Q&A with Crimea, the new dancehall artist

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With Patience Loum

At only 24, Crimea is arguably one of the finest dancehall singers of our generation. He has the voice and his free-flowing style of singing has attracted a huge fan base in town and on social media. The amateur musician was speaking with our Alagie Manneh on Standard Lite about his growing rise and prominence.

Alagie Manneh: Your real name is Falu, but you are called Crimea, how did you come to earn that nom de guerre?
Mi used to have an elder Papa Lenty, big up to him anywhere im deh. He tell mi seh ‘crime here,’ like crime has arrived, you know. Mi take that name and make it more big and more musical and added more flavor to it for the people dem.
You are from a ghetto in Bakau called Pain Land, how was it like growing up there?
Yeh man big experiences and lota challenges from different things you know. This anti-crime thing dem, them can’t test the ghetto youths. Leave the youths dem.
You are a young man at 24, and could have gone into other life careers, when and how did you start singing?
It was some five years ago but I started recording after two years.
You went on to release your first single ‘Step-in’, how many songs have you released since then?
Ten songs, but me got lot of songs coming up. Watch out di space.
Will you consider other types of music?
Yeh man… I’m doing that already like afro dancehall but my focus is strictly dancehall right about now. But I will touch other areas.
Your last show in Bakau was a huge success with hundreds of fans turning up to fill the Happy Corner, how did you feel?
Yeh it was amazing man. I was grateful. I love the support from the people. I love the support from Bakau, my town my people. From the first day they believe in me.
But how did you pull such a huge crowd?
Because hard work pays off.
What should we expect from you in the near future?
A lot of good vibes and bigger things mi planning right about now. More collaborations, too. Watch out too for the mix-tape.
What are some of your challenges as an up-and-coming singer?
Yeah things like getting the cash to record good music ina dem studios and finding it tough to perform at big platforms. But ita go come see mi a deal with. Like mi seh, hard work pays off.
Is the Gambia music industry doing enough to support budding singers like you?
Right about now, no, no, a lot of bad mind ina the scene. The elders dem should support the youths dem. Dem bad mind the youths still. Dem feel like seh ‘heh, yo, when the youth step up him a go damage mi thing’.
Where do we see Crimea in the next five years?
Bigger, bigger level you know. Bigger than da level of Vybz Kartel and Jay-Z.
Is Gambian music going to places?
Yeh man is going to a lot of whole places. Shout out to ST for his big concert at the stadium.
What advice do you have for young people like yourself?
Yeh man just motivate yourself and believe in yourself si mi a deal with. Yeah man this is Crimea, da Young General, da Dancehall Criminal straight from Pain Land ina Bakau. Big up!