Back in their native Ghana Reginald Ainooson and Ishmael Hamid, now known as Reggie n’ Bollie, achieved popularity performing as solo artists. They moved to the UK and tried to break into the very difficult music industry but had no luck until they joined forces as ‘Menn On Point’, and auditioned for X Factor, in 2015. They wowed the judges and audiences, and after finishing in second place, were signed to Simon Cowell’s label, Syco Music, through which they released their debut single, ‘New Girl’, followed by ‘Link Up’. The partnership with Syco ended in February this year, but the duo weren’t about to let this setback destroy them, and they set up their own label, F.R.O.D Music, and have gone on to release the singles, ‘All The Way Up’, and ‘This Is The Life’. The former appears on their debut album, ‘Uncommon Favours’, which was released yesterday.
With 17 tracks on the album it’s certain that Reggie n’ Bollie haven’t let the grass grow under their feet since their split with Syco. The album is a fun and feel good release, opening with a spoken word ‘Intro’ which makes it clear their intentions are to succeed, and that they’re stubborn enough to do it.
‘Uncommon Favours’ is very heavy on collaboration, with no fewer than 6 tracks featuring other artists, including Wiyaala, Beenie Man, DJ Ironik and Lauren Murray, Wutah, Che Chesterman, and 2face Idibia, and one more, ‘Turn It Up’, a remix featuring David Ezra. But rather than taking away from Reggie n’ Bollie’s impact as artists, the collaborators add to the atmosphere of the album, and the end result is the feeling that the entire recording process was more of a party than a “day at the office” – as it should be.
Overall, the tracks are upbeat and often simplistic lyrically but nonetheless there’s a lot of almost political commentary to the songs, particularly ‘Going Down There’, a declaration of intent as to what Reggie n’ Bollie mean to do, outlining their plans for the future, where they’ve been, “where going down the lane of reality”. ‘Advise Me’ follows this way of thinking too, with lyrics like “I don’t take advice, Imma lead my life my way”.
We especially enjoyed ‘Dreams’, the sweet voices conveying the very obvious meaningfulness of the song to the pair. Another favourite is the track directly after this, ‘All The Way Up’, featuring Nigerian singer songwriter and producer, 2face Idibia. We were reminded of the harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and found the instrumentation very enjoyable.
Altogether ‘Uncommon Favours’ is a very well thought out and produced album. It’s confirmation that when you’re determined to succeed, you’ll overcome whatever obstacles that are placed in your way, in order to get there. ‘Uncommon Favours’ is out now on F.R.O.D Music and is available to stream and download here. You can find Reggie and Bollie online on their official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.