Hitman Walle builds fan base in Africa
Talented reggae-dancehall artiste Hitman Walle has a surprisingly large following on the continent of Africa where his musical stylings have electrified and excited fans. He admits that most of the sales of his last two albums have been on the African continent.
"I don't understand why really but I think it is because some of them know the history of what I did in dancehall on the stage show scene in the 1990s alongside Bounty Killer and others. Africa just embrace me the real way because they love great live performers, they follow reggae music and see what I am doing, so I get the support," Hitman Walle said.
Hitman Walle was a fixture on the stage show circuit in Jamaica in the 1990s, rocking major stage shows with his combination of bad-man lyrics and stage show songs. He, however, did not have any mainstream hits on radio and that hampered his career development. However, he has made a concerted effort to change that by releasing albums with both reggae and dancehall songs over the past few years.
In 2015, Hitman Walle released his first album “Heart Cries” and the album immediately hit the iTunes chart in Kenya. That year, he also recorded a popular combination with African DJ Blacka T that dominated the airwaves in Ghana.
He followed up that effort with his sophomore album, 'Party Next Door' which he released in November 2017.
"Those two albums have done well and got me a lot of shows, people want me for a few dates in Johanessburg, South Africa, Harare in Zimbabwe, and in Accra, Ghana," he said.
Hitman Walle is now in Jamaica promoting the official video for his single, “Miss You I Cry”, which was released on the Swiss Jam Records and Izrah Music labels in May 2016.
"The video is really doing well internationally, getting favourable rotation, particularly in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England and Germany. And now I am turning my attention to getting it promoted in Jamaica," he said.
The song, “Miss You I cry” was inspired by Menudo’s 184 hit song, “By My Side.”
"The video for 'Miss You I Cry' was shot in and around Ocho Rios, Kingston and Spanish Town, and it's really nice. I try to write songs in a different feel to capture the emotions of the people. This song was inspired by Menudo's song which I heard when I was a kid, so it is the same topic but in a reggae style," he said.
The song is now getting consistent radio and club spins in the aforementioned territories, and is available on iTunes and all other digital music platforms.
Born Walter Nembhard in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica to parents Hylton Nembhard and Florence Porter, Hitman Walle attended Miss Step Basic School. At age 8, his musical talent was discovered by the choir leader at his church.
At 16, a great performance at a stage show landed him in the orbit of Louise Frazer- Bennett , P.R.O and founder of Sound System Association in the 90s, and he became a popular act on the dancehall scene, wowing crowds at Reggae Kwanzaa, and other shows. He became a household name for his high-energy performances on Teen Splash which were broadcast by local TV and radio stations.
In 1999, Hitman Walle’s combination song with Mallory Williams titled “Cha Cha Cha” hit the chart in Michigan and he began to build an international profile. As the stage show culture in Jamaica declined over the past decade, the dynamic act has been focussing his attention overseas, doing several performances in the USA in 2016, and a tour of Canada in 2013. He also began to focus more on reggae-flavoured songs.
"I decided to go into the studio to work to build my career, and that's how those two albums came about, and my fan base is building, I can see it ah manifest," Hitman Walle said.
He last performed in Jamaica in 2017 at a show in St. Elizabeth alongside Kiprich.
"Over the years, people tried to label me as a stage show artiste but I wanted to be more than that, and I have changed that belief. My singjay style is versatile like a Kartel or Popcaan and I know I will live long in the business, I don't stay in one lane," he said.
The newest project is a single titled “Caribbean Queen' - a "six the-hard-way" combination featuring Singing Melody, Hitman Walle, Ginjah, Jah Mason, Power Man and George Nooks, The single was featured on UK’s SFDC Radio Power Play and is now available on iTunes and many other sites.
"I am really enjoying doing my music now," he said.