Bracket, the Yori Yori crooner was touring the United States, when they met with Bode Ojo, CEO of Golden Icons, and had a brief chat while preparing for their first concert in the United States.
Exclusive dialogue with Bracket in Houston, Texas.
G.I: Hey, how are you guys doing? It’s very nice to have you guys in the states.
Smash and Vast: Doing great, and Thanks, as we are also glad to be here, live in Houston, Texas.
G.I: Being your first time in the states, what has been your impression so far?
Smash: Our experience so far has been great, but at the same time, it’s not easy touring. However, with the kind gestures and warm reception from our friends, who have been taking us to the Mall, and other interesting places, it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve also had the opportunity of seeing some very nice places that we do not have back home in Nigeria. All in all, it’s really cool out here.
G.I: You mentioned that it is not easy here, what experience have you had so far to warrant that kind of statement?
Vast: The driving part of this trip was what I was referring to when I said it’s not been easy here. Just driving down to Houston from Dallas took almost four-five hours by road. Coming from Nigeria, you can easily go from one end to the other end, for example from Lagos to Abuja via an hour flight, and if you have to drive, it will take you about six-seven hours. When we first arrived in the U.S, we landed in Dallas, and we have only experienced travelling by road within one state “Texas”, as our first show is in Houston, and the trip down to Houston from Dallas seemed like it was not going to end. That was quite a tasking experience for us, as we were in the car, and I was like, oh my God! When are we going to get there, and why is this drive so stressful? I actually had a totally different expectation, and I learnt that it could take 12 hours sometimes to travel from one city to the other within the same state in the United States. That’s still hard for me to swallow.
G.I: But the bigger the better, I think; especially a rich oil state with lots’ of facilities, in a rich country! Won’t you agree with me on that?
Vast: Yes that is true, but I’m still trying to get used to the long roads. It’s just different from what I am used to.
Smash: Actually, the United States is more like several African countries put together as one.
G.I: How did you both come together to form this lovely group? Did you attend the same schools?
Smash: We did not attend the same school, but we lived in the same hood. We grew up together, and that was how we came about forming the group.
Vast: You see, I really don’t want to talk about this, but let me just use this means to briefly answer that question. We used to be three in our group, but the third guy is no longer with us, and he is not one of the Bracket. But when we were still together in the group, the third guy used to mime other people’s songs on campus, and he also suggested that we form a group that will contain 20 artistes. However, at that time, we were known as the “South Bracket”, but we were not all living in the same hood then. As I had mentioned earlier, “Vast” and my “fair guy – Smash” were living in the same hood, so we both decided to go on our own, and we also changed the “South Bracket” name to “Bracket” as a result of an advice from a Barrister. Basically, that’s the whole genesis of how the “Bracket” group was officially formed.
G.I: Excellent… I must commend both of you on your hit song “Yori Yori”. It’s amazing to know that virtually all African folks here in Houston, including Tanzanian’s, Kenyan’s, Cameroonian’s, Ghanaian’s etc, know and like the song; How did you come up with that Song?
Vast: Thank you very much, thank you, thank you.
Smash: Initially when we first came up with our first album, it was more of a frustration because nothing came out of our efforts on the album. Literally, no money was generated. It’s more like watcing the video of an artist n TV, and then, you still see that same artist on a motorbike (called Okada in Nigeria)….laughs. We dey enter Okada, dey jump from one Okada to another …more laughs, and people would say, are those not the Bracket boys on TV catching an Okada ride? It was a bad and frustrating experience as there was nothing to show that we were Artistes. Later on, our family background started saying these guys cannot even buy anything, they can’t pay their school fees, and reiterating that we do not having anything to show for being an artist. It was almost as if our problems became worse immediately we became famous. We actually got to a point where we decided to quit, bone this music thingy, and just focus on school.
At the point when we were still contemplating on quitting, another thought came up in our minds. We decided to try something else, and give it some time like 3-4 years. We then decided to do this song called “Yori Yori”. Initially, Yori Yori was not even part of that album. It just came up as one of the last tracks that we did, and surprisingly, people started liking it, and kept saying they believed in the song.
Vast: Basically, we did that song to say thank you to all our fans and the media, and you cannot just sit down and say “I have a Song”, something must have made you to write that song. It is just like the way my brother and I do things, if we get a tune or a beat, we will then decide if we love it, and further come to a decision on whether to do a love song, a reality song, or a Christian song with the tune or beat. However, when the “Yori Yori” tune came up, we initially decided to use the beat to say thank you to all our fans. So when we were writing the song, instead of using my fans or my mother, we decided to use a universal word “My Love – My love-love”, and attaching “Yori Yori” at the end of that chorus. Upon playing it to one of our friends, he suggested that he loved the word “Yori Yori”, and we should consider using it as the actual title of the song, and replacing the word with my love, because it is unique and it has never been used before. Really, I had never heard the word before until then. Initially, we fought over it, to the point that I did not buy into it at that time. However, my brother “Smash” suggested that we should just give it a trial, and let’s see how it goes, that in this Nigerian market, you have to be versatile and commercial. So we decided to give it a trial, and we give thanks to the Almighty God for allowing us make the best decision at that time. As you can see, most of the people that play the song today, love it simply because of the word “Yori Yori”.
G.I: Finally the song, amongst other hits has brought you here to the United States, and you guys are doing big things – Congrats?
Smash: Thank you, and yes we are touring about 5 states during this visit, Texas (Houston, and Dallas), California (L.A), Maryland, New York.
G.I: Who do you guys look up to as an Artist, and who do respect in the Nigerian music industry?
Vast: I think we respect a lot of folks out there, but if I must mention someone “2 face baba” will be the first on the list. He started it all and opened the doors for everyone. Prior to 2face, you’ll hardly hear any Nigerian songs being played in clubs and parties. It was mainly American songs that were aired on radio, TV, and parties; but since 2face dropped his hit song “African Queen”, then a lot of countries came to the realization that Nigerians have good songs to offer, and they all started listening to Nigerian music.
G.I: What about P-Square and the rest of the guyz out there making a great impact in the African music industry?
Vast: Definitely, much respect goes to P-square, and D’bang. I definitely have a lot of respect for them.
I was initially just placing my emphasis on the very first person that opened the door for everyone.
G.I: Thank you both for chatting with Golden Icons, definitely appreciate it.
Vast and Smash: Thank you.
Interview by Bode Ojo for Golden ICONS Inc. Golden ICONS is a celebrity, lifestyle, inspirational and entertainment magazine tailored to embrace and highlight the outstanding deeds of ICONS and Citizens of Africa, America and Europe.