Gambian Sounds: Addi Builder a.k.a. Superstar

Muhammed Barry is a 21-year-old Gambian upcoming artist whose obsession for singing turned him into a singer at a very young age. Muhammed has loved singing since he was a toddler. He began learning to sing when he was 9 years old back in 2008.

He was a young talented boy in the arts and craft area and started by drawing and carving woods in school. Nobody specifically taught him those crafts but he would imitate persons doing it and his creations would come out even better. His artistic skills didn’t show just there, he was also a flexible dancer at a tender age and people would refer to him as the next Chris brown in dance. This is where his nickname Superstar comes from.

It was given to him by an admirer who believes that he was a child star. When he started performing, he was still young at age, this is why his first stage name was Young Superstar. After recording the first 3 songs, his artist name was later changed to Addi Builder in 2011. Addi Builder is a name that symbolizes his idol Vybz Cartel a.k.a Addi teacher. Superstar is still the name he has been most famous for.

But even though he was very talented in drawing, carving, and dancing he was not passionate about these careers. It was just something he did when bored. His passion and career path were in Music and he began this journey in 2008.

Muhammed’s whole family and relatives around him were against him singing because of the belief that one has to join cults to become famous. His family didn’t want him to be involved in such. Muhammed quit school to go to a music school but was denied and he had no other choice but to learn by himself through listening to music and studying from them. He started going to the beach and training his voice, doing voice warmup, stretches and other things.

In 2010, he officially recorded his first song called “Never try to hate me”. He was recognized by a few people in his area and because he didn’t have manager support yet, his songs were only played and listened to by his friends. His mother fell in love with his first song and thereafter gave her blessing and support. With his mother’s help, he recorded his second, third and fourth song which became a hit in his community. One of his famous songs which were amongst the first ones is called “Gala wine up”.

Muhammed started with Hip Hop and R&B in 2010 but he later changed to Dancehall in 2013 which was the trend in the Gambia and this pushed him further to be recognized by upcoming DJs and promoters.  After years he decided to become a unique artist who sings in every genre brought to him. Reggae, dancehall and rap Mbalax.

Muhammed went through tones of struggles and challenges throughout his music career, having to face rejection from family and relatives. Because of this, his career nearly crumbled because he lacked financial support which he could not ensure himself, being a child of just 11 years or so. But he still kept strong and worked as an assistant to the studio owner who would pay him by allowing him to record a song. When his mother started to help him things became a bit easier but still, he faces challenges, especially financial ones. In his own words, challenges like that are hard to tackle but he believes with his team he is stronger and more confident to overcome shortcomings.

In December 2020, he performed on a big stage for the first time where he was featured as an upcoming artist.

In our interview, he revealed he has recorded 342 songs since he started in 2010. He reveals to us that he lost a hundred songs due to device crashing and malfunctions. He still has 200 songs with him. He is working on his first album which will be released after Ramadan.

At end of the chat with him, his message for the fans was: ˝I am telling all my fans to keep supporting me. Whatever advice you would have for me I will kindly take it˝.

When he was asked where he sees himself in the next 5 years, he answered that he will be successful even before that time, because he strongly believes in himself.

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