"Jah is always there to give us the power and strength to carry on," says the award-winning international Reggae and World music star hit maker, Victor Essiet, hailing from the land of "limitless possibilities," from humble and noble stock, the affable singer is definitely carrying on his self-proclaimed "musical mandate." Already an established star in his African homeland, with an award-winning platinum album (first ever by an African artist) and huge sellout concerts, Essiet established himself as the “godfather” of African Reggae music. Victor Essiet and The Mandators started the African Reggae Revolution opening the flood gates to all other African home-grown Reggae artists some of whom are known internationally. He is the winner of the best new entertainer at the annual IRAWMAs (International Reggae and World Music Awards). Since then, the flood gates of the music industry in Africa were opened and have never been the same.
His discovery in America which led to an impressive presence in America in the mid '90s was assisted by Reggae historian Roger Steffens. He had actually compiled a tape of Victor's music even though the two had never had met or spoken. Steffens forwarded the tape to Heartbeat Records. "Faith brought me to America, and destiny united me with Roger," Victor says. "That is how I got my deal with Heartbeat, which finally introduced my work to the North American market. They released an album called 'Power of the People,' which was a compilation of my hits in Nigeria and throughout Africa."
The debut album of his career, back home, was released by Polygram / Europe. Fittingly entitled Crisis, it became an instant hit in Nigeria and heralded the beginnings of Victor's success. This talented brother has not only risen above the political and social odds of his homeland, but he has transcended all musical barriers to become an eminent and celebrated national luminary. Like the symbolic colors of his nation, Victor Essiet is vibrant, earthy, spirited and peaceful, elements which envelop his music.
Back in America in 1998, Victor released his second album, his first to be recorded in America, Crucial, for Los Angeles based Mystic Records. He began relentless touring of America and Canada, creating a loyal following of world beat music lovers. His charismatic presence and impressive and dynamic performances earned him the Best New Entertainer Award from the International Reggae and World Music Awards in Atlanta. After three years of roadwork, he took a brief hiatus to begin work on a new, exciting direction in his music, which would unite him with Jamaica's most celebrated rhythm section for a month of hard work in studios in L.A. and Miami's Circle House recording studios.
Essiet’s latest CD release is called One Love, One World. It boasts the talents of Grammy-winners Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, whose creative fusion is respected and sought after by artists of every musical genre. The tunes include two infectious Marley covers, “Dem Belly Full” and “Mi Friends (Duppy Conqueror),” in riveting, respectful and revelatory new versions. "You have to be really good to cover Marley tracks," said Steffens, upon hearing the songs. "And Victor really nails them beautifully." "Conscious Party's" bouncy, catchy beat will definitely keep the party rockin', while "Care" reflects the spirituality of the artist. "Belly Full" and other tracks, including mid-60s Yard classic "Come Back Darling" and "Mi Friend," as well as other great songs on this 18 track album, round out this winning production of diverse sounds. Always focused on perfection and substance rather than hype, Victor knows for certain that "music is a vehicle for positive messages."
Victor Essiet and The Mandators toured the US and headed to his homeland of Nigeria and Africa for his long awaited return at the end of 2006 for a two month long tour. He since has continues to perform worldwide and in 2008 established the annual Akwa Ibom Discovery Festival in his home state in Nigeria showcasing the enormous talent needing support. He re-released his One Love, One World CD in 2009 through IDC Distribution in the US with a world tour to support the album.
Victor has continued to be a deeply dedicated ‘voice of the people” in his home state of Akwa Ibom and for the whole of Nigeria. In March 2013, Victor Essiet had a very successful three week media tour of Nigeria to introduce his new single “Freedom Train” direct to his people in his homeland.
On April 30, 2013, Victor Essiet and The Mandators released the new single and video “Freedom Train” featuring up and coming hip-hop artist Stylis worldwide. The launch for the single and tour was held at the internationally famous Dub Club / Echoplex in Los Angeles on May 1st. Upcoming singles and new studio album will be released later in 2013 along with various concert and Festival dates to be announced soon.
The mystic music man in Victor Essiet brings a message of social consciousness and love to the world continually along his phenomenal journey traveled and to come. [+]