Not many people know that he was once a fisherman. He has had to go through a lot of testing moments that threatned his faith before hitting fame through music. Delta State-born song-writer and singer, Okiri Tare Harry, who most people know as Harry Song tells the story of his life in this interview with Segun Adebayo.
A lot has happened to your career since you joined 5 Star music label, how would you describe your experience so far?
I am okay with the deal. To the praise and the glory of God, I feel very good about my career at the moment. I could not have asked for a better deal than this. I started singing when I was very small. I grew up with my grandma in my village, Warri South-West. I was born in Warri and I grew up there. When I was with my grandmother, the only thing I know how to do was music.
From that Warri boy to one of the most sought after hip-hop stars in Lagos, how did your journey from Warri to Lagos begin?
I came to Lagos about twelve years ago and I started working on my career. I knew I have got the passion to write songs for a long time. That’s one of the biggest things in my life. I love to write. I have been a writer all my life. I started working with a lot of people, I met Del B, my own producer right now. From there, Paul Play, from there, I met Omotola, Aki and Paw Paw and later Kcee.
What happened to your fishing dream, I learnt you used to be a fisherman?
How did you hear that? You guys hear a lot of things. Anyway, there are two things I love doing in life, writing and fishing. I used to be a fisherman, but music got the better part of me and here I am today. At some point in my life, I will go back to the business.
You must have had some rough experiences before getting to this level, would you mind revealing any?
It has not been easy as I said. There had been ups and downs that I don’t want to go into the details now. Sometimes, there was no money and you want to smile but you just have to keep pushing hard. In the middle of everything, I kept believing in myself. I tried to make some conscious efforts towards realising my goals. I thank God for my life. I can say that I am one of the most privileged musicians in Africa.
Could you expatiate further on that submission?
I see myself as a blessing to the world by the blessing and grace of God because when I think about what I carry and the things I do, not even for myself but for everybody around me, I just feel like I am blessed. I know that a lot of people can sing or write better than I, but God has just been good to me. I just see myself as one of the blessed.
How did your relationship with KCEE start ? I know you guys are very close?
Kcee and I have known each other for a long time. We have known each other when I was not Harrysong and when he was still Kcee Presh. Then I was a boy at Ojez. He used to come and watch me play with my band at the National Stadium, Surulere. We like each other as friends and our passion for good music kind of drew us closer. When he broke up with his partner, Presh, our relationship got closer. We are very close friends and we know how to handle ourselves.
As Kcee’s label mate, how do you feel about his achievement in 2013 and what are your plans to make sure his success does not overshadow yours this year?
I feel great for Kcee because he’s my friend, he has worked hard over the years and he deserves to be where he is today. Secondly, I feel happy for him because I am tapping from that faith that tomorrow is going to be my turn.
You guys stay together, don’t you envy him?
You are very funny. You don’t seem to know the kind of relationship that exists between us at Five Star. Why should I envy him? It is only a hopeless and foolish man that will envy a successful man. You just have to work hard and be hopeful. It is only when you are hopeless that you feel like the good things that happened to Kcee last year cannot happen to me this year. I am happy for him ooo. That’s how you can even tap from his blessing. What can happen to you can happen to another man. We serve a God that is the God of all flesh. He sees and has rewards everybody.
With the blessings that you guys recorded in 2013, some people have argued that pride has started setting into your lives. They alleged that you no longer role with your old friends. Do these things get to you at all?
You have been talking to Kcee and I for sometime now, you should have been able to discern if we are really what some people have been saying. I think these things affect most times in a negative way. Your friends had known you when you were nothing and when things turned around to be different for you, they will begin to stay away from you. Na dem go carry that pride give you.
But what do you think could be responsible for this?
The truth is, it is still the same life that we have and the same God who gave you the life gave you the money, so there is no point showing off. To me, what matters most is how musch you affect the people around you and your after life. What would people say about you? Would they miss you? When you see a celebrity who had been your friend before, don’t feel like he or she has become some monster that you can’t deal with again. That is why you have to keep your friends who had known you before now because they are the ones who can tell you when you are going astray or misbehaving.
What do you wish to have that you don’t have and is there anything that troubles your mind now that you are famous?
We are human beings that need to be loved. As celebrities, we always wish a lot of things that we would feel like going to those places that we used to go and people would still see you as the same person you were before fame came. I don’t feel good about people thinking Harrysong is this or that so they can’t approach me again, it troubles me a lot. I met a girl who told me her heart was broken. I asked her what did she mean by that and she told me that how would I feel if I love somebody but I cannot walk up to the person to express my mind. I told the girl that I was not the one who broke your heart. I didn’t even know about your problem, how come you are blaming me for that. That is one of the many things that we face that I don’t like. I wish a woman could walk up to me and say I love you.
Has any girl ever told you that?
Yes, I have heard it a couple of times. But I have never allowed it to get above that level. I can’t say yes to every girl who says I love you, but I can tell them I love them too. Some people would say they see women as a distraction, it is true but I also see them as a blessing to this world. You know girls could be very excessively possesive, they want to be with you everytime, but I can’t cope with that.
But you need a woman in your life…
I am aware of that. Without women, the whole place would have been so boring. Women are very important to the world. Right now, I need to focus on music, girls can come later. I am not thinking about settling down now. You have to plan these things so that you don’t misplace your priorities in life. When I am ready to settle down, I will.
Your song, Tribute to Mandella, won the most downloaded caller tune in 2013, how do you feel?
I feel great hearing the news. It was such a good way to end the year 2013. When I heard the pronouncement, I felt a sunshine in spirit and I felt like going all the way to do more songs for the man. I was moved by the news of his death and I decided to do something that would connect my fans with the great man. Mandela’s life style and story inspired the song. My latest song, Tele Mi is out there and it already making waves. This is one of the many good things to expect from my label this year. Five Star is my home.
The owner of Question Mark record label may press charges over what he called a breach of contract between you and him. Could you tell us what happened?
I had once talked about this issue and it has ended. Right now, I don’t want to talk about it anymore.