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Kerry's love for music

Vishaal Kumar
Thursday, December 07, 2017

FOR artist Kerry Damudamu, being in the music industry since 1996 has brought him many achievements in life.

This week, we look at a local musician who has made a name for himself in the music industry in the country.

The 40-year-old said he started singing while he was still in Form Four (now Year 10) at Fulton College in Tailevu.

"I used to sing in the school choir.

"From here, my love for music and singing began and grew," Damudamu said. There are only two things I like in my life and have passion for and that is singing and boxing. I have managed to do a lot in my music career."

Damudamu said his first album, titled "Sai-Taveuni" and released in 1996, included 10 songs.

"It was released at the South Pacific Recording (SPR) in Nadi. At that time, there were no compact discs (CDs) — only tapes," he said. He later released two more albums, "Tolu-Na-Yabaki" in 1997 and "Isa-Sele" in 1999. These three albums were released on tapes back then.

"I released my 12th album this year titled "Au-Vaqaqa", which has 12 songs in it," he said.

Damudamu said over the years, he had worked hard to compose and sing songs for a living. I sing in some of the hotels in the Western Division and also do private shows and gigs for a living," he said.

He highlighted that sometimes, life was a struggle for a local musician like himself.

"I was studying at Fulton College two years ago doing primary education. I still haven't completed that course because the fees were too high," he said.

"I am wanting to do more shows and gigs in order to collect more funds so that I can pay the remaining fees and complete my course."

He revealed that he would be leaving the country to perform shows in Sacramento and Santa Rosa in the United States.

"I am leaving for the US this Friday because the Fijian community living in these two places have invited me to come over and perform for them," he said.

He said the royalties and revenue he received now was high compared with the amount he received when he started singing back in 1996.

"Today, we get royalties for our ring tones, iTunes and plus for private shows and gigs," he said.

He mentioned that piracy continued to be the major problem faced by all musicians in the country.

"Especially the internet shops because they download the local songs and then sell it to the people. It would be best if they stopped downloading the local content," he said.

The father of two said a lot of changes had occurred in the music industry over the years and it was encouraging to see younger artists coming forward to showcase their talents.

He revealed that it was his mother who gave him the courage and inspiration to take up music in his life.

"My mother used to be a conductor in a local religious choir. She is the one who convinced me to pursue my passion and interest in music," he said.

He said his wife and family had shown a lot of support in his career and he thanked them for their continuous guidance.

"My future plan is to build my own recording studio.

"This will also provide an opportunity for other artists as well to come and record at a cheaper price, because nowadays the price for recordings is high," he said.

Damudamu's main message to people was for them to support the talent of local musicians in the country .

Some awards won by Damudamu:

* Procera Music Awards 2014 — Best Composition — "Rosi-Ni-Qamea"

* Procera Music Awards 2015 — Best iTaukei Song — "Rosi-Ni-Nadroga"

* Procera Music Awards 2017 — Best Critics Award — "Sa-Bau-Mosimosi"

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