Gabriel Omionawele aka, Gabby Boiz-Voice always had the groove in the blood beating at the rhythm of his heartbeat. I guess way back in his mother’s womb and ever since. The music paints the blueprint of his life and makes up an entire part of his DNA. Quiet at times, thinking about the next move, Gabriel’s mind is on PLAY non-stop. Waking up at 4 am to get his side business on his feet while juggling a full-time job. We may not have the same shoe size, but just for a while, we’ll try to fit into his life.
Gabriel On His Past, His Future and Present
Why Gabby Boiz-Voice?
It was way back in Nigeria during my teenage years. Boiz-Voice was the name of the group. We were a group of 3, we grew up together in the same college and we decided to create a group. To honour those memories I kept the name Boiz-Voice and my parents used to call me Gabby. These two names together were the perfect match.
Gabriel, grew up in Oyo State, in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. He was in search of an Institution where he could follow his education. Got into a computer school that was affiliated with Middlesex University. That’s where his journey from his home country to Mauritius began.
Gabriel: “One day I was at work and my dad called me and said that something was interesting in Mauritius, “let’s give it a try,” he said. I applied and got in but I didn't know where I was travelling to. And now nearly 10 years later I am still in Mauritius.
It all started with this piano, years ago...
Gabriel grew up amongst 4 sisters. His mother, who had bags of character in her voice, was the president of a choir. Gabriel followed her footsteps with the music in the genes. He ended up playing the keyboard, singing and recording.
Before joining the choir, did you love music?
At 7 years old my dad bought me my first keyboard. I still have a picture of that keyboard, but most of the keys are gone now. Back in high school, my friends and I recorded on cassette players and it dated back to the 2000s. The only place where there was a piano was in church. So, most of the time my friends and I would be in the church recording our songs. The priest always thought that we were rehearsing for the choir when in fact we were doing our stuff. These are great times.
Did music bring you closer to God?
Most musicians started from the church and it is one of the best backgrounds you can ever get. Coming from the choir is a plus.
Were you afraid to put yourself out there, or was it natural to you?
It was natural. I still remember now when we went back to visit the High school the same priest who was in charge asked us “what are you guys doing now?”. So, we said that we are still doing music and the priests asked us to prepare something for the graduation ceremony of the students of that year. We stayed over at school and he paid us for our first performance. This started to make sense. Someone was appreciative of our work. It kept us going. It was our first real stage.
Your music taste is versatile. From R&B to Reggae. What music influences you?
Most of the songs that we wrote at an early stage were R&B songs, cause R&B songs are usually the easiest songs to write. We can talk about love, heartbreak and all that. But for songwriting, you’ve got to be versatile. Earlier we talked about the graduation party during which we had to perform. I remember the title of the song was Remember This. It was fresh composition, with fresh lyrics. I also have a lot of Reggae songs. I believe Reggae music is a special type of music through which you can express lots of things.
You are an Author, Composer, Performer and Music Producer. How do you juggle between these roles and what are the stages you go through?
First, you have to know the type of music you want to create. Some people are ok with making the instrumental first while others prefer writing the music first and coming up with a beat. Some are inspired by lyrics while others by the beat. My producers in Nigeria usually send me some beats. As soon as I listen to the sounds, I know what’s gonna fit in. So for me, I can produce the beat and write the song on the beat. When the music is ready you record your vocals, and send it to the engineer. It’s a process. It’s good to create music that will appeal to the audience and of course, you have to put yourself into the music.
“What will be the last impression that you will leave?”
Yeah, it is good to make money from our songs. This is what everybody opts for, but I believe in the last impression my music can have on someone. I don’t care if I don’t have any views or any streams. But, one day, if somebody asks me about my music and I play and the person is inspired. I won.
Do you work with people in Mauritius or Nigeria?
Yes, I work with people in Nigeria and Mauritius. People I grew up with, church friends, people who followed my journey and whom I’ve been following for years.
Facing Reality As An Artist
I feel that it's very difficult for an artist to break into music in Mauritius. What was your experience? Doing gigs here and there, concerts, or even releasing an album. What is the difficult thing? And what do you think we should change for other artists in the future?
There are very talented people in Mauritius and a lot of work needs to be done in this sector so that we can match the industry out there. And upcoming artists, some of them don’t know what to do actually to push their music. In Mauritius, there are companies or places where artists can promote their music. Every artist should be able to perform on stage and it was my dream for a very long time.
It's not easy to perform in Mauritius, that's why you see the same artists every time on newspapers, radio and TV. But I'm happy that recently, around three years ago, we've seen more emerging artists. It was not like this, 10 years ago. The opportunity has improved. I think people now have a chance. There are so many events where they can perform their music.
However, people do mix things sometimes. They look for the money first before there are any investments. The reality is, that you have to put in some work and sacrifices to get people to listen to your music. Try to put your name out there. Success is not overnight.
Gabriel: “Music is a powerful tool, one that can be used to reach everyone, expressing one's thoughts and sending out messages. Am always delighted to share my art anywhere I perform.”
No matter the audience or the musician, even if nobody has ever heard you before. When you find yourself on the stage, you have to deliver, you have to make people believe in your music. At this moment, you're bigger than every other musician. This is a trick. Once you get on the stage you have to do something. Talk with someone, you have to seize the moment. It’s your time.
How do you keep up with music?
The trick is, once I have an idea, I voice over some notes and samples on my phone and come back at it when there is some time to perfect the ideas.
I am a very mobile musician. I have different apps like fruity loops mobile. I’ve been using this software desktop version for more than 20 years now. It’s been a long time. I remember making beats on an old desktop in my mom’s office.
Gabriel produced "Felele Groove" mixed with super talented Matzbeatz in July 2017. In the song, he hails the place he grew up and mentions people and happenings. This made people relate easily to the song.
On his birthday 1st December of 2017, he released a Reggae tune "YEAR" He tags it as a song of the Year and for the season. This is a people's favourite as it was premiered on Miguel's Le Club Midi show at Radio One Mauritius and played several times on the Fort Radio UK (Reggae Stew show)
Are any new Projects coming soon?
Oh yes early in the year I wrote on my Instagram story that I will release new songs (it's been over 3 years now). Yes, I'm working on releasing singles and then an Album this year 2021 or early 2022.
The Next Step, Creating A Company
Gabriel, you and your wife created the company DoshTeg Productions in 2018. What were the aim and the purpose behind your decision?
All the letters in DoshTeg mean something. They all make up the initials of my family name, my kids, wife and I. I wanted to grow. As an artist, it is not easy to survive in the industry. So, I said to myself, people are doing it, why can’t I do that as well? I started a company, to be able to stand in front of anyone and be represented officially. Of course, I can use my name, and my private record label name to do whatever I want, but having a company is the next step.
Having a company makes me feel more legitimate. We can walk anywhere. Speak to producers. So, forming the company was a huge step.
Let's be honest we need to have a budget to create concerts and events. Do you finance yourself, or are you able to work with sponsors? How does the whole thing work and how challenging is it?
That's a very good question. It’s very challenging, especially if you don't have a sponsor or investor. Right now I cannot boast about having a sponsor to be honest. I can say that 90% of what I do is all from my pocket. I have lost so many ideas. In Mauritius, it’s very challenging. There is a huge monopoly. Same event, guys or whatever.
Doing it alone is so complex because there are lots of licenses you need. To avoid trouble the best thing to do is to collaborate with people who already have these licenses and just come in, although you might not gain what you want.
As a producer or an artist, to survive in the industry you must do loads of collaboration.
How do you approach them?
First, you need to contact the people you want to work with and have loads of meetings of course. They will check your profile and what you’ve done. Also, during the meeting, you’ll have to ask about the deals, for instance hiring their space or it could share the deals in other ways such as fees, and the bar for drinks. Of course, you’ll have to talk about the money, because you have to make the money. Different companies work differently.
What’s the most exciting thing about creating concerts?
It’s the experience and the contract. Cause once you leave an impression in any gig you can open other doors and meet other people.
And it’s about what you do with the exposure or people you meet. This way it becomes easy to get contracts.
Gabriel, let's say I am an artist, I don't know how to write music or record sounds, but I want to produce something. How can I or anybody else contact you?
Artists can contact me through the below channels:
How do you produce artists?
Production is not only about the beats, it's about managing an artiste's music journey. Planning song releases, checking that correspondences are followed up, doing promotions as well as events.
I also work with different producers either for my projects or other artists.
Finally, where do you see your company in the future?
"For me, the future is now. I want to leave a good impression on anybody I am working with."
Check out some of Gabriel's pages:
Gabriel Omionawele took us on his musical life journey. From his first steps into music to his first stage and as we speak the growth of his company. Determination, consistency and his love for music are the vectors of his ever-growing mindset and desire to leave a long-lasting impression on people. Music has always been here from the start till the beginning of time. Gabriel simply followed the beat that led him to where he is now.
Thanks for reading.