In an exclusive interview to BBE, the X-Factor finalists and New Girl Smash hit duo wore their hearts on their sleeves in what Reggie described as a conversation rather than an interview. Their trademark positive energy dominated the interview as they allowed BBE to take a glimpse of the global stars behind the infectious smiles and vibrant energy. What really happened with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco? How do they feel about the unspoken ‘X-Factor Curse’? Do they feel their race has had an impact on their success, positively or negatively? Reggie N Bollie spoke to Jean Gasho about it all in their first ever BBE Interview.
The Ghanaian-British duo shook the global entertainment industry when they burst onto the X-Factor scene in 2015 with their rap music and infectious positive energy. The moment Simon Cowell saw them, he fell in love with the duo and told them X-Factor had never had an act like them before. They went through to the live shows, where week after week they brought the audience to their feet with their unique rap renditions of songs like One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful. The United Kingdom fell in love with them, voting them through to the live finals where they finished in second place.
Their success didn’t just end with the X-Factor, they went on to be signed by Simon Cowell’s record label Syco, one of the biggest record labels in the world. In Summer 2016 they released their debut single New Girl which reached number 3 on iTunes and number 26 in the UK official charts. New Girl stayed for 6 weeks in the charts and got a major endorsement from Little Woods. It received over 5 million views on You Tube. But despite the huge success New Girl achieved, Reggie and Bollie’s smash summer hit did not receive any air play on mainstream British radio stations.
It was disappointing to their fans when New Girl did not get played on mainstream radio in the UK. Why did New Girl not receive the support from mainstream radio stations?
‘Some of it is institutional. No matter how good you are, some people out there or someone will just decide that they are not going to support your music no matter what. What matters to us was New Girl was a major success in its own right’, Reggie explained.
‘We did not want to play the race card and complain about discrimination because that takes away from our purpose and what we do. In all the challenges we faced, we chose to put all our energy in what we love to do, which is making music. We had to remain focused and overlook the challenges.’
In February some mainstream British tabloids including THE SUN published that Reggie and Bollie had been dropped by Simon’s label Syco. According to the Sun, Syco made the decision because the duo ‘struggled to turn their support into record sales’.
However according to Reggie and Bollie it was also their decision to part ways with Simon Cowell. ‘It was a mutual agreement. We parted in good terms and there is no bad blood between us. We decided it was better for us to leave and take charge of our own music instead of staying under Syco just for prestige when the label wasn’t truly representing us.’
‘What people don’t realise is that Simon Cowell is a very busy man. He has a lot of artists under his label. We felt we were not exactly a priority as he has so many people he manages. People think when you are signed under Syco it means you talk to Simon all the time. It doesn’t work like that at all. But we are grateful for the opportunity he gave us.’
The British public has seen most hopefuls who make it to the X-Factor live finals disappear after the live show ends, which has been dubbed the ‘X-Factor curse’. Only a few winners or finalists such as One Direction, Olly Murs and Little Mix have been able to maintain staying power.
But the determined duo did not allow the tag of being labelled a manufactured X-Factor act pull them down. They had already started their own independent record label F.R.O.D (Fearlessly Ruling Our Destiny) whilst under Syco. When they parted ways with Syco, they decided it was time to hold the keys of their own destiny
The lovable rap-duo have stayed true to themselves, withstanding all the challenges they have faced. Under their own independent record label F.R.O.D, they released their new single ‘This Is The Life’ in March this year. The hit single is an upbeat rap song which depicts who the rap stars are, masters of their own destiny.
‘Whatever colour you are, where ever you come from, the same opportunities are given to everyone in life.’
Reggie N Bollie have proved that they are more than an X-Factor act, they continue to make waves with their music in the UK and have secured a strong fan base. They are without a doubt here to stay, and have refused to live under the 15 minutes of fame tag that most X-Factor hopefuls end up falling under.
‘If any of our fans wants to follow our footsteps and go on the X-Factor. We would encourage them to. We took it as an opportunity and decided to make the best out of it,’ Reggie explained.
‘The British people are the most welcoming people. We have felt their love and support. This is one of the most diverse countries in the world. We went on the X-Factor and they voted for us all the way. Whatever colour you are, where ever you come from, the same opportunities are given to everyone in life. As long as God is with you, you will make it. It’s about your attitude and what you do with opportunities that come your way. Those who say we are a manufactured act and we have had everything on a silver platter do not know how hard we work and the obstacles we have faced to be where we are today,” Bollie said.
‘The British people are the most welcoming people. We have felt their love and support. This is one of the most diverse countries in the world’
Reggie N Bollie are currently working on their debut album, which will be released later this year and will also feature a duet with vocal X-Factor sensation Che Chestermen. The rap pair have also been nominated for the prestigious IARA AWARDS in The Best Music Artist 2017 category. But their ambitions do not end there, they are determined to bring a Grammy award home one day, which with their enduring spirit, positive energy and hard-work believe it’s very positive. Now under their own record label F.R.O.D their goal is also to take their positive contribution to the black community to another level and in future sign talented artists to F.R.O.D.
Reggie N Bollie believe sometimes it’s not always about racism and discrimination. Sometimes the problems that hinder black people from succeeding lie closer to home. “Black people tend not to support each other because of lack of unity. Look at the Asian communities and how much they thrive in what they do best. It’s time for us as a people to unite and support each other in our gifts and talents’, the duo advised the UK black community.
It was truly a brilliant interview with Reggie N Bollie, as a black woman, I learnt a lot from them, especially the power of positivity. If Reggie and Bollie can do it, we as the black British community can. They are black, they are from Africa but Reggie N Bollie have refused to let the colour of their skin or their origin be a barrier to their success.
Reggie N Bollie’s new single ‘This Is The Life’ is available on iTunes
Watch the official ‘This Is The Life’ video below…