Skilly Magazine interviewed Zangba about music, life, and the greatest challenges he had to face in today’s entertainment business.
SKILLY: How were you able to start your journey in the entertainment business? Where did this all start?
Zangba: All of what I have accomplished was made possible because of my lovely mother’s determination to make a better life for my sister and I. We grew up in a small iron ore community called Bong Mines, located in Bong County, Liberia. I was eight years old when my mother traveled to America, and left us with our grandparents; and then years later, after building us a solid foundation, she welcomed us into a small studio apartment, located in Jamaica-Queens, New York. There, in the heart of an emerging Hip Hop movement, life for my sister and I began.
Over time, I adapted well, although life in America was much different than the life I had in Africa. My eyes took in everything, and over the years, my ears grew accustomed to the new street-lingo I was hearing; and then one day, my life changed when I saw Boogie Down Productions “My Philosophy” music video on Yo! MTV Raps, hosted by Fab Five Freddie. Immediately, KRS-One’s conscious wordplay about Africa hit home, and soon I began writing my own rhymes, which eventually turned into songs.
S: What is the greatest challenge you face in today’s entertainment business? How do you overcome them?
Z: The greatest challenge was being heard in a world that didn’t know I existed. You know the old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear it?” At times, I felt as if I was in the middle of the ocean, screaming my lungs out, hoping that someone would hear me amidst the lightning and thunder, but I was only dreaming. No one was going to hear me out there in the middle of nowhere. So, I had to somehow find my way to shore, where the influential people were. Once I found them, I networked with them using a barter system. You do this for me and I do that for you. I did that until I was able to do for myself.
“Stay positive, and be that change that you wish to see in the world. Your music is a reflection of who you are, so guard it with all of your heart. Nurture it until it blossoms into what you envision it to be; and never give up. There’s going to be times when you will feel like quitting, but always remember that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.”
S: What advice can you give to other upcoming artists and musicians trying to achieve success?
Z: Stay positive, and be that change that you wish to see in the world. Your music is a reflection of who you are, so guard it with all of your heart. Nurture it until it blossoms into what you envision it to be, and never give up. There’s going to be times when you will feel like quitting, but always remember that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins.
You have to look at your career through a scope like a sniper does because you will need lots of patience—when trying to focus on that crisp and bright vision that you wish to accomplish. It might take days, months, or even years, but you must remain focus and keep your eyes on the prize; and when you finally get that big break or opportunity, you have to seize it because like Eminem said, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime [Yo’]”.
I’ll leave you with a quote that Michael Jackson wrote in his autobiography—Moonwalk:
“A perfectionist has to take his time; he shapes, molds, and sculpts that thing until it’s perfect. He can’t let it go before he’s satisfied; he can’t. If it’s not right, you throw it away and do it over. You work that thing ’til it’s right. When it’s as perfect as you can make it, you put it out there.”
S: What inspires you to write your next song?
Z: That’s the strangest thing, inspiration can come from anywhere, including within. Although I write every day, I don’t write songs every day. Some days I may write sentences to a new book, a scene for a new screenplay, or even an article or a blog. But each written creation is attached to a certain passion or emotion that I feel within; when the voice of my conscience alerts me that this is the moment—the right moment to write; and that’s when the magic happens, and then the words just flow like water out of a leaking fire hydrant.
S: What do you think makes a great song?
Z: A song that people can sing along to. One that they can relate to. A song that massages the emotions of its listeners.
S: Where can we connect with you? Can you give us your social media links and where we can contact you?
Zangba: People can connect with me via ZangbaThomson.com. There, they will find links to my social media profiles, and a contact form to reach me via email.