Julian Sandi is a young Sierra Leonean artiste, singer and song writer based in London, UK.
He says he was inspired to sing by the late great Bob Marley but unlike the Jamaican superstar, he plays Afrobeat and not reggae.
Afrobeat is the most popular music genre in Sierra leone.
Sandi has just released a new single ”Sweet soo”, his 8th single since he started writing songs a couple of years ago.
Julian Sandi is anxious to get a PR team to manage him as he revealed in this brief chat with Francis Ngwa.
Q You have just released a new single “Sweet soo”. What is the song about?
“Sweet Soo” was inspired by a Sierra Leonean musical known as Bobo Lef which was recently performed at Catford Broadway in London. The song is a chorus from the Musical. I wrote the song on the back of that musical which Sierra Leoneans and west Africans who are familiar with the song from the play can easily relate to. I put a new twist to the chorus making it more accessible to youths who like dancing to new songs. The original song is slightly different and I do add some afro beats to my song.
Q Why did you decide to sing in Creole?
I decided to sing in creole because most Sierra Leoneans understand the language. I shoud add that the song is a mixture of creole and English. The main reason I sang in creole is that even people who are not Sierra Leoneans but understand creole can also enjoy the song.
Q It is almost three years since you started singing. How will you qualify your foray into music?
It is a tough industry. I have been trying to establish my voice and find my own market. I want to see how I can stand out in a unique way and so have a long term career in the industry. It has been challenging but I now have a very clear vision of what I want to achieve in the music industry. With the vision I now have, I know recognition will also come with time. I hope to soar higher within the industry as the months and years go by.
Q Before your present single, you also had some others on the market. Can you talk a little bit about them?
Yes. I have seven singles. “Sweet Soo” will make that eight. One of my singles is very dear to my heart and it is titled “it is possible”. The song is about my struggles here in the UK. There is another single titled “Make a Change” which is all about inspiring Africans to work together to make a change. The song says we don’t need to wait for others to make us unite. We have the strength and vision to make a change on our own terms. I have another song “forever diamonds” . The song is also about the uphill struggle to succeed. Diamonds are found in very dark places and we have had a lot of problems because of them in Sierra Leone. Other songs include “your love” and a couple of others.
Q You have eight singles on the market which is good enough to get a single album. Why don’t you have an album on the market then?
It is my desire to eventually get an album on the market but I needed to start producing singles to test the market and see how far they could go. I need to establish a fan base first. “Make a change” has been my most popular single which means as an artist if I write more inspirational songs, I might have a good fan base. I have written a good number of songs but still don’t have enough funds to produce a single album. I will do that as soon as I get the necessary funding.
Q Apart from the obvious financial contraints, what are some of the specific problems you face as an aspiring African musician in the UK?
Management. It is hard to get a good management team that can adequately promote your music. You need to get to know people with a lot of connections within the industry. My music has been well received even though it has not been promoted as it should have been which means if I have a good management team, I can go places.
Q You are just one of thousands of aspiring musicians. If someone has money to invest in you, what would you say are your selling points?
I was inspired to pursue music by Bob Marley and music for me is not only about getting money, For me, music should be a vehicle to send across a message, just like Bob Marley did. Years after his death, his music still lives on. That is the type of inspirational music that I sing. I encourage people to live a better life in my music. For anyone looking to invest in a good quality and talented musician, they should come to me. They will not be wasting their time and effort and money. I will be a great investment.
Q Bob Marley inspired you but he played reggae. You are an Afrobeat musician.
Yes. The genres are different but the message is the same. Like Marley, I have a mission and the mission is to make the world a better place. Whatever genre you choose to do that really does not matter. Bob Marley did not only inspire reggae musicians, he inspired different types of musicians playing all types of musical genres. You have a lot of musicians out there singing but very few actually have any direct impact on peoples’ lives. I want my music to have a direct impact on peoples lives.
Q You are also an aspiring actor?
Yes indeed. I started acting at a very young age and did play small parts in school plays. I have appeared and played small parts in many plays since then. I have also played a part in a feature film called “One Day” and another play “patient 17”.
You can listen to “Sweet Soo” here
Julian can be contacted through his facebook page here
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