NotjustOk hype will feature the future potential heavy hitters in Naija music. Any material featured in this category will be from an unsigned OR up & coming Nigerian/African artiste/producer/record label that boasts of nothing but promising content. There will only be ONE post a month in this category.
If you have or know of anyone’s music that you feel is a hit or any good, please send an email to the official notjustOk email (music-at-notjustok.com) with a link to their page or where we can download the song. BETTERYET, send in the artiste’s song(s) as mp3 attachments along with a brief info/bio and a picture/artwork.
After releasing his debut, hit single “Alubarika” featuring his mentor Timaya, everyone sat up and had no choice but to pay attention to the name Patoranking. Due to his innate hunger to WIN, he got back in the studio and created another smash single titled “Girlie O”.
As if that was not enough, he connected with Tiwa Savage and released the remix and video to Girlie O which solidified his name and brand in the Nigerian Music industry as a person to always look out for when he drops a single… and he did all this within a year. However, it was just the beginning of his success, but Patoranking will tell you that he has been working very hard for many years.
Read his story below and see how he got to this point as we present to you Notjustok Hype for September 2014; Patoranking!!!
Hey Pato, How’s it going?
NOTJUSTOK! Everything straight, everything cool. As an artist, I wake up everyday and I’m thankful for the fans that encourage me and show me how my music has grown & how far it has traveled. They also remind me of how much harder I need to work to make my music reach places I may never.
Now, Tell us, Who exactly is PATORANKING and how can you describe your style of music?
I am Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, popularly known as Patoranking, I have been doing music since when I was very, very young. Growing up in the ghetto and being the oldest of 4, I put pressure on myself to change the course of my family name. In my music, I express my thoughts, feelings, and passion to the world. And I have plenty to share, enough for the world to hear & enjoy.
My style of music is reggae/dancehall. It is a universal sound & genre that I have much respect for and that I have grown up listening to. I started picking up interest in reggae & dancehall when I was young, listening to the likes of Blakky, Ras Kimono, Bob Marley and other reggae musician due to the environment I grew up in.
How did you come about that name PATORANKING?
There was a time when I went by the name, Patoranko. I thought it was the coolest name because I was pursuing both music and football at the time. Then in Lagos, there was a time I went to the beach and I was opportune to meet a rasta. We were vibing as he was strumming his guitar, and then he asked me my name. I told him it was Patoranko, and he gave me a funny look. He told me that my name should be Patoranking, and he explained to me that “Ranking” in Jamaica means highly respected. Since then, that’s the name I have gone by.
Tell us how the music all started, the early days and all.
I started first as a dancer, and then I was opportune to meet people who truly believed in my musical talent as much as I believed in myself. In my early days underground, I have done more than 120 collaborations, which include legends such as XProject, Konga, Slam and Reggie Rockstone from Ghana. Now fast forward to 2013 when I released my first official single “Alubarika” which featured Timaya, and the rest is history. “Alubarika”, “Girlie O”, the remix featuring Tiwa Savage, and now “Happy Day”.
Professionally, how long have you been doing music?
Since 2008/2009, I’ve been pushing out music on a professional level and working with A-list talent. Success did not come overnight. I pushed myself everyday to work harder so that I would have opportunities to work with the best.
Where does the Inspiration come from?
The inspiration comes from my life: my struggles, my hardships, my good moments, my friends, my family, my fans. Music tells the stories that I can’t express through plain words or interviews, haha.
Your biggest influences when coming up as an artiste?
Blakky, Ras Kimono, Bob Marley, Reggie Rockstone.
Now, I know of some people who have been questioning this Jamaican accent of yours. How exactly did you come about it?
Patois is a language like any other language in the world. And just like everything in life, the more you immerse yourself in it; the more it becomes a part of your being. Reggae reggae, the real reggae sounds and dancehall vibes are where the knowledge and love comes from. Through the course of my life, I have had opportunities to meet and vibe with rastas who have served as great mentors and friends of my career and music.
I think ALUBARIKA was that song that brought you out to the limelight. Am I right?
You are right. Alubarika was the breakthrough. Shoutout to K Solo, Shoutout to Timaya. Shoutout to Del B. These are the people that without them, there might not have been an “Alubarika”. It was my breakout song and to this day, is the anthem in my ghetto and to people who hustle to make ends meet. We thank God for seeing all of my hard work and for letting opportunity to meet talent.
Immediately after ALUBARIKA, you left DEM MAMA Records and rumours were that you had a disagreement with Timaya. Tell us what happened?
Dem Mama Records are family. We have always been a family. There was never a record label contract or anything like that. They supported my career and wanted to give me a platform to grow. All families have a quarrel from time to time, but we are still family. That’s all that matters.
Still talking of Timaya. Of what influence can you say he has had on your career?
Timaya has been an inspiration, and created a road for many of us artists to travel, including myself. I met him in 2011 while I was working in K Solo’s studio. I’m blessed to have had an opportunity to work with him on my project and then recently on his latest album as well.
Signing to FOSTON MUSIK was as fast as Usain Bolt on the tracks. Were they already waiting in the wings? How did it happen so fast?
Foston Musik has always been family, way before the breakthrough. They saw that I was working hard on my own to push my music and they were willing to give me the support that I needed to reach the rest of Africa and the world. I am always thankful for anyone that gives me their time because our time is the only thing we truly own. Foston Musik shares the same vision that my manager and I share. And when talent meets money, the world is at your doorstep.
Officially, how many singles do you have as an artiste?
Alubarika (produced by Del B)
Girlie O (produced by WizzyPro)
Girlie O Remix
Happy Day (produced by WizzyPro)
Girlie O was and is still a major HIT. Tell us more about that and how Tiwa came up on the remix.
My team and I were thinking about which direction to go next. Then, in an interview, Tiwa expressed her interest in wanting to work with me. From there, I began to think what track of mine would bring out a different sound from Tiwa and push her to create something unique. The idea of doing a remix came up, we reached out to management, shared the idea with her, and the rest is written. A week after, we flew to London to shoot the video.
Now, I have to say we haven’t really heard much from you after Girlie O. What’s in the works for PATORANKING?
My team and I have been more eager than anyone to release more music. But the issue has always been that we underestimated the strength of Alubarika and Girlie O. Alubarika was at the top of the charts for over 7 months, and the same with Girlie O. Both are still receiving lots of love and spins locally and international. In this market, we didn’t expect the tracks to last this long, and it’s just beginning to make some solid waves in the international markets.
Now that we’ve released the new single and video, “Happy Day”, we hope everyone likes what they hear. It’s a feel good love song and video that is perfect for any wedding introduction. It reminds us that love transcends all obstacles created by man. Every man should sing this song to his woman. But guys, just remember to turn off the lights after singing this song to your girlie o.
How do you see the competition in the Nigerian Music Industry?
I love the competition in the industry. It is tough, it is unforgiving, and it is very humbling. It brings out the best in all of us. Our industry is on the brink of international greatness, so there’s no better time to be in the industry than today. We are all working hard to share what we love with the rest of the world and to carry Nigeria and Africa to the forefront at the same time.
You racked up the 8th spot on the NotJustOk Top 10 list of 2014. How do you intend to better that next year?
Thank you to all the media, supporters, and Notjustok for putting me on this list. It shows that hard work and talent does not go unnoticed. Being on this list only pushes me to work harder to be number one on the list next year. It’s a steep mountain to climb, but I am ready for the challenge. Hopefully by this time next year, Patoranking will be a household name.
Where do you see PATORANKING in 5 years time?
In 5 years, I see myself making Africa proud on the world stage and performing alongside some of the best world acts.
What’s up with the Album? When should we be expecting it?
It’s coming, it’s coming. My fans will let me know when I need to release an album. Until then, I will keep creating, writing, and recording music that will make everyone proud.
One last message to the PATORANKING faithfuls around the globe.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to give me a listen and for sharing my sound with the world. I am forever grateful and will keep creating great music for you all. WhaYaSay!
Thanks for your time, Pato.