If there’s one thing that could top Happi’s music, it would be his social media game! Webinar’s, pranks (including to his own mum), and awesome content helped propel the Hackney-born Music Maker into the Salute 2017 Finals with the best friend anthem ‘Forever’. We caught up with the man himself to get his reaction and uncover his story.
- SALUTE: How are you bro? How’s it feel to get through to the Salute Finals?
I’m great! It’s only just sinking in but it’s been an amazing feeling to be in the finals. I’ve been surrounded by love ever since everyone found out we got through and now we are pushing hard to see if we can bring it home.
- SALUTE: How was your summer in the lead up to your successes with Salute?
I had a great summer. I decided to leave my job and pursue music full time just hoping that God would see me through. It was one of the toughest decision I had to make as I had been working at a school and built a good relationship with my kids. I believe that it would work out and spent every week of the summer hoping money would come from somewhere else. It was a real test of character but taught me a lot about being grateful for what you have!
- SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like musically?
I grew up in Hackney, in a small flat with a very close family. It was an upbringing full of wisdom, life lessons, and freedom that caused me to believe anything was achievable. Music was always a love for me, whether it was Gospel on a Sunday or Luther Vandross during the week, I fell in love with the beauty of what the warm feeling Music could give. TV also closely shaped my sound. In my house in Hackney, we only had channel one to five which meant I was watching soap operas and kids shows all day, falling in love with theme tunes and pop melodies from very young.
- SALUTE: Did you venture out into any of the music scenes in London?
The local music scenes were always interesting to me but Grime caught my attention very young. My older brother was a grime MC and he would put on the radio at night till late. I remember being 10 years old and listening to Jenny Francis on Choice FM. I aspired to be like them, rough and raw with it, but music always had a much deeper connection with me.
- SALUTE: How did you get started making music?
I started making music by recording songs in my Pop Idol machine my dad & Mum got me for Christmas. I think I was about 8 years old. I would use it to write and records songs and raps that I had. Also, spending so much time in church brought the singer out of me, I would sing in the youth choir and also add raps to the songs to make them more exciting. I was about 14 when I recorded my first song and the journey really began from there!
- SALUTE: When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song at the age of 7, I still remember it. It was called ‘Come to me’ and it was about a girl who was in a bad relationship and me speaking from God’s perspective, telling her that I can help her and wipe her tears away. The song came from the relationship I saw between my mum and Dad, it was hard to process my feelings at the time as what I was seeing in my home was hurting me but music helped me to get out how I felt and has been helping me ever since.
- SALUTE: What gear do you use for recording and production?
Funny enough, I don’t have much gear. I have my Mac, Logic Pro, my guitar and the mic my brother got for his birthday 10 years ago. I record and produce with my producer everything in the same way. I love being quite DIY and makeshift, so there are many times where I’ll find unconventional ways to record in my bedroom like hanging my mic on things to record (I have no mic stand) or clipping the pop shield to my hoody so it stays in front of my mouth for the whole time.
- SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?
I thought the Salute initiative and competition was amazing. I believed this if I could see myself in the finals, I could get there and so I went for it! What Salute are doing for artists like me who are struggling to find their career is life-changing, it gives hope to all around me that I have asked to trust me for years. I did well in university and school but I chose not to get a conventional 9-5 because of my love for music. That was almost 4 years ago now and since then I’ve had multiple jobs, broken down multiple times, suffered through depressions and had to learn multiple skills like graphic design, illustration, animation, video editing etc to feed me daily. It has not been easy but this competition could change everything for me!
- SALUTE: If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
If I was not making music, I would be a learning mentor and behaviour manager in a school full time. I love working with kids & young people. My biggest aspiration growing up was to be an inspiration, a role model, who wasn’t perfect but gave an alternative route to success that a lot of people from my background have taken. I would probably also be making cartoons, telling jokes and critiquing good music in my spare time, more for the love than the money.
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