More Brighter Days
I am a Cameroonian from West Africa, christened as Godlove Chi Awasom. I grew up in Cameroon and Germany and now reside permanently in the USA, Savannah, Georgia. I started doing music at the age of eight (8), but due to limited opportunities in Cameroon coupled with other hitches as will be explained later in my biography, I was never able to realize an album. I play Rock n' roll, blues, pop, country and our local Cameroonian makossa music. My first release of October 2008 is however limited to Rock 'n roll, blues and pop music. Drawing inspiration from my music idol the king of Rock 'n roll, Elvis Presley, I can strongly assure you that if you are the lover of such hard and body moving rock 'n roll, with soul searching old-timer blues of the sixties and seventies, and a modern feeling of mixed pop/jam, then Goddy Shake is definitely the one you are looking for. This is certainly the CD you want to enjoy. I've got a lot more in store for the soonest future, but embrace this pioneer release fro the mean time. May God bless us all! Goddy Shake October, 2008 ALBUM DESCRIPTION (Song by Song) GOOD-BYE: It depicts a sorrowful message of good-bye to our family and friends as my wife and I left Cameroon for the USA. It was sorrowful not because we had to say good-bye but because, we didn't even have the chance of saying good-bye. So we left without saying good-bye. Oh yea, not even to Henry (our son), who was one year and two months old. This is one of the true testimonies, of my life. The song however captures our feelings in the message of hope that brings the consolatory message of joy in the end, for we know, we are in the USA, for the better. ROCK, ROCK, ROCK That's the bomb of the album. This is intended to portray my trade mark as a rock 'n roll artist and a great one in the making. It is an improvised story line which puts me and my Schnuggi baby together with all rock 'n roll lovers and fans on the rock 'n drive. Frankly, if you are a rock 'n roll lover or fan, then hold your patience as we drive into Rock, rock, rock before you get lose. I'VE GOT DREAMS As romantic as artists would be, love has so many ways of being expressed, music being just one of the most emotional. This title bears a message to my love. It expresses a continuous feeling of sensation at all times, filled with visions and imaginations of her, in the form of dreams. It is one of the soul searching blues with the touch and feelings of old timers. MAKE YOUR CHOICE This is a typical folks-rock, which also bears a message of love. It however challenges all charming guys and lover boys to stop jumping about and focus on a new direction in life. The message is direct; 'Jo, go make your choice and live with it for the rest of your life'. I don't care whoever you chose, but just go ahead, seek what is best and settle for it. MY BIOGRAPHY (More into music) THE BIRTH Born as Godlove Chi Awasom on February 23rd, 1975 in Kumba, South West Province, Cameroon (West Africa), I am the last of five children to my parents, with one of my two brothers being of blessed memory. EARLY BEGINNING Music to me is a God-given talent. So, I have lived with it, grown with it and developed my self in it. As early as six in 1981, I started interpreting songs of popular Cameroonian artists like Manu and Ndedi Dibango in our local makossa language (Duala). In 1982, I moved with my parents and my senior sister to Germany (first Bochum, then Loerrach-Brombach). It is here that the great big dream all began. It was a hot sunny afternoon and I was just coming back from school, my sister turned the TV on. It immediately introduced me to an iconic figure of the man who would later become my idol and inspiration, Elvis Presley 'the King'. In the first place that was the first time we were getting a TV, secondly it was the first movie we were watching and thirdly, there was this fine and attractive figure with a magnetic touch of glittery handsomeness. Yes, a nice looking and romantic young man who captured my soul with his hot rhythms, precious voice and smooth smiles. I immediately 'fell in love' with Elvis Presley and if I remember well, my sister did too. It didn't take long for me to study his songs and start interpreting them. I also got interested in the German top singer at the time, Nena, who remains my most favorite female artist. Individuals like Michael Jackson, Paul McCarthy, Phil Collins, Paul Young, Shaky Stevens, Rod Steward, Robin Gibbs, Tina Turner, Madonna, Stevie Wonder and groups like Culture Club, Wham, Duran-Duran, Cool 'N the Gang and good host of others, were points of focus. I also loved some old timers then like the Beatles, Everly Brothers, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Abba. Well, if music has taken me any where today, the greatest thanks goes to my godmother Tante Elisabeth Billeter of Swiss Nationality, who facilitated my early fantasies in this arena. My sister's involvement in Guitar lessons was another great booster as she eventually bought an acoustic guitar with which realizing my passion for music, she would let me start my guitar lessons. In 1985, my Dad was called back home to greater service as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon. Even though I was more happy at the time going back home, this move turned things around somehow, to my detriment. THE PURSUANCE OF A DREAM The concept of show business and soccer were already finding a prime place in my life as I didn't only excelled in these activities, but had become a point of focus to the friends, fans and public. Throughout our stay in Germany, I was christened 'the black devil', in soccer, while others called me 'Pele'. In music, I remained the 'black Elvis Presley'. In Cameroon, soccer was however more popular and entertaining at local level. Perhaps this is because it takes little resources to put it all together. This gave me more chances as it was and remains the most popular activity tolerated by my families for children. As for music, convinced by the idea that it was meant for rascals, drug consumers and addicts and most commonly school drop-outs, my family worked so hard in retarding it's progress. My ambitions were dwarfed as they strongly discouraged me. Even my mother who has been the strongest support from within the family in pursuing my dream was forced to ask me sometime if I was sure I didn't consume marijuana to gain the courage to do what I usually did on stage. I was forced to fight these obstacles however and find a way of imprinting the positive view of me pursuing a musical career only as a hobby besides remaining a brilliant and well accomplished academic giant. It was of great cost, but the investment and sacrifice of time, money and love, was worth it. My great singing and dancing potential was immediately discovered on the day I stepped legs into the Presbyterian High School Kumba in 1987. Though I still loved and admired the music of the western world (a description given to rock, pop or disco), the local makossa being far more popular had been the focal point. I quickly became one of the most celebrated student artists of all-time in the Presbyterian High School Kumba as I remained a leading figure in the college musical interpretation program christened 'the College Podium'. I became the darling of many students during these shows and particularly the sweet heart of girls (Sherri-coco). I was hailed to extend that, it gave me the opportunity to pretend to be sick on days of 'college podium', for girls to beg me to do everything possible to make them happy by going on stage. During this period, my guitar playing ability really died down, but I worked on and improved my on-the-stage performing ability and dancing skill. THE START OF A 20 YEAR OLD CAREER IN THE ABYSS 1988 could rightly be considered as the actual beginning of my professional music career, if not of the different barriers and hindrances which delayed the glory as already explained. My Godmother invited me on holidays to Switzerland and once more exposed me to the art of entertainment as I thrilled friends and family members in Bern, Hombrechtikon and Corognola (Tessin). Frank Mumprecht is a friend who admired my performances and saw a great potential in me. His challenge was phrased in this statement 'You don't need to interpret Elvis Presley and other musicians all the time; you know, you have a great voice and can sing very well. All you need to do is to come out with your own songs' Realizing he already had a great mastery of the guitar, I turned to him for some lessons again. Frank did help me out and about two weeks later while on a visit to Corognola (Tessin) in the south of Switzerland by uncle Walter and auntie Heidi, I came up with my first and second songs, 'I Had Fallen in Love' and 'Tessin'. On return to Bern, Marco Repeto an Italian friend and son to neighbors of my godmother invited me to record these songs in his home studio with an electric guitar which I was going to play for a first time and some programmed drums. The recording was successful and I returned to Cameroon so proud of myself at the end of the holidays as a young musician in the making. It was sad though that this was nothing special to any one member of my family, as it was described as a dream in the air. I did find a new friend in the music circle in Pise le Baron (Bass guitar player at the time) and David Mayebi (a jazz guitar king) who was our guitar mentor. Though together we shared our passions and feelings for the kind of music that was my favorite to exploit, soccer remained my main event through this period. GODDY SHAKE FIGHTS ON While activities died down as my dreams were almost shattered, the year 1992 came with a great sensation as I left Kumba after passing my Ordinary Level of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education examination. I resumed full activities while doing my first high school at the Baptist High School Buea. Those are special days, which I will hardly forget. - Call them crazy days. Through Pise le Baron I was opportune to meet and know Ngomba Fritz (Njealo Prince of blessed memory) and Jose Bendix who were great young talents to work with. Together, we started a new found group with Njealo Prince as drummer, Pise le Baron playing on the guitar, Jose Bendix as lead guitarist and my self (Goddy Shake) playing the rhythm and doing the singing. This period did not only witness me constantly breaking bounds off school to go play music, but it also saw me making numerous compositions including what I now consider as my number one track today, 'Rock-Rock-Rock', which is a part of the first CD release of October 2008. After serious preparation in April 1993, I staged my first musical concert at the Alliance Franco-Camerounaise (AFC) Buea, under the sponsorship of it's Director at the time, the French man Jean-Christophe Courbin. My few titles were accompanied by the interpretation of Elvis Presley hits like Jailhouse Rock, Blue Suede Shoes, and Hound Dog amongst others. Majority of my audience were students of Baptist High School and other schools around Buea who had sacrificed going home as schools just vacated that same day, to come witness the talent in whom they saw a rising star. Oh yes, it was a well planned event with excellent timing. In December 1994, while I was on Christmas vacation from Kumba, I was invited by the Alliance Franco-Camerounaise Buea in a co-sponsored program with the South West Delegation of Culture to participate in a life concert to celebrate the World Aids Day. The venue was the Buea Youth and Animation Center, which was just a stone throw from our home, yet, I wouldn't let anyone of my home know. The Cameroonian/Canadian rock 'n roll and country music artist, Charles Epie (Etub Enyang of blessed memory) was the lead artist of the day. He had been looking forward to meet me - the young and growing rock artist of the province, he had been hearing much about. While undoubtedly I thrilled the crowd and stole the show, leaving the population with much to talk about, Etub Enyang couldn't help finding himself lost in a 'young and budding artist' as reported by the journalists Marc Knight Makoge and Larry Bate Tarkang after the show. From this time on, my new found musical romance would begin with one of the greatest all time Rock 'n roll and country music artist in Cameroon, the late Charles Epie aka Etub Enyang. The greatest blessing of this show was that, my mum got to learn about it and showed remorse for not being invited to watch me on stage. I felt more than ever, happy in my hidden musical career. In 1995, I fully returned to Buea after success in my Advanced Level of the Cameroon General Certificate of Education examination fro Presbyterian High school Batibo. While working closely with the late Etub Enyang, developing my skills in rock 'n roll and the western music as a whole, I also remained steadfast to my friend and brother, Pise le Baron. During this time, I was blessed with my first-ever acoustic guitar, presented to me by Mola Simon Mbwange Efokoa (father to one of my most trusted, faithful and greatest friend, fan and brother, Nganjieh Robinson Efokoa aka Solo Japo), as a gift. I also composed a series of makossa songs with 'Diboa la ndolo' being number one, meaning 'Sick of love or Love sickness'. - It remains the lead song of my next album (first makossa CD release), which is already recorded since September 2006. I was greatly inspired in my Makossa work by the artists Guy lobe and Prince Ndedi Eyango, whom I have admired so much over the years and hope to meet some day. STRENGTHENING THE VISION In early 1997, under the new Director, French man Pascal Bourrel, the Alliance Franco-Camerounaise Buea whose Board of Directors had just been elected hosted the late Etub Enyang and Goddy Shake in a concert. Thrilled by the manifestations of the show and moved by his zeal to promote me, Mr. Rufus Mbong, one of the Board members of Alliance Franco-Camerounaise then and the owner of the Tombel Maryland resort in the South west Province of the Republic of Cameroon, in collaboration with the AFC Buea hosted Etub Enyang and my self, at a very moving and highly attended musical concert at the Maryland Resort in Tombel. After the show which saw me enter the columns of news papers for a first time as an artist, Mr. Rufus Mbong and Robert Maralossou, then Vice President of AFC Buea (who would later become my sponsor), promised to see me through the realization of an album. By this time, Politico, Mola Dave Molua and Woody were other great musical friends I had met. I also got to know Mola Lyonga, one of the most gifted guitarist, Buea has ever had. However, with the promise received and a greater vision that grew, I needed to find a younger and more dynamic group of youngsters that could assist me to realize this dream. Again, with Pise le Baron at the front, we found the rightful level of youngsters we wanted; yes, those whom we could train to our liking and would use to build the perfect team. It was made up of Dolby (the bass man who later became the lead guitarist), Dave (the bass man who also played the drums), Wegmuller (the keyboard player and son to Mola Efokoa who bought my first guitar); Luma and Ediage (the drummers); Ngando and ............ (dancers and back-up vocalists). We also had Masango Solo (the guitarist who did back-up vocals and later started work on his compositions); Robert (the back-up vocalist); and Pasto Drums (the drummer, who translated my makossa lyrics into Duala). We also started with Antoinette and Alida as our female vocalists, whose stay with us was short lived. After hard work and constant improvement, with Pise le Baron (rhythm guitarist) as 'chef d'ochestre', I organized a first-ever Goddy Shake exclusive concert at the Buea Lower Farms Prison Hall under the sponsorship of Mr. Rufus Mbong. The show needed the old hands of Politico and Mola Molua Dave joining the youngsters, to see it's success through. Evele Kool, a Buea based artist was also on hand to give us his support and technical assistance. The hall which was jammed to capacity as Goddy Shake was already becoming a great household name in Buea had two special guests who remain amongst my biggest fans today, my Mum and senior sister. Indeed, for a first time, I had my family represented and witnessing one of my shows which turned out to be the greatest to this day. The first part animated by a group of visiting young Americans who went into a state of ecstasy, saw me present six English songs (rock 'n roll and blues), which pulled my Mum off her seat to the dancing floor. The part two which rocked the hall saw me for a first-time present my makossa pieces to the public, five in number at the time, all of which are a part of my first makossa CD yet to be released. At a time when all just seem to be going great for me, we lost the great rock 'n roll and country music artist the late Etub Enyang, who had been working with me on his supposed new album at the time. He had also been an inspiration and helped build my confidence and moral in the years I had known him. Even at this time, may the soul of this great friend and brother rest in perfect peace. I also lost contact with Mr. Rufus Mbong (my number one sponsor), due to his transfer from Buea to Mbanga as City Treasurer. It was again worsened by the death of Nkumbe 'Galaxy', who had been working as my sound engineer during musical concerts. It really seemed like the end of times. A NEW ERA IS BORN Bringing the little group together, we had just formed 'The Jet System', which was known in it's French appellation as 'Le Jet System'. It gave me a new direction of focus first with group work and second to develop my makossa rhythms. I had had to put the past to rest and look forward to a new era with greater vision. Intense competition and rivalry had just begun in Buea and neighboring Limbe city as new groups emerged after the official creation of 'Le Jet System'. We enjoyed it all the same because it only pushed us to work harder and thus become better. We however became the number one entertaining group in Buea and perhaps the South West as we stole the shows in all our involvements and participation. Mr. Robert Maralossou had just become my sponsor then and so he made every effort to assist 'Le Jet System'. Along the line however, he lost the steam and even with the coming in of DASK International of Limbe to help young groups and artists, we made very little progress in our endeavor. Travelling through the rough tides of a rocky journey through the center cities and remote areas of the South West, we earned the name 'shigne ngombists' literally meaning 'fighters' or 'a group of artists who never give up'. Oh yes, this could be true to an extent but unfortunately, some of the young ones could not bare such fate and eventually lost the steam. STEPS TO PROFESSIONALISM After all the years of making big name at local level, I thought it was really time and above to publish my songs. I was introduced to Mwaso Elame by Politico. Mwaso took Pise le Baron and my self to Antoine where we did the 'market' of my first six songs. Mario Kumbo was present to assist me with chorus and also change some of the texts of my lyrics, to make it sound more locally, Duala. With the 'market' in hand, I now was looking forward to a proper standard recording. I met Papillon 'Mot'a ngina', one of Cameroon's top makossa artists. He listened to the songs and asked me to come sometime later. On my return, he had travelled to France but his business assistant Zach, was present and after my explanation, he introduced me to another great figure in the Cameroon music arena, Aubin Sandio (who today is more than just an artist friend to me). We agreed on the price of recording and advance fee to be paid, an amount which my negotiator took and vanished with it to the thin air. At the dawn of the new millennium, with the help of my Mum and a Swiss friend - Verena Ramseier, I did my first studio recording in Douala with Aubin Sandio as programmer and arranger and Paul Mbanglok as sound engineer (work completed December 31st, 1999 at Studio Digital 2000). Mr. Nubed Godlove was also of very great financial help here in the final phase of the mixing. While rehearsing for the final recording of the lead vocal, my dad listening to 'Nje ye longue' and watch me dance with the rhythm showered me with a 10.000FCFA bill saying, 'Bah, your music is good'. It took him sometime to accept the fact that it was actually my music going on. I went ahead to register with the defunct SOCINADA which use to be the author's and copyrights' registry house in Cameroon. I was travelling from Bamenda to Douala (about seven hours drive) passing through Buea to pick-up Pise le Baron and Masango Solo, for the recording process. The reason was that, my dad had just retired from active service and our family had Buea for our home, Bamenda - Mankon. I also studied for my HND program in Accounting with the Cambridge International College long distant study program 1999 - 2001. These all combined to put me on the hold for some time, alongside my first actual job. Doing music I have always believed is my destiny. This continued to inspire me and I saw my efforts paying off when in March 2000 I took part in the Cameroon National Music contest sponsored by 'Muetzig' a beer brand of 'Brasseries du Cameroun' brewery. I emerged South West provincial champion with the makossa title, 'Wasse na bato besse', which is part of my first makossa album already recorded. At the final phase in the national level across the boarders of provinces, the nepotism and tribalism syndromes of Cameroon were at work. I was shamefully eliminated through the handiwork of the sound engineer, who had studied and mastered my song and knew exactly when to disrupt technically - at key points. In anger, frustration and desperation, I promised never to participate again. The contest had however paved me a bigger way for greater challenges at the level of the South West Province where I was now recognized as number one artist, even amongst artist with professional releases in the market. Sponsored by the Provincial Delegation of Culture, I still managed pulling 'Le Jet System' together, to participate in musical concerts and events. As far as my music was concern, I started a hunt for producer. Aubin who has always been a great admirer of our work and my person introduced my music to Alhadji Toure, whom I never met. Toure owns the Toure Jims Record (TJR) Production. He had just produced Sergeo Polo and Geo Masso and so he asked us to give him some time. My wait was unfortunate as Toure would in a short while find himself plagued by a serious crisis with the French music house which saw them almost close down his businesses in Paris. After about a year, Toure was a forgotten case for us as we also saw the difficulties he faced. We now turned to Prince Ndedi Eyango's production house (PREYA MUSIC). They had just produced Simon Longue Longue, who was the winner of the National Muetzig music contest in which I was cheated out. While Aubin went ahead to see him on my behalf, I met his brother George Eyango. For over a year I heard nothing about my CD and by the time I got to their Congo (Douala) based office, not only had Prince Eyango returned to the USA, but they couldn't even trace my CD. After these moves, I tried other production houses like Kwoge Mois and later Mousa Haissam. Their complaints were never about the song, but the season I was approaching them and there was always these usual call to give them time. In deed, with such product in my hand, I still felt like defeated. I was almost giving up. In short, I had given up some how. FROM NEAR FRUSTRATION TO HOPE In the year 2002, my cousin Judith Che Manka drove another button of anxiety in me when on my way from a trip to Yaounde (capital city), she invited me to Douala. On arrival at her home, she surprised me with a standard synthetic keyboard. This became my first-ever keyboard. My employment with Azire Cooperative Credit Union Ltd, initiated my move down to Douala were nature called for duty. This gave me the opportunity to meet old friends, re-establish old and create new contacts. It regenerated the spirit and it took me just time to really get settled, organize life and walk out of a very busy schedule, to re-record the first makossa album of six plus two more songs to bring it up to eight songs in September 2006. This time Aubino and Paulo had moved into their new studio 'Mega Digital'. It was a herculean task. Our busy schedule kept me for most parts of the weeks in the office from 7.30 am to 7.00 pm with one hour break. On Saturdays it was 7.30 am to 3.00 pm. With the emphatic and great moral and physical support of my wife in that month of September 2006 (just wedded for a year then), I would close at 7 pm, she would meet me at the job side or I would pick her from home and we would drive along to the studio some days. A normal session was usually 8 pm to midnight. On some days, we worked till about 2 am. After all we put in with great devotion and a lot of sacrifices, the essential was done. Yes, the job was done. By this time we were already preparing to travel as we had just obtained our visas to the United States of America. Faced with time and financial constraints we focused on the move and suspended the music issue, while hoping that the move to the USA opens up more opportunities. Before then, I was in contact with one of Jean Pierre Saah's Production agents, Jules. Jules made me understand how difficult it was to get into the list of artists to be produced by JPS. I noticed that it was going to be an issue of one or two years again, which was still not certain because he relies more on old and strong name than discovering and promoting young and new artists. I met Moussa Haissam who went ahead to propose a co-production deal which I truly was considering but for time that was limited as to when I met him and when I had to leave Cameroon for the USA. Well, the fight was on and this time with more vigor and stronger optimism. A DREAM COME TRUE Thanks to the help of my family, I made it to the USA with my wife, leaving our son behind. We arrived at Washington (Dulles International Airport) on March 13th 2007 and my brother was there to receive us. We moved on to Manassas, Virginia where we lived with him for our first two and a half months. From that day, the focus has been the realization of a first musical album. Proof of this is seen in the acoustic Guitar I bought just two weeks after our arrival. We moved to Savannah, Georgia to begin independent life in the USA. Of course, we needed the support which we got from great family friends and after three months, we actually could start facing our own dreams in life. After great research about music in Savannah, I got in contact with James Dewberry of Savannah Digital Studio. Jimmy is a gifted drummer I admire so much. We started work together and he encouraged me to go out to play for the public which I did. Meanwhile, I had found some admirers at the level of personal friends and colleagues, who had listened to and watched me play. As I found more admiration from audiences where I played, it dawned to me that the time was now and the place was here. I made some recording adventure with Darrel Parker of Godson Records, which motivated me very much. I also met Georgia Kyle who was a new inspiration to me. Artists like Hitman, Perry Gordon, James Hill, and Paul Cooper were amongst the few I'd just met and had had the opportunity of playing with. They were all appreciative to my songs. These all motivated me. Finally, I started recording with James Dewberry at the Savannah Digital Studio. We worked intensely on my first song 'Good-bye', which is dedicated to our move from Cameroon to the USA. As James prepared for vacation with consciousness of how soon I badly wanted this CD out, he introduced me to Kevin Rose of Elevated Basement Studio. Kevin introduced me to Jason Anderson who finally became the man, yes, the backbone behind this first CD of mine. Recording went on smoothly with the participation of some of the great artist friends already mentioned. Towards the end of our recording session I asked Jason what the next step was and honestly, I am grateful he guided me through. I got in contact with disc Makers who have been very cooperative and easy going. I wish to announce my great appreciation for Stephanie Guinta and the production team at Disc Makers. Great job guys and thank you all. And, while I owe a ton of gratitude to everybody who has contributed to this dream come true, to my wife, there's just one thing I can say. 'You are my every thing and I love you so much. Muchas Gracia Goddy Shake October 2008.