.
Advice for upcoming artistes
I am giving this advice which is a simple phrase, “Thou shall not give up!”