This is not a tale of rags to riches. This isn’t a story of hard-fought glory. This isn’t about mind-boggling earnings, record breaking feats or about a big bag of accolades. Pardon C, an African music veteran living in the United States, is on the tenth chapter of an interesting narrative of contentment in a career pursuit etched on the foundations of purpose, passion, and patience. ”I have always put 100 percent effort”, Pardon C said. ”But for your song to be a global hit sometimes it is about your time; this life is turn by turn.”
Pardon C has spent the last decade making a brand of African music with a solid cultural texture and melodic pattern. His music leans to the side of highlife music popular in the Eastern cities like Imo, Enugu. He says it is a “touch of highlife” but it is more than just a touch. The element of traditional high life music in his art is concentrated. Pardon C confesses, later on during the chat, that his music has “African native vibe and melody”, which he believes could unite the continent to chorus one sound.
In 2016, Pardon C made an effort to meet his goal of a continental hit by collaborating with Ugandan music icon, Jones Chameleone. This effort turned out to be a case of good intention but bad decision as the relationship between the two artists broke down, erupting into a controversial case. This scar is among the reasons for the Afro-highlife singer’s heedful approach to collaborations. He said to me, “I have initiated some collaboration plans a few times and that didn’t go well.” In some cases it is the factor of money that makes Pardon keep his hand to himself. He said, “Sometimes it is due to the artiste demanding too much money from me and I will never pay such.”
However, the janded artist would be willing to push for a Davido collaboration or a Diamond Platnumz feature. It is a reasonable choice for an artist seeking to make a continent-impacting statement with his music – these two African music heavyweights command an audience size that cuts across numbers, nations of the continent. Pardon would however not mind working extensively with his contemporaries as a Cinematographer, a profession he got trained in, at Film Connection Institute, Washington DC, USA.
The increasing instances of African music scoring global successes in recent years, have come in the form of investments, award recognitions, celebrity endorsements, offshore events. Pardon C is actively benefitting from this industry evolution but more on the outside than on the local scene as an African artist. He told me, ”I have performed in more than 30 states out of the 50 states in the USA.” This evokes an air of surprise, considering that his popularity in Nigeria might not be able to gather enough crowd to hold a large concert. Pardon is well aware of this limiting statistic and he seems to know what to do to change it. “I need to actually live in Nigeria to be well known,” he said.
For Pardon C, the future is in hand. It, for him, starts with a rebranding process which will see him exercise his customary twice-a-year trips to Nigeria, strategically utilize the quality of his team, and the power of the internet in a syndicated effort to push for increased acceptance by the local audience. This should compliment the sizable success he has earned in America where he is a busy performer who has earned multiple awards, and enjoys the title of “an African star.” Pardon C sees himself as an African ambassador in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I could read the confidence in his statement as he said to me, “I represent African here.”
This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets