Entertainment, News

Hardlife Avenue duo give insights of their 10 years’ music journey

By Gladys Kole

Hardlife Avenue Stars, the most reliant music band in South Sudan that has been banging the airwaves across the country and beyond its borders with not only hit melodies but educative lyrics since 2011 will this weekend stage one of its biggest music concert of all times as it marks its 10years anniversary of music with core mission of transforming lives.

No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper reporter, Ms. Gladys Kole sat down with the duo; Vocalist Siliman Musa alias Nicky Prince the Finest and Ochwo Junior aka Linus the Genius to get an insight perspective on the 10 years Anniversary from the two surviving members of the Hardlife Avenue Stars music trio band after the tragic demise of late Rapper Murye Alex (aka Mantani the Best Boy) in July last year following a brutal road motor accident.

Gladys: Who are the Hardlife avenue stars?

Hardlife: We are a very unique music group that is built on different values and visions that are very different from other music groups, the Hardlife Avenue Stars is a group that is built on a core vision of disseminating messages on social, cultural, marriages and relationship issues in our societies, we don’t have a specific audience, we target everyone the young and old, we are chosen by God and we transitioned a lot as a trio then to duo and again we changed to a trio a long story to discuss…..

Gladys: What do you guys think about these 10 years? Briefly take me through your journey?

Hardlife: We can say that it has not been an easy stuff with a lot of challenges even musically 10 years from where we started from there’s a big change in the sound, lyrically there’s maturity in our content when you look at the music now from 2011 till date and if you also take a look at our physical appearance, our fashion sense has changed a lot, marriage and kids.

Gladys: What have you achieved in these 10 years in terms of widening your fan base?

Hardlife: We already know our target audience, we didn’t have to fig it around with that so we knew how our content had to be, our language and our audience has expanded over the 10 years but then there were challenges the country has also transitioned through a lot of things, from independence in 2011 and 2013 and 2016 the conflict that broke out affected us greatly so music couldn’t reach out to all the states. But thanks to social media that came in and widened our fan base, people in the diaspora where able to access our music.

Gladys: You guys have had gigs and shows in some parts of Uganda, mainly Moyo, Adjumani among others, did you also organize those events for yourselves or how did it happen?

Hardlife: Honestly we have never organized a show out of South Sudan, we have always been hired to perform be it in Adjumani, Moyo parts of Arua and honestly our music has penetrated those parts more than any part.

Gladys: Tell us about those moments in your previous 10 years that made you feel that the journey was real, the hardship and the joy of it?

Hardlife: Music in South Sudan is a bit tough if you’re not passionate about music you will actually give up because music itself is a way of sending messages but then it is also a business you need to earn from it because we pay to make a video, record audio but here in South Sudan it’s not easy because we only rely on shows and if you’re not hired for one then you can’t have money yet you have families to take care of.

But the positive part is that one feels good to be famous especially as a starter when you’re in the studio, you get feelings of when your song will be played on the radio, when will I appear on the newspaper, yet contrary to that you could be going through a lot internally, people can see you like a king when you are performing but after your challenge reality can hit you hard then we lack privacy yet at times we want to be like any other person who is not famous.

Gladys: Ok, if music never existed, what would you guys be so much into right now?

Linus De Genius: I studied civil engineering I would have been doing that but you know God knew that music is very important, it unites the whole world, in happiness and sadness we need music.

Nicky Prince the finest: I am a Statistician but talent is not an option, it is created in you if there was no music God wouldn’t have created me if there was no music.

Gladys: What name could you change the name “Hardlife Avenue stars” for, if given the chance?

Hardlife: Even if someone brings millions of dollars we will not change the name Hardlife Avenue for any other.

We didn’t just get the name out of the blue, the name is a literal translation from a situation of hardship then avenue our name means a group of people who are fighting throughout this world for a better living so basically the name doesn’t belong to us but to everyone who follows our music, the name is just not us, so no one can just buy us to change the name. 

Gladys: How do you come about to record a nice song? Basically Linus, you could take us through the production process, how do you create up a nice tune that make people dance a lot to it?

Linus: Music is a feeling, the moment you sing is a hard work, imagine you leaving home and I don’t know what you’re coming to sing then I have to get the melody that runs your song, in the process I have to imagine the audience response to your song what I feel inside me I put it practically I love to get the feedbacks from the owners in the studio before the song is out there I concentrate through your art and most importantly how your voice fit in the beat.

Gladys: Can you guys enlighten me about your plans for the next 10 years?

Hardlife: It’s only God who has plans not us, we just pray he gives us the best than the previous 10 years he had given us, in the next ten years if we are still alive, we can do greater things.

Gladys: Have you ever been nominated for some international awards, if yes, when and which one is that, if no why? What is holding you behind?

Hardlife: The fact is we have never been nominated for any international awards and we are not worried because we have our own vision and mission, we all have different ways of doing our things, we are so much into passing a message the awards will come when they want to come but that will not stop us from making music regardless of being appreciated or not but were hopeful in the next 10 years but much concern goes to the souls we are touching.

Gladys: Regarding challenges in the industry as you mentioned earlier, how have you inverted these challenges into opportunities we are seeing today?

Hardlife: For a focused person every challenge you encounter you see it as an opportunity, it’s a motivation for us to even create more songs that can change the situation, nothing is achieved easily, our passion kept us moving and the love we have for each other otherwise easily achieved things are short lived.

Gladys: Tell me more about this Ana Yau Bi Arif song and the whole album? Why is it still trending so much in the country?

 Hardlife: We are trying to think and sing about the happenings in the whole community how people place so much expectations on you without thinking about what you might be going through basically this is about real life stories around us and not just about us, that’s why it has touched souls.

Gladys: What could be your message to the president of South Sudan if he is to attend this 10 years anniversary?

Hardlife:  The President should restore sanity in the country to avoid ethnic violence that is hindering us from organizing concerts in such locations.

Speed up with the process of roads constructions to give us access to the whole country and the government should allow investors to come in especially in the media industry, we need more TV’s to be able to send out our messages easily, more radio stations in all the 10 states, he should make music the key for the transformation of the peace agreement.

Gladys: Well what should be the expectations for the big day since it’s around the corner, Saturday?

Hardlife: It’s going to be colorful; we want people to be like wow we never knew Hardlife Avenue Stars could do this we are performing on a live band, with so much preparations ongoing, performance might be based on what the audience prefer at a point.

We have over 40 performance with comedians inclusive but we are going to split because we’re having two performances 12/11/2022 at Bros Resort- Juba and 19/11/2022 at Nyakuron Cultural Centre-theatre.

Gladys: How is the response to the ticket sales so far?

Hardlife: Our people are rigid and stuck to buying tickets from the gate we have designed a way of buying and booking tickets earlier online but people are responding slowly.

Gladys: If I am right, I haven’t heard a mention of any promoter in our discussion, are you guys the ones who organized your own concert?

Hardlife:  We are the ones organizing our concerts on our own as Hardlife avenue, no promoter is involved, our promoters are so much excited with foreign artists in terms of pay, they even give them a huge amount of money but beg us to go with peanuts for example they can hire an international artist at 15,000 dollars but they give us 300 dollars, these promoters should really shift direction if they want to develop the showbiz industry in the country by organizing frequent concerts for artists who are already doing enough for themselves and this should be all over the country not just here in Juba.

Gladys: Jokingly could any of you accept if a beautiful fan walks over with a proposal even if she’s okay being your second wife or third, you know how it feels to be a wife to a celebrity?

Hardlife: No one to crush on, married and contented but well Nyash moves us.

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