Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer and songwriter Patoranking has signed a distribution deal with VP Records. He made this huge announcement via Instagram on Feb. 9, 2015.
Patoranking, also known as Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, started his musical career doing underground collaborations with artists such as XProject, Konga, Slam and Reggae Rockstone. He signed a record deal with K-Solo’s Igberaga Records in 2010, releasing “Up in D Club” under the outfit. He became a protégé of Dem Mama Records after collaborating with Timaya on his song “Alubarika.” It is a song that he describes as a summary of his life as a musician. In February 2014, he signed a record deal with Foston Musik and released “Girlie O,” a single that has put him in the limelight.
The reggae-dancehall singer spoke of this announcement and the excitement he felt about what it represents in terms of his music career, “This announcement, this partnership with VP, was the best way to start 2015. I give thanks to God, to my fans, to my family, to my close friends, and to my team for what has been accomplished so far. A new book is being written and I am honored to be amongst the writers. It may have taken time for the world to see the talent that lives on the ‘dark continent,’ but now we’re ready to take on the world. I believe music is one of the strongest influencers in the world, maybe even stronger than government. But for my career, signing with VP means that the world now has direct access to my music. I’ve been given a platform that has developed and pushed out some of the biggest reggae and dancehall acts in the world. I have become the African Ambassador for reggae and dancehall music, so I must represent for the continent and show the world what we’ve got.”
In a 2012 interview with Entertainment Express, he said he references socio-political issues in his music. He has described his music as a morally inclined variation of dancehall. Elaborating more he said, “Being an artiste was not a choice, it was a calling. Back in the day, I was a footballer and musician. Ask about me, this boy was (and still is) strong on the pitch. But when I started to focus 100 percent on my music and perfecting my craft, my life started changing and rearranging. Growing up in the ghetto, I have gone through and grown through so many things that could have made me a negative person. But my family and friends made sure that I remained positive and I am thankful for them. So my music is my testament to putting out positive vibes and receiving Alubarika (“God’s blessings” in abundance). My music is my way of speaking to all the ghetto youth and voiceless children and telling them that positivity, hard work, and focus will change any situation.”
He mentioned pioneers in that have influenced him and his style in the music business. He said, “I have had a number of musical influences over time — from the legends Bob Marley and Fela Kuti, to Lucky Dube, Chaka Demus, Majek Fashek, Buju Banton, Blackky and Tuface. All of these artists have changed history through their music.”
Indeed they have changed and made history and it seems that Patoranking intends to follow in their footsteps with the major moves that he is making. In February 2014, Patoranking signed a record deal with Foston Musik and ended his affiliations with Dem Mama Records. It was then that Patoranking released “Girlie O,” a song produced by WizzyPro. The music video for the song was shot and directed in London by Moe Musa. In the music video, Patoranking liberates his next door neighbor from domestic violence by expressing his innate feelings to her. In speaking about the inspiration of “Girlie O” and how serious of a problem he views domestic violence in his community, he said, “First, I have to give a shout out to my team, to Foston Musik, and to the talented Moe Musa. The video and the meaning were brought to life by him. I always try to have a meaning behind all of my works, both audio and visual. Domestic violence is a global issue. There are so many victims living and suffering in silence. Being abused or beaten is not normal in any way, and hopefully one day, women dealing with abuse will not be as afraid to speak up.”
Foston Musik released “Girlie O Remix” on May 19, 2014 to critical acclaim. The song features vocals from Tiwa Savage. It was released at number nine on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10 chart. Tiwa Savage told Ehiz of the aforementioned chart show that she admires Patoranking’s music and decided to reach out to him to do the remix. The music video for “Girlie O Remix” was also shot and directed in London by Moe Musa. He was asked about some other artists that he would like to collaborate with in the future. He said, “I would like to have a chance to work with Major Lazer, Mavado, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Kendrick Lamar sometime in the near future.”
The question that is undoubtedly on many of his fans minds is when can an album be expected in the future? To this, he responded, “By God’s grace, my debut album will be out this year. It’s a daily progress, and I need to make sure my fans are ready for it.”
There are many definitions to success. However, Patoranking’s definition is quite simply this, “Success is setting goals, completing them, and continuing to climb despite any odds being stacked against you. Success isn’t defined by money, it is defined by meaning.”