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Bomani celebrates 10 years in music industry

Bomani celebrates 10 years in music industry

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Ten years in the music industry is no bed of roses, by any stretch of the imagination. Just ask Orande “Bomani” Charles.{{more}}

The man with the sultry voice, who captivates the ladies each time he takes a mike in his hand, is thankful to God for giving him such a great career, thus far.

In celebration of his 10th anniversary, Bomani has released his second album entitled “Steady Jamming”. As he put it, “This album is a way of showing appreciation to the fans who show me appreciation.”

Unlike others who knew they wanted to pursue a music career from an early age, the Campden Park resident just stumbled into it.

Taking a stroll down memory lane, Bomani, in an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT, said music was just a hobby in his Primary and Secondary School days.

“I used to sing in church and at school assemblies and hang around musicians after school, but that was just it,” he recounted.

However, it was not until 2001, that Bomani’s love for music developed. That was when he made a conscious decision to get fully involved. In June, that same year, Bomani joined his first band, Black Sand, where he met people like soca artist Shaunelle McKenzie, former Road March King, Raeon “Madzaart” Primus, Johnny Rebel and Adrian Bailey.

“…At that time it was more of a learning experience for me, because prior to that, I wasn’t really into soca music,” he said.

During that period, Bomani said he got the opportunity to travel all over the country for about two years.

After recognising he had a certain way with words, especially in poetry and composition, Bomani started writing his songs. “In my time at school, I used to win a lot of writing competitions and I thought since I am good with words, I will write my own songs…,” he stated.

Noting that he had a lot of ideas, Bomani said he wrote songs, but felt that they weren’t good enough for others to sing or even take a glance at.

“…Well, I say to myself that if I really want people to hear my songs, who better to sing it than me,” he laughed.

In 2003, Bomani received an opportunity to work on the Carnival Cruise Ship as a singer, which he did for one year.

“That opportunity broadened my whole scope of how music and entertainment should be…the standard of entertainment had to be top notch and it was really a learning experience all around,” he stated.

Upon returning to St. Vincent in 2004, this was the year that people really got to know the name Bomani. For the first time, Bomani entered the Ragga Soca competition and the Soca Monarch competition. As fate would have it, Bomani walked away with the Soca Monarch and the road march title that year, with his song, “I Am Soca”.

Admitting that he is not really into the competition side of things, Bomani says he only wants to focus on his music.

“…I was reluctant in 2004, but I realised it was a good platform, which gave me the opportunity to get some exposure. Winning was not expected, but I used my win as a spring board to do other things,” Bomani stated.

After a whirlwind year, Bomani said he was faced with making a tough decision; to go back and continue his contract with Carnival Cruise Lines or stay in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and develop his music career. He had less than two weeks to make a choice.

We all know which decision he made.

Buoyed by the success of 2004, Bomani began focusing on material that would allow him to escape the cycle of competition. “I started focusing on what I thought was music that girls would like and would appeal to people not only in St. Vincent, but outside,” he remarked.

He also added that his achievement did not come without hours of work and dedication. “You have to love what you do in order to be good at it…You can’t just sit and expect things to happen,” Bomani said.

In 2005, Bomani did the trick again by nabbing the crown at the OECS Soca Monarch held in St. Lucia, with his smash single, “I am Soca”. “I didn’t even know the song was that big over there (St. Lucia) and from that point, I sought producers who would bring out a certain style I was trying to develop,” Bomani noted.

This was when the hits started coming. From “Wet” to “I not going down there”, to “Sweetness”, Bomani’s songs were coming off the lips of many who flocked stage side just to hear his melodious voice.

He revealed that his main idea was to build a repertoire that he would always have a set list of music to perform at events. “I met producers like Parry Jack, Cherry Ince, Mark Cyrus and Sean Noel out of Trinidad and I learned a lot from them on how to make music and develop my craft,” he added.

When asked where does the inspiration come from to write his music, Bomani simply replied, “Life and the fans.” “For me, the greatest feeling is interacting with your fans from a musical standpoint…hearing them sing your songs word for word and just to watch people have fun makes me feel good,” he remarked.

After sustaining an injury in 2007, Bomani said many of his ventures had to be put on hold, but that time gave him space to reflect and do some soul searching.

“I just had a chance to assess what was going on around me and I just started to write a calypso, not to compete or anything, but I just felt like I needed for people to hear it,” Bomani stated. In another first for the young musician, Bomani entered and made it to the finals of the Calypso competition and placed third with his song, “Bitter lies”, which he noted highlighted some of the social ills in today’s society.

Noting that he has performed all over the Caribbean and in other parts of the world, Bomani said the highlight of career was the opportunity to perform at the Blues Festival, with a cast of International artistes such as the all male group, “112”. “That was just something out of this world because many people thought I could only do Soca, but I showed that I had a lot more in me…The exposure I had on the Cruise Line paid off and you know, as artistes we have to be versatile enough to fit into any situation,” he added.

A listening party for his album, recently held at Club Rush, was witnessed by a handful of patrons.

The album is available at the Music Centre, the E.T. Joshua airport and several other outlets. Bomani also confirmed that a tour will kick off at the end of July, with the first stop in the British Virgin Islands.

With Carnival 2011 now behind him and placing 2nd for the Ragga Soca competition, Bomani said he has a lot of ideas in mind, but right now, he is focusing on the album and touring. “…Carnival 2011 was hectic, with the ‘Soca in the Dark’ show and all other events, but now I have to move on with the business,” he added.

Bomani did not forget to thank his fans, manager, and his family for all the support they shown him over the years.

SEARCHLIGHT congratulates Bomani on his milestone achievement and wishes him all the best in his future endeavours.