She She She -‘I Will Never Accept Harassment To Get To Where I Am’–Dancehall Diva

Sophia Byass, also known as the Dancehall Diva, managed by Muhammed Dem, has said that she would never accept harassment in The Gambia music industry to get to where she wants to be.

Sophia was speaking in an interview yesterday held at The Point newspaper’s office.

Sophia has been in the music industry for a while, stepping on the dancehall stage that was mainly seen as a male dominated platform.

She dropped hot dancehall songs and featured with Dancehall artistes such as ENC.

To her fans, she is the game changer in the dancehall scene, and that gives her names like “Dancehall Queen.”

What amazes me more is that this young lady is down to earth and lovely, and she kept on smiling throughout the interview.

Despite being in the dancehall world, she values her feminine character.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Hello Sophia and welcome to SHE-SHE-SHE.

What is your educational background?


Sophia: I went to Saint Therese’s Lower Basic School, then to SOS High School and then studying Travel and Tourism at ITOG. I was a teacher for one year at Blessing Kindergarten School in Sukuta.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Why did you choose Dancehall?

Sophia: I can do any type of music, but I prefer Dancehall because I feel that I can be me more at ease in Dancehall and I can portray more of me in dancehall, because one has to be confortable and I am more comfortable in dancehall.

Also, I think it has more fans in Gambia and the world in general; so I can do dancehall anywhere in the world.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Knowing that Dancehall is a male-dominated area in the music industry, as a female do you feel left out?

Sophia: I am not left out, and I’m with them because I am doing more shows than them. I am even doing better shows than most guys in the dancehall scene.

I think with time it would get better, because most of the female artist tend to lag behind, but with time it would be better.

SHE-SHE-SHE: How many songs did you produce so far?

Sophia: I did a mix-tape and other songs featuring other artiste. I have ten songs to my name, which are officially mine. I am working on an album which is going to be entitled “Determination”, and it will be released on February 28, next year.

I will also have a free show at Liquid at October 22nd and there is going to be a preview of the album.

SHE-SHE-SHE: As a Dancehall artiste, do you work with artistes who are not into Dancehall?

Sophia: Sure, that is what makes it musically inclined; because Gambia if you don’t fuse African language in the music then you do not belong to Gambia. So any type of artiste that calls me, be it in Afromanding or any type, I can fuse my dancehall in it.

Any music I do, I try to put in the local language because many a time when I sing people don’t know it is from Gambia; so I had to put wollof in it so that they would know it is from The Gambia.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Many a time when people see you on stage being wild, they tend to ask – is Sophia a Gambian?

Sophia: Yes, I know people ask me that a lot; but I am a Gambian. I was born and brought up in The Gambia.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Which producers are you working with?

Sophia: Well, I work with different types of producers, because I want to find the music not enclosed. I want it to be spread out, because I believe if you work with one producer you would be doing the same thing.

People are different, so different types of studios produce different type of songs. I work with Stylez and Nova who produced my new song, and most of the producers in The Gambia.

SHE-SHE-SHE: I watch you perform the song “Bad mind can’t bring me down”. Do you believe that unlike Hip hop, Dancehall should also be controversial?

Sophia: I think music in general has controversies, and there is nothing in this world that doesn’t have controversies; and it makes it more fun.

So, in dancehall, it is even worse because it’s like using foul words and so rough in dancehall. So controversies are happening in every type of music, though am not sure if Mbalax is having it.

SHE-SHE-SHE: How big is your fan base?

Sophia: I have a huge fan base. I have Movement Sophia, and they have been with me from day one, and they are like family now. So I have a very huge fan base, with technically 6 executives and those 6 executives are the ones that run everything.

SHE-SHE-SHE: Female artistes find it hard to survive in the music industry. What do you think is the contributing factor to that?

Sophia: I think most of us lack focus a lot, because I believe if you have focus there is nothing that would take you out of it. In The Gambia too it is not easy for a female artiste.

Sometimes when you dress up people, call you odd names that make you run away. I remember when I just started people would look at me, and say I am a prostitute.

Also, transportation, because you can’t take yourself to shows; as sometimes you are call on shows at 2 am and when you are done, it is around 5 am in the morning. So if you don’t have enough money for a taxi to take you home, it becomes difficult.

Most of the female artistes lose focus, and the moment you lose focus, there are so many guys surrounding you; and the moment you are famous every guy wants to jump in on you. So if you don’t have the concentration like I am here for this, you would lose it.

They would show you money, cars and different materials, but the moment you start following them they take you off track; and that is why most of the female artiste do not last long, because they go of track.


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