Godfrey’s passion for making a future that’s better for all
2017-08-04 10:41:09 -
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By Natalie Kayton

Godfrey Chimbganda knows what it means to work in many fields – whether being a financial advisor, promoter, event manager, artistic director, music executive, talent spotter, or working with young people in the African diaspora.

“Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur,” says the multifaceted Godfrey, who notes that passion is one component of his drive. While others may prioritise balance or managing time, he explains, he stays true to following his passions, which help you wake up early and sleep late.

In his late teens and early 20s, Godfrey’s main passion was to be a professional musician. But when he felt that he could not receive the exposure he needed to be as successful as he wanted, he switched to promoting others’ music instead.

Part of the problem, Godfrey believes, is the lack of recognition for urban music in Ireland.

He explains that when he was still striving as an artist, he “did not get a lot of help” and “couldn’t get played in Ireland” due, he says, to broadcasters’ reluctance to play homegrown hip-hop and R&B.

Godfrey dismisses Irish radio for ignoring local performers in favour of mainstream artists, mostly from Britain or America. They are sorely missing out, he believes, as he sees nothing but excellence emerging from Ireland’s growing scene of urban artists.

“I have [a knack] for finding an artist before they become someone,” says Godfrey, who describes himself as someone who is embedded in the scene and is easily connected with upcoming local artists by social media and people he has worked with in the past. 

“You have to be in the circle and always know who is coming up,” he adds.

If only, he laments, Irish radio would turn its ears to be sounds being made by young people of African origin – and their friends from elsewhere, including native Irish; then the public at large would be more exposed to Ireland’s own urban scene. Godfrey is adamant that it would change the face of popular music in Ireland within just two years.

Godfrey’s switch to promoting music, however, was more of a need than a desired career change. He recalls that he was struggling as an artist and needed to go down another path – or many paths, as it turned out. “[There is] no other way to solve a problem [than to] put yourself in those positions,” he says.

While making music became more of a hobby than a career pursuit, Godfrey says his failure to make it professionally did not affect his self-esteem. Rather, the situation forced him to take matters into his own hands, and help create the conditions to guide other entertainers’ careers to greater success.

Godfrey began with managing popular Nigerian comedian Fabu-D from 2009 to 2016. And he has since branched out into dance-related events such as Dancestarz Inc, The Dance Expo and Dance Stars International magazine, of which he is co-owner.

All of these projects revolve around his belief that people work better together rather than individually. He points out on a similar note how  helps highlight important issues on unifying communities and promoting change. “Especially being on an island that is becoming more multicultural every day,” he adds, referring to his work with community groups like the African Youth Diaspora Network.

Godfrey believes that all communities can help each other financially, creating platforms or legacies – so as a financial advisor, he looks at his career as a way to help people every day. Of all his career pursuits, he says his work in finance is the most fulfilling.

“We are all facing same challenges in Ireland. We are all united,” he says.

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