Morell is notorious for always saying “nagode” which is the Hausa word for ‘thank you”. He is also known for his catchy song, ‘Ganga da Garaya’ that was mostly sung in Hausa. Morell invited me to the studio where I met him, Phil of the Future and Kastro. When I got to the studio, I sat down while we vibed to a song he has not publicly released yet. It’s such a tune! Little preview on my Instagram : instagram.com/mimie_softie
I admire Morell because he has songs that are true to his Borno state background. He speaks Hausa in some of his songs and even has songs that include the cultural kalangu drums. Taking a few minutes out of the studio, it was the perfect time to ask him some questions.
*he sings a song called Maryam to me*
I obviously went on to smile and beam at that point.
How come you make some songs in Hausa?
My mom spoke to me, she said, “Everyday I listen to people sing in Yoruba and Igbo and you’re there singing in English. Are you an American?”. That was the reason I recorded Ganga da Garaya but before that I did anti-social and she liked it. She inspired me to sometimes do full Hausa songs or sometimes mix up Hausa and English. I’m just as creative and confident when I write songs in Hausa.
Why did you decide to go into Music?
I didn’t decide. It wasn’t a decision. I grew up listening to so many different genres of music. I even listened to Sunny Ade and Fela from my father so I grew up listening to a lot of music and my brother started writing transcriptions of songs from the cassette player. I did that too and from there I developed some skills and started writing my own songs but I didn’t fully go into music until I was 17/18 and then I recorded my first song in Lokoja.
You say “nagode” a lot…
I’m always thankful. Even for the fact that you are here now and before you leave I will thank you. I’m always thankful to God. I just feel it’s only right to say ‘thank you’ all the time. I’m saying it to God and when people listen, they can say ‘thank you’ to God too.
Is there a barrier in the music industry for you since you speak neither Yoruba nor Ibo?
Not really. There are so many upcoming Hausa artists putting stuff out now and people are beginning to recognise the Hausa market. Even my Lagos fans love me.
You lost your father and sisters. How did that affect you and your career?
My father’s death pushed me to be this guy that I am today. When my father died, we had no one. It was just me, my mom, my brothers and sisters so that pushed me to go into music. I’m happy I’m this guy today, I paid my school fees with my music.
My sisters. When you talk about people you miss… I wish they were here. Juliana and Melody.. it is not a good feeling but I’m inspired to do great things tomorrow and to one day be involved with an NGO and do everything to make sure people with sickle cell can get help. I can do anything for that cause both of my sisters who passed away had sickle cell.
What song are you playing for me today in the studio?
That’s my next single, it’s called Another Mango. The main message is that people will know that kind of music we are bringing from the north and people can finally experience it when they “eat another mango”. I’m excited about this one. And I’m dropping the video for Ganga da Garaya soon.