What started off as a stunt hype man finally morphed to be a career for Nigerian corporate hype man JERRY SHAFFER. Touted as Africa's official Hype man for Hennessy, he talks to Solomon Koko on his journey.
What inspires your hype business and music?
Working as a hype man for Hennessy was primarily not my forte although I was living with it to push my club business. As time went by I honed the skill which had in turn pushed sales in my club business. Let's just say, it grew in me and I'm not about to let it go until I give it the drive and mark it deserves.
Why did you settle for music?
I started recording officially in 2020 at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic with my debut single 'Say so' which features Nigerian - British singer Mo Eazy and Slimmz. It was very well received and ever since there has been no looking back. My latest jam 'vibration' was produced by Kenyan producer Motif the Don who brought out his A game.
How did you land the hype man job?
Initially, I owned a club outside Lagos and my partner and I thought it wise to hire a hype man to entertain the revellers.
Before holding auditions to get the right candidate, I stepped up as the temporary hype man and the love from the ladies was immense. Consequently, I took up the role and as they say the rest is history.
Are you signed to any label?
Since building my own legacy, I opted to be independent and started my own label, Slippery entertainment as the CEO and now I'm managing one of the biggest artists from Nigeria, Badboy Timz.
Who writes your music?
I do write my own music and I have been privileged to work with some of the biggest names in the music business who keep on encouraging me to push harder. This includes artists like D'Banj, Wande Coal, Vector amongst many others.
Who inspires you?
Being in the business for a long time has driven me to give hyping its relevance as well as encourage other creatives not to undermine the craft.
What do you think of Nairobi?
No lie out there Nairobi is well-known as an entertainment hub in this region. I'm now recording songs from nairobi and I intend to continue building on it as I make my name and legacy.
Your greatest challenge?
As a hypeman the greatest challenge was recognition. Before the era of social media, people hardly recognized what we were doing.
The hype business is big now. At events everybody needs the energy to dance to get everything going on. It started a long time ago but now people and corporations recognise it and proudly I can state that we're living off it.
What fuels your energy?
As much as people tend to undermine the hype industry, it does pay well and to be honest, it is so much fun, trust me. Needless to say, the hype business has put me on flights to visit places I never thought I could. It really does pay off when you get to have the job that you love most because technically, you are not working just doing what you love.
Does working with a global brand limit your success?
Not at all. As a matter of fact, it gives me the push and drive to perfect it even further. Working with a brand like Hennessy has opened several opportunities which otherwise would have been hard to come by. My network has also greatly improved not to mention my worth as an artist.