Sunday, February 19, 2012



Whitney Houston was born on August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey, in the United States of America. She had a very sound gospel background as her mother Cissy Houston was a great gospel performer. Whitney, just like Michael Jackson had music all around her when she was growing up. The famous Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick are both her cousins, while the superstar Aretha Franklin is her godmother.

She began her singing career in the church and later moved over to the nightclubs of New York where Clive Davies, a music producer spotted her. Whitney did some modeling jobs before she was signed on by Arista Records. Her debut album “Whitney Houston” was released in February, 1985 and it was a commercial success. A track “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” from her 1987 album was a monster hit in Nigeria, the most populous black nation. She won her first Grammy in 1986. She has also won many other awards all over the world.

By far, the most popular and widely accepted Whitney Houston single that cut across race, age and social status is “I Will Always Love You” which was originally written and performed by the country music superstar, Dolly Parton. This single by Whitney is still reputed as the best selling single by a female artiste of all time.

Generally, Whitney Houston has sold more than 170 million records in her lifetime and she is still selling! She has won 6 Grammys, 22 American Music Awards and 30 Billboard Awards before she died on 11th February, 2012. Apart from music Whitney has also featured in three popular films: “The Preacher’s Wife”, “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting To Exhale”.

Nevertheless, Whitney Houston had a negative side, just like any other mortal. Alcohol and drug use over the years have been her greatest demons. She struggled with the help of her family members, especially her mother, to conquer her demons up to no avail. On the other hand, her one and half decade marriage to R & B singer Bobby Brown which ended in 2007 was volatile, though it produced a lovely daughter, Bobbi Kristina who incidentally was with her in the Beverly Hilton Hotel where she was found dead in the bath on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

Emeka E. Okeke

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MAJEK FASHEK: The Reggae-Crooner

Majek Fashek,
an Edo State born Nigerian reggae-crooner is a bundle of talents. He plays many
musical instruments, but he is very popular as a guitarist. Members of his defunct
band “JASTIX” including Amos McCroy Jegg, George O’Well and Black were very
popular reggae instrumentalists and studio session musicians in Lagos in the
1980s. Unfortunately, JASTIX Band as popular as they were then could not record
any album of their own due to disappointments they suffered from music
producers and record companies, especially the defunct JAPEX Records.
Majek Fashek is man of destiny. He was employed by the Tabansi Records as an
artiste promotion manager and before long he mesmerized the company’s
management with his style of singing and a voice very close to that of the late
reggae legend Bob Marley. The proprietor of the company late Chief G.A.D.
Tabansi signed him on to record an album for the label. The then magic finger,
Lemmy Jackson was hired by the company to produce the record. The album titled
“PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE” was released in 1987 and it became an instant hit. One
of the nine tracks in the album “Send Down The Rain” became a sort of a
national anthem in Nigeria in the late 1980s.
Upon the
fortune and fame that this debut reggae album brought to both Majek and the
Tabansi Records, the business soon turned sore and there was a long press war
between the artiste and the company which culminated in Majek Fashek’s switch
over to another record label, CBS Records.
He recorded
two albums for the CBS Records but none of them was successful as his debut.
With his dwindling fortune and fame, he joined the Golden Fleece to America. He
recorded some songs in the United States of America but was not able to break-even
or penetrate the American market. The press did not help matters; he was given
very negative publicity. Many reported his drug related problems and some even
reported that he ran mad and was repatriated back to Nigeria to be treated and
rehabilitated in a church!
However, the
reggae-crooner is back to Nigeria and an entertainment outfit “A-Plus Global
Entertainment” is currently repackaging him. Soon Majek Fashek will stage a comeback
with a ten track album likely to be titled “JAH REVELATION” Will the rainmaker
rule the Nigerian airwaves again as he did in the late 80s and early 90s? Time
will tell!
Emeka E.