Without any fear of contradiction, I would staunchly posit that the Nigerian entertainment industry, in a bid to be at par with it’s western counterparts seems to have adopted perversity as it’s defining formula. If the musicians are not vainly bragging about their acquisitions of vanity, or their objects of satisfaction, where women have sadly been scape-goated as objects of satisfaction, it will be the movie makers earnestly seeking to uphold sexuality in high esteem. Except for a handful of songs, the type of music being churned out, sadly is nothing to be proud of. They all appear to be cataloguing vanity: paying homage to sexuality. What consequent message is Flavour trying to send across in his ‘Shake’ song; what lesson does Olamide have to teach us with his lifestyle? Nigerian music, as it appears, is traditioned along the ‘Ukwu! Ukwu!!’ ideology of my countryman Timaya; the ‘All I want is your waist’ principle of my brother Iyanya; the ‘Give it to me-ness’ philosophy of my friend Kcee, and any other manner of praising worldly acquisitions to high heavens. Whatever happened to musicians as teachers; musicians as bridge builders; musicians as messengers; musicians as healers; musicians as…? And of course, the majority of entrants into such morally-flawed musical scene are undoubtedly, youths. Young individuals who feel they must compromise their integrity for them to be accepted, young boys/girls who must sell their principles and conscience for the temporary ‘benefit’ of fame and recognition. Thus goaded by the profane desire to achieve and spotlight vanity, in a world where such is highly welcomed, and buoyed by the resultant recognition that is full of apertures, massive doses of contentless and messageless songs are being administered by the majority of entrants into the music industry.
Fortunately for us, in the ill-ridden Nigerian music scene of today, where obscenity is the order of the day, one youth spectacularly carved a niche for himself in the world of singing, by being different from amongst the crowd. Graham Garrick, born 21 years ago, on the 26th of June, precisely, is a spoken word artiste. He speaks, and it is richly interspersed on a background of caressing musical notes. He employs a calm and slick-precisioned display of warm tunes and fine sounds in his voiced expressions. His works majorly, are a mixture of spoken words coupled with andante renditions. An artiste with a difference. An artiste on a mission. Of his mission, he has this to say, “Spoken Words is a medium for me to fulfil my ultimate purpose on earth,” and what was the ultimate purpose spoken of? he explains, “That is the ministry of reconciliation, into which we all, I mean all humans have been called”. Garrick, a Benin by origin, grew up and lives in the city of Lagos. Garrick’s ministry can be best said to have started from his 200 level in the University of Benin, where he is currently a 3rd year law student. It also wasn’t spontaneous, either, for he repeatedly received the calling to minister through the word, yet he defied this ultimate calling, due to his natural shyness and soft-spoken nature, until it got to the point where he could contain it no longer. And being soft-spoken surprisingly did not distort the message of his poetry, but rather made it even more incandescent, as Garrick speaks with such boldness and unpretentious approach that is rare in a 19 year-old. He engages in a variety of awe-stricken messages with a firmness of purpose and a natural flair of inborn fluency. The power that accompany his skilful works are best experienced than explained. In his “IF I WERE HIM” which can be downloaded HERE. Garrick fearlessly espouses the negatives he would have done to humanity were he to be Christ. He starts by using a very rich masculine bass intro, while his imperfect humanity is telling this beautiful story, Garrick explains to us the priceless love Christ had for humans, that made him had to give up his life on the cross. And in “HE UNDERSTANDS,” which can be downloaded HERE. Garrick comforts the afflicted in life, in the most soothing manner possible, using the refrain, “He understands,” all the while rendering this poetic work in a very adorable background outlay of musical sound, full of clarity, which makes everything said and heard to seep deep into the heart, the blood and even bone marrows of the intended audience. The above are just a few of his many works which I listened to.
Garrick has performed his spoken word songs at different venues and on different occasions. His produced works are quite many and he has a vast collection of works that are yet to be produced. He also effortlessly combines his studies with his ministry, as his brilliant class results speak volumes of this. I would boldly say, without any room for apology that Graham Garrick is the next Franklin Edwards, having listened to most of his works. When I received the links to his works and I subsequently downloaded and listened to them, the profound nature of his renditions struck me with such awe that I needed no further invitation to ink him down. He has refused thus far, to compromise his uprightness and standards, in the glaring face of quick recognition and fame that might be gotten from compromising his standards (He even declined having his pictures published here, as he feels it will distort the message he intends to share). Just straight-tow along the path you’ve chosen Graham; keep up the good work of your ministry Garrick, and I tell you, the sky obviously is just your starting point. Even in this perverse generation, I assure you it is highly possible that the desired and right recognition will come at the right time, with the priceless values of your works.