Essa Mboob AKA Essay or Mam Bai Trained Soldier is arguably one of the most influential lyricists to emerge from the Smiling Coast of the Gambia. The 32-year-old singer-lyricist-producer started music at a tender age of 11 and since then he has been turning heads in the music world. Essay who is now domiciling in Sweden has had more ups and downs than a barrel of manic depressives. For the past five years, Essay has been at loggerhead with producers hence he threw in the towel refusing to tour and to make public performance. However, after meeting with the right industry gurus, Essay could not help but to intensify his musical gears and he is now alive and kicking in music-biz.
“I have not been performing for the past years because I was on strike. I was having problems with lots of producers in Europe because they found my music to be somewhat critical, they were kind of jealous. So frankly speaking, I went through hardship for the past five years because I don’t trust the people I was working with, but doesn’t, in anyway, dampen my spirit,” he said.
Teaming up with his 26-year-old Swedish producer Jatrix of Nordicsteel, Essay is back on form, causing sensations in Sweden and beyond. Today plenty of his critics have begun to sing the praises of his newly- released hit single titled Bai Nyass. Well, during his recent sojourn to his homeland, the Point’s Alhagie Mbye met him at his flat in Kerr Serign where he granted us an interview in the presence of his producer. Please read on:
Let’s talk about your life and career?
I am Essa Mboob AKA Essay or Mam Bai Trained Soldier. I count myself as one of the toughest lyricists of this generation. I was born and schooled in The Gambia before travelling to Europe. I have been living and working in Stockholm, Sweden for the past one decade. I was able to stand and represent my country in the international scene because I’m blessed with the talent.
When did you know that you have talent in music?
The talent starting showing up when I was 9 years old but because I grew up in a family where music is not a favourite, I was kind of hiding. My dad was educated and what he was seeing in the music business did not impressive him at all.
What was that…?
There were a bunch of artists who were drunkards and drug addicts, so he feared me falling in that trap.
And you are an alcoholic now?
No. I’m Bai Nyass Trained Soldier. I don’t drink and I don’t use drug, I believe in doing things in the right way. This is why most of my songs tackle themes like social vices and dishonesty. I believe Gambians in the Europe and elsewhere can earn decent livings using their talents.
What achievement (s) did you registered since you joined the music arena?
Well, I have recorded and released eight songs but I didn’t do it alone. Without my homeboy, Jatrix, I wouldn’t have gone this far. He is the youngest producer in the world. He is not only my producer but he is my real friend.
When did you meet with Jatrix?
I met him two years back and since we have been working collaboratively to produce beautiful songs for our fans.
We were made to understand that you are in town with ‘bag full of surprises?
Yeah! You’re right my brother. I’m here with my producer to support up-coming local talents. We want to produce some of them so as to give them international recognition. Already we have built a mini studio in The Gambia and this studio is now operational.
What is your assessment of the state of Gambian music industry?
Lyrically, the industry is moving forward. Honestly the music industry in The Gambia is moving in the right direction and now is the right time that local artist to explore the opportunities.
Your last words?
Let all Gambians stay positive and change their laid-back attitude towards work, we must try to develop ourselves to the fullest.