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Nigerian star Patoranking Signs to VP Records

Nigerian star Patoranking is the first African artist to sign to international reggae label, VP Records.

LOYAL VOICE readers may remember two articles we carried back in 2011, which lightheartedly pitted dancehall music against Afrobeats.

The first feature, written by a former colleague, argued that Afrobeats’ growing popularity was leaving dancehall in the shade. The follow up article, penned by my good self, argued in favour of reggae’s unfailing popularity and its worldwide influence.

Since then, we’ve seen musical movements, which have attempted to bring both genres together, perhaps most notably the collaboration between dancehall star Sean Paul and Afrobeats hero Fuse ODG, who teamed up for the 2014 single Dangerous Love.

With the appreciation for Afrobeats steadily growing amongst traditional dancehall-lovers, now is, perhaps, the perfect time for African dancehall artist Patoranking to make his bid for global stardom.

He’s already well on his way, having earned critical acclaim thanks to singles including Alubarika, Murda (a collaboration with Nigerian singer Seyi Shay) and the 2014 hit Girlie O, the remix of which featured Afrobeats star Tiwa Savage.

Now, with the release of his latest single Daniella Whine, Patoranking looks set to take his popularity to higher heights.

Hailing from Nigeria, the talented sing-jay (singer and deejay) delivers dancehall with distinctive African music undertones, as demonstrated on his infectious new single.

Staying true to his Nigerian roots, Patoranking shot the video for Daniella Whine in Lagos and he pays homage to both his homeland and the birthplace of reggae, courtesy of a Nigerian flag and a Jamaican flag that stand side by side in the video.

Additionally, he delivers his lyrics in Jamaican patois, but gives shout outs at the end of the song to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Ghana – as well as Jamaica.

Blending a gruff deejay delivery with a sweet singing style, Patoranking could perhaps be likened musically to dancehall hero Vybz Kartel. And watching the energetic artist in action in the video – donning numerous gold rings, a sheepskin coat, three-quarter length trousers and shoes with no socks – style-wise, he could be dubbed Nigeria’s answer to Shabba Ranks of yesteryear.

But Patoranking is quite clear that he’s not attempting to be an imitation of anybody.

“I try to do my own sound, never forgetting where I’m from, so that my people can understand what I’m saying,” he says of his musical style. “I’m a reggae artist but I do have touches of Afrobeats in my music as well.”

With reggae music’s best-known artists hailing from Jamaica, Patoranking’s Nigerian heritage serves as his unique selling point. But has being a non-Jamaican proved a hindrance for him?

“No, that hasn’t been a problem,” he says. “There are so many talented reggae artists who aren’t from Jamaica. Collie Buddz is just
one example. He’s from Bermuda, but he still does his thing. Music has no boundaries and no limits. If Jamaicans can dance to a hip-hop song that is from America, I’m sure they can dance to one that is from Africa.

GOT THE MOVES: Patoranking in the video for his single Daniella Whine

“Everybody knows that reggae is from Jamaica and everybody knows that Jamaicans are originally from the Motherland; West Africa. So this my music is almost like reggae tracing its roots.”

Well, his formula has proved hugely successful so far, earning the skilled singer a solid fanbase throughout Africa and America.

“We’re still trying to break into the Caribbean market,” he admits. “But I’m sure it will happen. With God by my side and the support of VP Records, I think it will happen.”

Indeed, if anybody knows the Jamaican reggae market, it’s VP Records. The world’s largest distributor of reggae music, the popular label, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, cast its musical net further afield by signing Patoranking for a distribution deal earlier this year.

It was a landmark move, which saw the star become the first African dancehall artist to sign a distribution deal with the label.

“Everything’s been going great,” Patoranking said of the partnership. “It’s going well and every day something is happening.”

Asked what inspired his love of reggae, the singer explained: “I don’t come from a musical family, but music has always been what I wanted to do. When I was growing up, I had a neighbour who only listened to reggae. So through my neighbour, I got to know the music of Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and many others.

“When I was in school we had this miming competition where you could mime songs. I always wanted to stand out and my way of standing out was by doing something different. So I paid attention to reggae songs and when I performed them in school, the girls loved it!

“Reggae artists are like messengers,” he continues. “And the music itself just has its own aura. When you’re in a club and reggae comes on, the whole atmosphere just changes.”

Who are some of his favourite reggae artists?

“Of course, the late Bob Marley – he’s my general. I also listen to Busy Signal, Mavado, Bounty Killer – there are so many artists I love.”

Considering where he sees himself in five years, the ambitious singer says: “I see myself as one of the biggest artists in the world. I see myself bringing through talent from different parts of Africa – and sipping coffee on one of the islands!

“But right now, I’m just so happy and I thank God for everything that is happening in my career.”

Daniella Whine is out now on VP Records

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