It all started with a viral music video – a cover of the track, Beautiful by Mali Music. The Port Harcourt based artist, August Chuks, who is a singer, songwriter and guitarist learnt that it takes great courage and commitment to thrive in the music industry if you are an Alté musician based outside of Lagos.
“I honestly do not have the worst experiences. I will call them occurrences that shaped me to be who I am today. Ranging from bad performances to declined music deals,” he said. From his choice of genre, it might be hard to draw a massive fan base as a majority of the Nigerian populace connect more with party vibes.
Music fans connect with afrobeats, hip-hop wobe sound, shaku shaku and pon pon more than an Alté musician. However, his optimism keeps him going. August describes his music as “… absent of genre. More like a sum genre of rock and soul. I like to call it fusion music because it has a blend of afro beats, highlife, rock, hindi, and many more.”
August Chuks does not realize that there is a recognized genre for his kind of music, called Alté (a Nigerian name for alternative music). The movement for this sound started in 2007 and draws from afrobeats, hip-hop, R&B, soul, funk and trending music from any part of the world. Over time, it has grown to create a community across Nigeria and became a recognized genre around 2016. It boasts of artists like Boj, Teezee, Odunsi The Engine, Lady Donli and Tems.
August Chuks does not think that his genre will limit his fan base from growing, and he is not far from the truth because Nigerian-British rapper, Skepta and music star, Davido are big fans. “I do not think my genre limits my fan base. I think it is what makes me stand out. I have come to understand that the music process is a spread-the-word process. All you need is to get ten to twenty people to fall in love with your craft then leave the rest for the share button.”
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He goes further to state that his ability to come out of bad situations and find peace in his creative space has only triggered his zeal to ‘stay in his lane. August is not happy with the fact that he has to go to Lagos for his music to get better promotions and media coverage, and he worries about how investors can be impatient when it comes to the growth of an artist.
“Investors do not have enough experience in handling and nurturing the artists, and the artists are in a hurry to get to a particular level forgetting that things materialize with time.” He, however, believes that things can get better, and admits that there is an improvement, as Port Harcourt now has the likes of Omah Lay and Burna Boy blowing up the airwaves.
He does not seem to be deterred by the challenges as a Port Harcourt based artist as he describes himself as ‘somebody full of expression’, and wants ‘…the world to see the beauty of life through his music.” In the four years of his musical career, what has kept him going against the odds is his passion, resilience, patience, positive energy and “a little bit of sarcasm.”
He lives by these rules because he believes that, to thrive, one has to be ready at all times and be crazy about what they do to the extent that music fans have conversations around your name. Having recorded three songs over the years, Let Me (2017), Hope (2018), Two Lives (2019), August Chuks will drop his EP before the end of the year.
August Chuks is in it for the long haul.
You can watch August Chuks – Together (Official Video) below.