The dancehall /Afrobeats game has a new player. Virgo is the latest talent to emerge out of Xtra Large Music, the same camp behind dancehall star, Kaakie. Virgo is more than just an artiste, the fire he brings to the stage puts him right up there with his already- established colleagues in the industry. His unique sound is what the music scene needed, a fresh approach to a genre of music that has dominated for a few years. I caught up with Virgo to find out more.
How did you begin your career in music?
Virgo: It all started when I completed high school, but I was doing music in school.
I used to do school programmes. I used to act in school programmes, shows and all that. So after school, I was discovered by a pillar in the dancehall fraternity, Mr Logic, way back in 2008. It’s been a long journey for me. I have worked with couple of other upcoming artistes like myself. It has been a long road, but I’m here now.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
Virgo: Making it to the major industry, the big league is a challenge for every upcoming artiste, and I have been through a lot. I can’t just say it all. I will say most of it has to do with getting promo. I have my material recorded but it won’t get airplay. I have to hustle my way to get shows. Even if I’m not on the bill, I have just to be there and keep pushing. It has been the struggle for me, but now I have management that takes care of all that.
Where do you fit in, and how different are you from the rest of the dancehall acts out here?
Virgo: Well, I will say I’m versatile because I wouldn’t categorise myself as a dancehall artiste but I’m a musician, and if you look at material that I have produced way back, you will hear Afrobeats, reggae and more. I even write my own stuff. For me, I will say I have what it takes to maintain every standard I want to set on.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Virgo: I mostly get my inspiration from life. When I’m alone sometimes I like to put pieces together. I like to go to the beach and record stuff on my phone. I put down the pieces and get to the studio and work on it. I mostly get my inspiration from daily life, and what I go through in life I make sure I put it back in my music and make sure it is real for people to relate to my songs.
Do you consider yourself as a conscious artiste that has a message in his music, or you are a more of commercial artiste?
Virgo: Well, I will say I’m more commercial, but very conscious sometimes. The content of the music I make has vibes that will uplift, encourage and is also about fun with party vibes. I try to cut across. I don’t only write conscious music, I just go all out.
What are you working on currently at the moment?
Virgo: Well, I put my first single out last October 2015. I’m in the studio now recording major records. We’re working on a rhythm which we have so many major artistes on it, and I’m part of it. I’m looking forward to a great year 2016 and I hope everything will go well as planned.
Is it important for artistes to have separate management or you think that it’s okay for them to manage themselves?
Virgo: I think it’s very important to have separate management because the artiste can’t do everything alone. You need people to put things in place. You need people to do things for you when you are on the road. I think it’s very advisable for every artiste to have a very strong team behind them. If you are always working with a team, you are assured or guaranteed success. One man can’t do it alone. You should have that strong team and that kind of team spirit can carry you through everything.
Let’s talk about performances on stage. How is important for artistes to light up and be really be good on stage as supposed to just making good music?
Virgo: It’s really important because that’s what dancehall is about. It’s about energy and attitude. So, I will say it’s very important to have these two things, the attitude of a dancehall artiste and the energy. That’s the whole basis of dancehall music. I learnt a lot from all the people I used to listen to when I was growing up, like Sizzla Kalonji, Vybez Kartel, Elephant Man and those great artistes way back. They are still very relevant today because of what I’m talking about, the showmanship and the good work they put in their acts.
What’s your opinion on beefs? You know in dancehall, there’s always some kind of rivalry. It seems to be part of the culture to have beef among the artistes. What’s your opinion on that?
Virgo: Well, I don’t advise that because music is a mission. If you really understand the journey of the work, you will understand it’s a mission. Well, that ‘beef’ culture is not mainly with dancehall but it cuts across even in hip-hop you find those kind acts in it. I will say it’s not necessary. You just have focus on the objectives you have set for yourself, where you are coming from and when you are going. On the journey, you will get these kind of situations, people will try to throw shots at you at any time, you just have to defend whatever you are doing, yourself, and your team too.
What’s next for you? What are the plans for the not-too-distant future this year?
Virgo: Well this year, we will be doing more visual work. I’ve been recording in the studio, and I have major records I will be putting out very soon. We will be shooting a lot of videos too. Basically, I will say this year will see a lot of expansion in terms of personality musically, imaging and my brand development.
Finally, a message to your fans reading this?
Virgo: I want to say big ups to the fans! They have been with me from day one and continue to stay with me. I can’t do anything without them. They are my source of motivation. I’m always motivated by them. They keep encouraging me, sending me texts on social media and I’ve been getting so many great compliments. I want to say I love them so much and they should keep supporting me. Virgo is going to be massive.