"Young people account for about 65% of Liberia’s 4.4 million population. This means that Liberia has a youthful population that is capable of serving either as a driving force of economic growth and development or a risky channel of violence and insecurity. The risk youth unemployment poses to Liberia is too high. State-actors and policymakers have no choice, but to work towards mitigating this existing crisis," wrote Martin K. N. Kollie.
Wisdom, like many underground artists, is using his God given talent to survive the unemployment crisis in Liberia.
Meet Wisdom, formerly known as Waste Dem, a self made artist. He opened up to C Liberia Clearly about the challenges he have faced through out his career.
"During 2005 I got on the scene locally as a community and school freestyler. To be counted or listed among top Liberians artists are the dreams of many Underground artists."
It's been a long and unlikely road to the top for Wisdom, who has a real chance of winning Best Artist in the near future.
"Getting on the bigger scene was really a difficult task but with hard work and determination, I am few steps closer to my dreams. I worked at Freeport, uploading trucks and containers to afford sessions at the recording studios. Day and night, I putted in the work but my music was not getting the attention I wanted. I recorded a song called "I'm Flashing". It was a song I expected to make me a hit artist in Liberia. I reached out to so many DJs, I would paid my way to go performed to shows for free, but everyone looked down at me. There were days when tears ran down my eyes. I would freestyle everywhere, just to get people attention, but it was still difficult. I didn't give up. One time, I paid my way to perform on a show, when I got there, they denial me access. I felt so bad, but I kept working. I even reached out to C Liberia Clearly few times and you didn't give me the time of the day, but one day, I saw you did an article on one of my songs, I felt excited and motivated. When I did the song 'Yamyam thing', I didn't expect it to be a hit, but few folks that were in the studio started getting excited about the song, I didn't really believe them but was grateful that few people where appreciating my work at the time. The first time I realized 'Yamayama Thing' was a hit, was when DJ Blue saw me performing at Takun J spot and he asked me to give him the song and invited me to the radio station for an interview and others started asking for the song. Actor Joe Baby volunteer to do the video for the song, that's when I knew I had a hit on my hand. Like now, I have been shown the way to bigger platforms like C Liberia Clearly and bigger shows. I appreciate the time I get in studio and the radio promotion I'm getting now. In the past , such opportunities were not afforded to me."
As for the change of name, Wisdom said, " I grow up using Waste Dem as a basketball player, when I got on the scene of music, I decided to go on with it cause it was already a popular name for me. Now I'm getting older, changing my name from Waste Dem to Wisdom is a sign of growth for me."
Message to upcoming artists
"Consistency and networking pay a lot in improving your musical career. Try and move out of your comfort zone. Be humble, people may look down on you, but you have to always believe in what you want to do and stay humble. Your humbleness will take you far. I will like to say to upcoming artists, using profanity doesn't make your song a hit song, but if your song can inspire people, it will live for long. Try to do away with the profanity, that will help to make your fan base a little wider. Put in more work and do more research. Network, network, networking will help get you there.
Music is not for pleasure only, it is a business, if you choose to be professional, you have to think wise. When I first started, I was doing it for the fame, but as I got older, I learn that do be a professional, you always have to think business first."
Wisdom is currently working on Musical Videos that could be out anytime soon.
Momolu M. Kpanyanwu