Indie Profile: TennisXclub and The Glowsticks

GlowsticksTell us about your band, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
Glowsticks – The Glowsticks is a Canadian production, songwriting duo and band. Formed in 2009 and comprised of Osama “Verse-Atile” Hussain (of Sudanese heritage) and Charles “Aceboogie” Sarpong (of Ghanian heritage). Over the years we’ve made a name in central Europe through our work with Czech Superstar Ben Cristovao as well as several other big names from the region such as Majk Spirit and Ego. Over the years, we have worked with several local London artists such as Richie Blacks, (we were responsible for his old hit “London Town”) as well as most recently TennisXclub, LeftLane plus others.

I originally met TennisXclub on the set of a video shoot for “London Town” by Richie Blackz (now Rich Noir). Over the years, he spent many hours hanging at The Glowsticks studio with the many artists who passed through, often making video/photo content for them, as he was a videographer at the time. At some point he felt like it was time to make the transition from backseat driving and commenting on other people’s music, to making his own. I started producing for him and helping him record and get his ideas down on wax.

TennisXClub – I used to just remix songs when I was a kid and change the words and make them funny. That’s how it started really and I still keep that same attitude in my lyrics, I like to keep it light. I was born in London, Ontario, my Dad is from Harlow, England and my Mom is French Canadian.

I’ve done a lot of behind the scenes work with artists during my blogging days JonLines.com Then I got behind the camera and directed some music videos, got a few million streams too but I wanted more. I was always in sessions with dope artists, whether it was because I was either taking photos or video, so I would start giving my input with lyrics etc… Sometimes these artists I looked up to would actually take my ideas. That’s really when I got the itch to write music, it was new and exciting and I hadn’t done that since I was a kid.

I started to get all these ideas and had no place for them to go so after a life changing incident I decided I wanted to become an artist and didn’t care what anyone thought. That was crazy for me because I struggled with that my whole life so I felt like I had already gotten half way through the battle after that. All I needed to do was make some fire music now.

How did you come up with your band name?
TennisXClub – I came up with the idea TENNISXCLUB because when I was younger I used to watch a lot of tennis with my mom. She’d be smoking a cigarette and tweezing her eyebrows in a mirror. LOL the 90’s were crazy and at that time the huge competitors were Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. When me and Verse would come together in the studio it reminded me of those guys in competition. I would compare myself to Agassi; he was a wild guy, out there and would try crazy stuff like throwing his racket in the air to hit the ball and that’s how I feel like my ideas come across as sometimes, a little out there. Pete Sampras which I would compare to Verse (GlowSticks) was more of a reserved laid back guy but extremely talented at what he does. I always thought the name could become an artist name/brand one and I had it in my redbook of ideas for a couple years before deciding that’s the artist name I was gonna go with.

Glowsticks – The name emerged from a joke during a session with London’s very own Richie Blacks (now Rich Noire), when Richie exclaimed “this is some Glowstick music, I just wanna crack a Glowstick and go crazy”. The running joke continued on and eventually stuck as the groups name being altered from “Glowstick Music ‘’ to “The Glowsticks, and “Glowstick Music inc” eventually becoming our indie label and company name.

Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
TennisXClub – Yes, I have 4 singles out right now and 2 remixes to those singles on all streaming platforms Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, Audiomack etc. DOUBLES EP coming late 2020 which will be all of my singles, plus the remixes, plus a couple bonus tracks. With the songs produced by Verse of The GlowSitcks.

Glowsticks – Our full music catalogue is available on all major streaming platforms. We do our best to make our music easily accessible and discoverable. In today’s world there is so much music out there that you gotta make sure your material is easy for the fans to find.

How would you describe your music?
TennisXClub – My music is a summer vibe for beautiful women to dance to while feeling like their best selves. My producer Verse and I blend sounds from afrobeats, dancehall, pop and UK Grime.

Glowsticks – The music is a sound that is inspired by our childhoods and mixed heritage. Each song has a style of its own, but we often mix afro-arabian elements and melodies into Pop and Urban music. We try not to do the same thing twice and keep our genre boundaries as open as possible. This same sound is then embodied in the Afro-Caribbean music that The Glowsticks produced for TennisXclub, while mixing in elements of Tennis’s London, CA and UK heritages.

What makes your band/music stand out from the others?
TennisXClub – Well, at least locally I can only name a handful of artists who even make the music in my blend of genres. Everything in Ontario/Toronto/GTA is trap, melodic trap or depressing R&B, which I love too but life is already depressing enough, I just want to make music for beautiful women to dance to, party to and have a good time.

Glowsticks – We just do what we want, how we want and when we want, since our primary jobs are producers and songwriters we spend a lot of our time making other people’s music, and make ours in-between or for fun. We do so while making sure it doesn’t sound like anything we’ve done for others as well without the pressure of “making an income.” We just kick it in the studio, and whatever comes, comes.

TennisXclubWhat do you like to do outside of music that contributes to their music?
TennisXClub – One of my first passions was video; directing and editing. Before I got into music that’s what I was doing full time. I’ve directed videos for artists like 11:11, George Nozuka, Ramriddlz have worked on set with Sean Paul, Shawn Desman and many more. I do all of my own artwork, videos for my own music so that’s what I like to do outside of music. Eating carbs and having sex are the other things I enjoy in life and inspire me and my music as well… haha 😉

Glowsticks – Travel, we travel a lot for work and for fun. We love meeting artists and musicians from different parts of the world, learning as we go. You come back from a trip with all this new energy you have absorbed, and melody ideas you didn’t know you could even have. I mean the sound of a city can inspire a song. Places like Cairo or the shores of Diani, Mombasa can spark ideas for days.

Name your two biggest musical influences and why?
TennisXClub – My favourite artists from my childhood are Jay-Z and Mase, They just made everything look cool no matter what they did and that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up, LOL. Oasis and Alanis Morissette were my fave artists as a child too, absolutely legends, both of them. Also, the two influences I have are from the UK scene and some of my sound influences are from artists like Maleek Berry and Geko.

Glowsticks – Both of us grew up in and around Africa for most of our childhoods and although most people expect artist names to answer such a question for us it would have to be continents, both the North American classics as well as the African Classics and sounds of people like, Youssou N’dour, Salif Keita, Oum kalthoum, are our biggest influences. We took and learned too much from too many cultures to claim two artists as our biggest influences. Africa and North America would be the short answer. LOL

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
TennisXClub – I write all my songs and my producer Verse co-writes with me as well. We make all our music from scratch, first with the beat and then we build on that and then we write during and after the beats completion. The majority of my songs are about women, the good and bad sides but mostly I try to keep it light, sexy and fun so that girls can dance and feel good while they listen to me.

Glowsticks – We do all of our own writing and producing. All of our songs come from our lives and life stories. For example one of our songs “Lies” is based on a series of real life events and relationships. We just pull influences from things we have experienced, we never want to talk about something we don’t know, so we stick to our life. Whatever it is, Love, struggle, having a good time, it just has to be based in truth.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band/artist? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
TennisXClub – Obviously, doing it completely independent has its challenges, the big one being financial backing. But luckily for me I’ve learned to be extremely resourceful over the years from working behind the scenes with other artists, some of the best and getting to see their process first hand, also with the help of Google/YouTube I’ve been able to learn many skills, I’ve met and made some great relationships, and also just being a fan of the music and always striving for quality over quantity has helped me a lot. I’ve been super blessed to have streaming services support me and add my songs to their editorial playlists on Spotify’s New Music Friday & Just Vibing, YouTube Music’s Feel Good HipHop R&B and Diced Pineapples, and Audiomack’s Best of the Week and trending which has helped me a lot.

Glowsticks – Honestly for us our biggest challenge has been putting out music, not the process but simply because we spend so much time working on other people’s music that we often neglect or don’t have the time to finish our own. Recently we have decided to set aside time to focus on our stuff, so we will see what the future holds. Hopefully we can finally wrap up some of these unfinished songs taking up space on the drive, you know how it gets.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?
TennisXClub – I am currently wrapping up my project the DOUBLES EP, which is going to have all of my singles, plus remixes of each single and a few bonus tracks. After that I will begin working on my debut album.
Glowsticks – Aside from Ben Cristovao’s new album, we are also currently working on our own little EP, basically a collection of songs we have been working on but never put out yet. Just something to get the ball rolling and to make good on our promise to release more material. It’s an interesting project as we are trying to include some of our fave clients as features, so we will see what happens.

TennisxClub:
Spotify: Tennisxclub
Instagram: @tennisxclub

GlowSticks:
Spotify: The Glowsticks
instagram: @theglowsticks

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