Monrovia — Born as Korte Dorbor Bazzie on November 29, in Voinjama, Lofa County, Kobazzie always envisioned a different life for himself.
"Singing is a gift", he says, "there are other things you can go to school for, or learn, but music... . music is different. You have to be born with the talent. You either have it, or you don't." - Kobazzie, The Lorma Boy.
In trying to find out exactly what that life is, he knew that it wasn't limited to the village, so he moved to Monrovia, to further his education. Upon finishing the St. Michael's Catholic School in Monrovia, music was still far from his radar.
Society places a lot of pressure of teenagers just finishing high school to know exactly what it is they want to do with the rest of their lives, but the truth is, not many 16-17 year olds are mature enough, or have their lives completely figured out enough to make the very confusing decision as to what they will be or do for the rest of their lives.
Kobazzie was no different, so he did what most young Liberian boys facing such a decision would do if they knew college was their next option -- he enrolled in the legendary Cuttington University as a Business student to study Accounting and Business Management.
His educational background is one of the most admirable things about Kobazzie. There is a great misconception when it comes to young African creatives, especially Musicians, that one cannot be both formally educated and be an artist, or that one has to choose their art over formal education.
Due to this misconception, many parents do not support their children's dreams of becoming Musicians, Artists, or overall Creatives, even when those children have glaring talents, because the parents feel that those career choices are for people who are not serious about their lives, and that they are not guaranteed an income.
The truth is, one can be both at the same time, and Kobazzie is a testament. When asked what education means to him, he insisted that as an artist, he is grateful to have also attained a formal education because it enabled him to be a man of his own. He always has a backup plan in the case his art ever fails him, as before he was the Star he is blooming into, he was an Accountant.
So just how did this brightening star begin to gain his shine? It all started a little over two years ago -- yes, you read right -- two years ago, while he was in school when he met his friend, the late Producer, Songwriter, and Singer, Quincy Borrowes, commonly known as Quincy B. or QB.
"How did this all start?, this music business?" I asked. He took a long pause, staring straight ahead and finally said, "It started with the 'Ebola Is Real' song and video QB did". "I watched the video, and just felt different. QB was a real talent. The way he sang that song with passion and love, it made me want to sing too".
The two became an inseparable pair, with Quincy B taking Kobazzie under his wing to teach him all he knew about the budding industry of Liberian music.
His eyes lit up as he recalled the story of how his first hit, and one of my personal favorite Liberian songs, "Sleep For What" came to be".
"QB used to just lock me up in the studio sometimes and say, 'my man, you not leaving until we finish this song'". QB give him the beat, and he free-styled the song on it, and "next thing you know, it was a hit".
Since then, several hit singles by the rising star have followed suit. Hits such as, 'Drink on Me', ft. CIC, 'Aye God', ft. DenG, 'Shut Up', and 'Daja'.
With so many hits and such a short time in the industry, where does he get the inspiration from, especially with the fact that he doesn't write his songs, but rather freestyles them?
"The inspiration comes from Liberia", he says -- "Liberian women especially".
Though there is no leading lady currently in his life, the singer says he is mostly inspired by the incomparable beauty and love of Liberian women. Its sweet really, because Liberian music was once the total opposite regarding how it spoke of Liberian women, so its refreshing to see the women being praised, rather than chastised.
Although his rise to stardom is part of the growing success story that is the Liberian Music industry, our Lorma boy believes more needs to be done to help in speeding up the process. "You see -- I always say this -- Liberian musicians have a unique talent.
We are putting in a lot of work, and the fans love the music. But that's all. people come up to me all the time telling me they love the music, but what else will come after the love? We want yall to love the music, but we also need yall to support (financially) so that we can be able to do more", He said.
Compared to the music industries in neighboring countries like Ghana and Nigeria, the industry in Liberia is fairly underdeveloped.
Liberian musicians are having to be very innovative in perfecting their craft, especially with the equipment used, and Kobazzie is working hard to shine light on the fact that more needs to be done.
Like most of the nation, he is looking up to the new government to ensure there is some support allotted to the music industry to encourage the artists and assure them that their hard work is being noticed, and in turn, rewarded.
"So, how do you see yourself moving forward with your music?", I asked. "Where do you see yourself going?" he jokingly responded. It is no doubt that 2017 was a year of blessings for Kobazzie, gaining him over 10 Award nominations including the Liberian Music Awards, the Liberian Entertainment Awards, Tunes Liberia Awards, to name a few, and even a European tour which led him to both Australia and Sweden.
He was also invited to perform at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards hosted in the United States, where he was able to meet some of his existing fans and acquire some new ones. Aside from the awards and nominations, Kobazzie was featured on the BBC African Voices, as well as the VOA African Beat series, an honor not many other Liberian artists can boast of.
So, what IS next for the charming boy who cooks red oil potato greens for a journalist he's never met, but wanted to make comfortable? The boy who dances around with no worries and the same energy as his 1-year old daughter, Sonina? The boy who can't listen?
So far in his short but rewarding career, Kobazzie has only released singles, which were mostly all hits, but now, after parting ways with his record label, Bilikon Entertainment, he is independently working on an Extended Play (EP) of 6 songs. The EP features his newly released two songs "Check Mike", Ft. Stunna, and "Abelaibah", among others.
Through his music, Kobazzie da Lorma Boy intends to popularize the Lorma language because as he said, he is a proud son of Lofa County, and intends to wave high his flag wherever his career takes him.
In the main time, he hopes that the work ethic he and other thriving Liberian Artists exert in their music inspires those who can to support the Liberian music industry financially.
He also encourages his fans to not only support him through words, but to show their love for him by following him on all his social media accounts, and for all the beautiful Liberian women he sings about to play his music through Snapchat and all their social media stories. With that, more awareness can be brought to the unique and beautiful sound of Liberian Koloqua inspired music, and to Kobazzie himself.
"I believe in my sound. I want to always make great music that people can relate to, and I know that I will make it because I am a great singer, and I work very hard to make my work perfect and relatable. All I need is the support."- Kobazzie, Da Lorma Boy.
To support Kobazzie, All are encouraged to follow, reach out, and subscribe to all his social media sites listed as follows:
Youtube - KobazzieVEVO
Facebook - Kobazzie The Lorma Boy Official
Instagram - Kobazzie_da_lorma_boy
Snapchat - lormaboy1
Adrienne Tingba, Contributing Writer