8 August 2020
This is truly the most thoroughgoing, passionate, instructive and noble-minded interview Turn Up The Volume ever experienced. A few months ago I discovered ‘Confidence Is The Key’, the new record by a Nigeria born, Ottawa based artist. Music with a heart and a soul, with a vision and a future, with a humanitarian message and profound warmth. Music that makes you sing, dance, muse, reflect and that brings the one love spirit of the late great Bob Marley to mind.
Meet the wonderful human being, peaceful warrior, and arresting voice CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG. Let’s start the acquaintance with a captivating track from her album. Open your eyes and ears and listen…
Hello Confidence Survival,
Is CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG your real name or
an artist moniker and what’s the meaning of the name?
“My name is Confidence Survival Eyong (Confidence Survival being my first name
and Eyong being my last name) the idea behind the name Survival which is my dad’s first name is that he was able to survive 3 days after birth with just water because his
mom died during birth and also woke up in 3 days. Confidence, I don’t think much thought was put into it like it’s a big deal because having names like joy, peace, etc are common names in Nigeria.
Our parents always named us as an expression of how they feel or what the environment was at the time. Even though Confidence Survival was not chosen by me, I know Confidence is a true embodiment of what I am and what I need to be and have to survive in the journey that I’ve embarked upon, which is emancipating our people through music.”
When and how did you start your musical career?
“My musical journey started from childhood with my dad putting on music concerts
for 15 years straight so I pretty much grew on that. I was able to see the journey of
planning, choir rehearsals, other musical talents flying into the city from around the
country and since then I had the urge to be part of musical culture. I never really
had the chance to pursue music as a career until 2 1/2 years ago when I found Black Starliner Studios which facilitated the journey. Everything I needed to accomplish
what I am today, from lyrical production growing fully into self-producing and now
working with other artists, I couldn’t have done it without my team and there’s other
place like Black Starliner Studios.”
What are the themes of the album ‘Confidence Is Key’?
“The album is a journey about how one starts out to carry the burden or cause of one’s people and that is signified by the first track “I Take My Vow”. Once the knowledge of the missing link reaches you, your eyes become open, hence the second track “Eyes Open”. Ultimately, all humanity, no matter what part of the planet they are seeking for peace and
as I travel through my daily life, I’ve come to know that some people’s intentions are not aligning even though they say they are (e.g. the churches, government, and various sects) hence my third track which is “Peace On Earth”.
In knowing all this stuff, one comes to a point in their life where belief is not needed anymore because belief doesn’t make a change, we need to know and question ‘what
do we know?’ so that was my fourth track on the album “I Know”. After grounding on the knowledge, we then need to take action and stop being “Careless” leaving it to someone else and learn that it won’t stop until we take action.
However, because our plight is a global one and all people of Kush around the globe are experiencing this great injustice and inhumane acts, our solution to all this already given to us by the Honorable Garvey Trinity is we need to organize and act on one accord to overcome any situation and organization means unity, hence “United We Stand.”
‘CARELESS’ is one of the gripping tracks on
‘Confidence Is Key’. What’s the song about?
“‘Careless’ was sparked from the reflection of knowing that this injustice didn’t start today. For centuries, people of Kush (misnomered black people) have protested and fought the colonial powers in order to be seen and treated as humans but to no avail, we are still at the same spot we started. We protest over and over again but can only spread awareness about our rage without truly seeing a way out of the systemic injustice. “Careless” does not only address the situations but for the first time in a long time, it gives us solutions.
Emphasized by the voice of one of our greatest leaders Marcus Mosiah Garvey, starting with a strong theme “to make ourselves free man” it is an appropriate song for this time that we cannot miss out on.
“Careless” is about realizing that as a people we’ve been struggling for equal rights and justice for a while and due to our distraction in the pledge for survival, we have overlooked or neglected the importance of protecting people like ourselves that are standing up for us. We have left them vulnerable to the establishments that destroyed them and that’s why I emphasized the people in the video to show the long old line of the situation, the journey, and now the solution.”
“Careless” was written before the death of George Floyd. The series of events shed
more light to the injustice but I had already seen through search and reading at Sankofa Bookstore that it’s been going on way before and too also to people like George Floyd who go about their everyday lives being identified as threats to the common society because of the color of their skin. For example, Emett Hill & Rodney King were also before these series of incidents but they’re all significant to show how nothing has changed since the last protests and that the colonial institutions are alive and intact.”
What would you like people to take from the’ ‘CARELESS’ video clip?
I would like people to take from the video, the situation we’ve faced from the last 500 years to present, the journey which is how we’ve been coping putting up resistance for the inhumane and unjust treatments towards us as a people and the solution which is rooted right in front of our face that we’ve overlooked which is the philosophy and opinions of the Garvey trinity which can be summed up in one word – “self-reliance”. The establishment, the laws, the practices, and the lifestyle in general of the west towards the people of Kush needs a revamping and they must stop drinking the blood of indigenous. They don’t own the land and therefore have no right to govern or to block or bar anyone traveling through any territories.
We should never feel like we are begging or trying to belong in any society because we have as many rights and even more because we are once again indigenous to do whatever we want to do and go wherever we want to go on the planet because it’s our home and everyone must know that the only way the colonial empires got whatever land they claim is theirs is because they participated in the genocide that killed all the indigenes that they found in the land.
The people of Kush were here before Columbus, we did not come to the Americas on slave ships because we were already here and we came way before on our own ships and we lived and flourished on this land until the genocide of our people and the ones who were left were forced to build these cities which are now called theirs. We have more rights to the territories than anyone can claim because we built them with our bare hands and are still doing it today. We are not citizens and all colonial infrastructure from the media to the companies to even the security forces work with one mandate to keep the people of Kush in a state of P.O.W (prisoners of war) so what we call jobs today is pure slavery.
The Truth never sets people free, it can only stand, only People can set each other free because we can act on it and apply the knowledge that we find. I want people to Seek alternate knowledge and question all information when it comes to the narrative of ourselves that comes from other people. Most of the information we were miseducated with from kindergarten to graduation was deliberate with an agenda to cover up our true history and keep us as a society to hate each other. People must know that the indigenes are not historical icons but are present now and that there is a present civilization that has existed, been functioning and traveling globally since and before 1492.”
When and how did you became aware of all injustices the black communities, worldwide, suffered for ages and, incredibly, still suffer from every single day?
“Everyone has always been aware, but due to the religious hypnosis, we react to it
differently and the majority of us ignore it because we’re not confident to stand up
to it. So we turn the other cheek and make it continue.”
“Did/do you, yourself, experience(d) acts of racism?
“We all have to realize that the issues on the table are not from the people on the everyday ground but from the administration that makes these practices of injustice
law. Every person is balanced in having a pleasant and unpleasant expression of their environment but our actions are all judged by the law and if the law makes it okay then we take it that it is, otherwise we all as humans want to coexist peacefully together without all the downsides of conflict. So we need to revisit the laws that make injustice triumph.”
“The security forces – slave catchers e.g. police – are paying their due allegiance to the colonial empires and by us identifying ourselves as the colour “black” being the status of a slave and not a people – e.g. Igbo, Zulu, Ashanti, Yoruba, e.t.c – we continue to denationalize ourselves from being the people of Kush – the Pyramid Builders – and make it legitimate for any inhumane, unjust and brutal acts to be done to us by the slave catcher”.
What does Kush Mean?
“I would like to get it clear that we’re not black. People are not crayons. We are a people with culture that have been denationalized from our original state of ancestral lineage.
We are Kush the pyramid builders and the word Africa is an insult because we are the autochthony of the earth. Kush refers to the indigenous people of the land, the mothers and fathers of all humanity who have now been denationalized in the present day to be called negroes and the color black which is in fact the legal status of a slave. Kush is both in geography which is The Blacks Land or Land of the Blacks and in People which is the people of Kush. It is the mother of Kemet and it is interchangeable with: Punt for Somalia, Nubia for Sudan, Ba for the bantu, Khoisan, Ibo, Twa, Ka, the bloodline of the Egyptian Perahs and Kendakes (kings & queens), Mandi / Mandingo, Tellem (All in the Mainland Kush which is called Africa). There’s also the Anu or Ainu in Asia, Picts (England), Finn (Finland), Grimaldi (Europe), Saami (Norway) Olmec & Xi (Central America), Skrealings (Canada), Mound Builders (United States), Fuegians (Fuji Island), Menehune, Negritos, Hobbits, Andaman Islanders, and our names keep changing. All People of Kush carry the ‘NEGROID’ phenotype and genotype and the reference for this information is in the book called The First Americans were Africans by Professor David Imhotep.”
Your message to the world is UNITED WE STAND beautifully expressed in the stand-out song of the same name recorded with several other artists. Can you tell us more about the project?
“United We Stand” was an unreleased project that was also finished before the COVID-19 Situation. It was done with 15 other artists and the COVID-19 turn of events shed light on the importance of global unity practically so I used the opportunity to further make the Official COVID-19 Victory Video that highlights the global participation in flattening the curve. From the essential workers, people that donated, and people that supported each other in their own way by providing care packages and home-made masks. It shows that they are not just being seen but also
acknowledged and appreciated.”
How concrete is your hope that one day all people – regardless their color, sexual nature or religion – will be treated the same way?
“There’s no hope for unity in this case, I just have confidence in people that we can all
work together to be the change we want to see to create a tolerative environment for
each other and hope is not in my toolkit because hope is leaving things to chance/fate but I stand on action which breaks down to goals and plans that are achievable and everyone has to get involved but to do that, we all need to be confident first.”
Do you see reggae as music of and for black people?
“All music is the music of the black – Kush – people because we are the rhythm of life, the mother and father of humanity and I do understand what you mean by “music of Black people”. I think what you’re trying to say in this case is if I think reggae is the general musical vehicle for the liberation of the people of Kush. And yes I do, it is one of the musical genres that express that confidently, traditional music that says nothing about liberation but shows the culture is another.
“Jamaicans, among other territories, have been disconnected from Motherland Kush (Africa) and like the others, they are trying to reconnect and find their way forward but what makes them unique is the knowledge they have tying back to the philosophy and opinions of the Garvey Trinity (Marcus Mosiah, Aime Jacques & Aime Ashwood Garvey – The Mothers & Father of Kush Liberation) which in one word is summed up to self-reliance, and their perseverance to be themselves and show their culture (the Rasta culture). This reflects in their lifestyle which is their systems, food, art, and music.
The general expression of this consciousness in their music is called ‘roots’ music which is known as reggae and because this musical culture has already been established globally, it makes it seem reggae is the instrument for the fight for liberation in the diaspora and new artists who are aligned with that consciousness tune into that expression. As much as I enjoy and promote reggae music, however, I wouldn’t classify myself as a reggae artist because as much as gospel can go across multiple genres being identified by the message, so does Sankofa. I am a Sankofa Artist”
“My music is advocating for justice through all of humanity, but at this point in time, the people of Kush are the ones being deliberately impacted by the injustices of the colonial empires. They are waging war in plain sight against Kush the people and its indigenous resources and everyone that speaks up to emancipate us, so just as they protect their interest at all times, I will also protect my interest because I am Kush and the only next question for every Kush out there is “when will it be my turn?”
Which artist would you love to write a song with?
“Vybz Kartel, Mortimer, Umu Obiligbo, Flavour Ijele, Queen Omega,
Angelica Kudjo, Burna Boy, etc.”
Do you also sing/perform live?
“‘Confidence Is Key‘ album was released parallel to the 2020 turn of events therefore
I haven’t had the opportunity yet because there are no mass gatherings however I definitely look forward to performing in the future.”
“Did you also join the BLACK LIVES MATTER protest marches.
If so what impressed you the most?”
“No I didn’t, I took the time to put together “Careless” music video which immortalized the protest and depicted the validity of why we as a people are frustrated and gave solutions to the situation. That was my lasting contribution and guidance for those in the streets. What I like most about the turn of events is the realization and actualization that we need each other to make this change by having common knowledge and that was finding statues that stood for injustice.”
Next step for CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG?
“Definitely, I would like to release a few tracks featuring some of the artists
I mentioned earlier but in the meantime expect eyes open music video
dropping soon and some performances upon gathering again.”
Your ultimate ambition?
“My ultimate ambition is to live and immerse myself in my culture
and artistically to convey that message at all times.”
Thank you Confidence Survival
for this great interview
May the road rise with you.
Listen to the album in full here…
CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG: Facebook