‘Blaze Anthonio’ pursues dreams despite circumstances
Marlon Ashford Simon, popularly known as ‘Blaze Anthonio’
Marlon Ashford Simon, popularly known as ‘Blaze Anthonio’

SOME may have the perception that your environment shapes your future, given that so many of our youths have succumbed to their circumstances.
But this 27-year-old Guyanese star is amongst the fortunate persons who have proven that there is hope and a bright future amidst every gloom.

Singer and songwriter of the popular relatable Guyanese songs, ‘Blow’, ‘In the Parliament’, and ‘Seh no’, Marlon Ashford Simon, shared his story with the Pepperpot Magazine on how ‘Blaze Anthonio’ was birthed.

‘Blaze’ was born at the Bartica Hospital but left Bartica at the age of four, and has since then been living on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD).

The young man said that growing up he had a very humble life, a life that most people would consider ‘poor’, and have little to no good expectations of the products such conditions will produce. However, he achieved the unexpected.

“I grew up in a squatting area. I spent most of my life in a squatting area, no light, no water. I wrote my Common Entrance exam right there in that squatting area, and I gained a spot at the St Joseph High School and graduated with seven subjects, proving that there is potential in everyone from every area, in any situation,” he said

Though he was focused in school to emerge successful in all his subject areas, Blaze said he always had a hunger to be part of the entertainment industry and to be in the spotlight.
“I knew that I could be a part of it and I could do something that is good and different.

I started dancing ‘passa passa’ when that was a big thing in Guyana, and at the age of 13, my big brother bought a CD player with a notorious B.I.G and a Tupac album. I listened to how these guys spoke about their life story through music. They expressed themselves through music. And right away I developed that desire to do the same, so that’s where I started rapping, and I stopped dancing completely,” he shared.

Developing that burning desire to venture down the path of hip hop from the inspiration of Notorious B.I.G and Tupac, ‘Blaze’ continued along that path for years.
“I would do rap battles and freestyles, and that’s pretty much where it all started for me. That was me before ‘Blaze Anthonio’ was born,” the young man recalled.

“One day I was doing a rap battle on the bus park, I was winning, and this young child shouted to me ‘you blaze up the place’. And right there and then I took the name ‘Blaze’. Anthonio, however, came from my older brother who introduced me to music, whose name is Anthony. And since then` Blaze Anthonio’ became my official stage name, and it will remain so,” he said.

‘Blaze’ attributes his swiftness in producing his songs, to his creative mind, saying, “Everything comes from my head. I have a very imaginative mind that helps me to create stuff. I talk a lot of nonsense too, but because I have a very creative mind, it doesn’t take me long to write a song on an event. If something happens at 10 and I have all the info by 10:15, I can give you a written song by 11 and have it recorded and released by 12.

I have a mind that I can picture stuff happening and even create my own stories in my head.”
The ultimate goal, he said, is to reach the peak of musical existence and having that hunger and passion to reach there, is his biggest motivating factor to keep pushing.

Though his origin was hip hop, ‘Blaze’ said he became more versatile with music, and this year, he plans to produce more soca and dancehall as well as fusions.
“The aim is just to produce more music. I want to make more radio-friendly music and to be more consistent with my music production. I plan to go to London, Canada and the US before 2019 concludes, and I also will be heading to merchandising very soon. Getting more involved in the business aspect of making music is my target for this year,” the young artiste said.

However, he believes that the government should come to the realisation that artistes invest a lot of money to get their music out there, and the copyright laws being instilled is the main way in which artistes can earn.
Though his materials are copyrighted through BMI, and he would earn from YouTube and other platforms,’ Blaze’ said having a local market will boost sales tremendously.
That, combined with cooperation from the local disc jockeys (DJs) to give Guyanese content their deserving airplay.

“Getting airplay, that in itself is one of my biggest challenges. It has always been a struggle to get my music played by Guyanese DJs. In Guyana, you need the radio to help you connect with the people out on the streets. Not everyone has a smartphone to go on YouTube and so on, but the radio is the only means of connection between you and the man on the street.

DJs focus on the music that is trending, forgetting that they have the power to give an artiste a shine. I’m really hoping that can change, through developing good relations with the DJs, even if I have to pay them,” ‘Blaze’ opined.
His advice to youths is to “develop self-confidence, learn to love yourselves, and find something you love doing and work on it.

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