Humblesmith has to be more this year to sustain momentum
Before Humblesmith came on to the radar with the original version of ‘Osinachi’ which featured Phyno in 2015, he was a young man hustling to overcome a past that involved hawking Moi-Moi in Ebonyi State.
That hustle involved him venturing into the entertainment business as an actor, and starring in a number of films including
Hypertension (2010) with Sam Loco Efe . He later switched to music and chased stardom via composing, recording and performing Highlife music, a genre that dominates Eastern Nigeria.
After a stint in Asaba, and Ebonyi State he moved to Lagos to chase the bright lights of music, and in 2014, he released five singles which failed to blow. But he was undeterred, and a collaboration with Phyno brought him good luck. The original version of ‘Osinachi’ was released in 2015, and it shot him into fame in the nation’s East.
Humblesmith discovered a winning formula, and he was determined to milk it. All of his solo songs had failed to spark, but Phyno’s stardust and fanbase made him more acceptable. He went deeper.
“Music is life and music is reality. Osinachi was inspired by what I have been through as well as the things I am looking forward to. It all started when I went to church to lament my problems as well as pray about them. I had done a lot to prove to people that I was working hard and nothing seemed to be working out for me. While I was in church, it occurred to me that instead of lamenting, I should thank God with the gift I have and use the same medium to inspire people.” The singer told Pulse in an interview.
A 2016 remix of ‘Osinachi’ » broke him through the ranks, and put his name firmly on the wall. Davido took advantage of his situation with Dele Momodu to give the singer a verse on the record that shot the song to new heights. Next single to drop was a collaboration with Falvour titled ‘Jukwese’. » Humblesmith continued to flog his formula, and Harrysong was called on to the remix, of ‘Na U’ – one of the songs released during his dark ages.
But of all these collaborations, only ‘Osinachi’ was successful. ‘Jukwese’ never left the studio, and ‘Na U’ failed to catch. The formula that had worked twice for Humblesmith clearly has overstayed its welcome, forcing him to go back to the drawing board to create a new direction.
That move paid off, and ‘Change’ was released. »
Just as ‘Osinachi ’ so perfectly accomplished, ‘Change ’ contains the sonic magic of 80’s Highlife, and places it in a contemporary context. The tingling guitars and drumming is accompanied by a wonderfully complimentary set of visuals, with Humblesmith and friends rocking all the popular styles of the 80s while essentially having a dance party in a very colourful bar.
The song is of a fine quality and reminds you of a younger version of Eastern Highlife great, B right Chimezie ; only this time, with more colours a broader fan base drawn from a mainstream listenership. The dynamism in the song was evident and infectious with the performer carrying the record with the aid of guitars.
This was Humblesmith’s finest work since ‘Osinachi ’ remix. It showed a singer at peace with himself, exuding confidence and mastery on a stage that he had earlier shared with other acts. This is his world; a microcosm of his entire story, and one in which he reigns.
Where other tracks have been a business decision to still hold on to the bright lights of pop music, ‘Change ’ was Humblesmith enjoying his artistry and scoring high musically. This is the Humblesmith that should come out often. This is the Humblesmith who doesn’t need collaborations to have a shot at greatness.
It failed to pop. Humblesmith’s time on the radar has been one of just one good hit, and many failed attempts to fly. He makes the music with the same formula, but the acceptance has been low. 2017 provides another year for him to make his mark, but he has to take it with both hands.
Or face the ignominy of being a one-hit wonder.