From his early life in Togo, to meeting Dremo by chance, here's the story of the producer of 'FIA'.
For many, the name Fresh VDM, came into mainstream consciousness with the release of Davido’s instant hit ‘FIA.’ The producer who created the record shows in the video, sitting by a piano, rocking a denim jacket and black shades.
But he should have had his moment earlier. Fresh VDM has been working long before he scored the instant
With his signature tag ‘Damn Fresh On The Beat’ and fast paced tone, laced neatly with Anglo-Francophone influences, Bello Emmanuel Adeshina aka Fresh VDM (formerly, Fresh) has strategically and silently built an impressive production catalogue featuring the likes of Davido, Olamide, Burna Boy, Mayorkun, Ycee, Dremo. His latest with the DMW superstar, ‘FIA’ might just be the catalyst for even bigger recognition and finer success. The single is currently at 135 on the iTunes USA pop charts (after rising to 38) while the video is the 2nd trending YoubTube video in the country.
"It sure feels good to wake up and find out the number one song in the country is produced by you," Fresh says over email, his happiness palpable from the text. "Everyone is going crazy over what you made in the confines of your room. It’s amazing and I know this is just the beginning."
On the record 'FIA', Davido still retains some of his formula: thematic romance, simple lyrics, and production magic. But things change for this one. Where ‘If’ and ‘Fall’ adored a lady, ‘FIA’ is an emotive song of resistance against a lady with crazy transactional demands.
“Shawty want a million dollar (sekpe!). Say make I wire wire. Turn me to wana cover oh (maga oh!). She say all na friends are Living la vida loca. I dey form Yemi my lover,” he introduces her from the start.
There’s also a shot at his chief accuser, Caroline Danjuma, who insisted that he was culpable in the passing of Tagbo: “Caroline save your drama, I don’t need it for the Soap Opera, Hola Hola, Mr olopa, am not here to cause wahala, Hello diva, save your drama, you don’t need me in your Soap Opera,” he sings, in a direct reference to his troubles. He has denied it, but we know better. Remember when Dele Momodu became his boy?
"The entire situation surrounding Davido truly inspired this as I just wanted to make something he could be able to express himself on," Fresh says. "The record took me 24 hours literally. I couldn’t sleep. It was tough time for the DMW family but I guess God used me as a tool to ease the entire situation. I sent the beat to David the next day and he liked it and we recorded."
Born to Nigerian pastors living in Togo, Fresh VDM at age 6 had familiarized himself with certain musical instruments; becoming an accomplished piano player - which will later earn him the nickname, Fresh Fingers - drummer and tenor soloist in the choir.
Growing up, Fresh VDM was opportune to have a diverse music orientation, listening to Gospel music icons – Ron Kennoly, Makoma, Yinka Ayefele, Makossa legends – Awilo, Koffi Olomide as well as Nigeria’s Juju king, King Sunny Ade. This will go on to give the young lad a unique taste in music.
"Growing up as a Nigerian pastor’s son living in Togo, I was opportune to be exposed to various sounds; gospel music, Zouk, Makossa, Juju and I was intrigued by how these sounds came to be. I guess this strong curiosity led me to discover the music production software, Fruity Loops through a producer friend. I vividly remember the exact day as it was on my birthday, February 1. I decided to take a huge leap by exploring the software and thankfully we are here talking about it," he says.
In the early 2000s, he and his parents moved back to Nigeria, where he started his secondary school education at Vale College, Ibadan, Oyo State. The illustrious city came with its own musical influences on the precocious Fresh VDM; even as he went on to bag a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at the city’s prestigious Lead City University.
In 2010, while in the university, Fresh VDM developed an interest in music production and seamlessly combining the different West African cultures he had been earlier exposed to, he crafted his own distinctive sound called Very Disturbing Music (VDM) – the acronym that forms a second part of his producer name.
"Being an instrumentalist in the church choir as a young boy, I developed love for the piano and the drum," he reveals. "These two have come to be my 2 secret weapons (which is no more secret after this interview) in creating my own sound which is Very Disturbing Music. Very Disturbing Music is a culmination of all the sounds I have been exposed to particularly, Zouk."
Through a chance encounter in 2011, Fresh VDM began working with Dremo – who, at the time, was signed to A.P.G records in Ibadan. The musical chemistry between the two will go on to produce songs like Normal Levelz and OBT, creating a growing reputation for the duo locally.
Upon Dremo’s record deal with Davido Music worldwide (DMW) in April 2016, Fresh VDM began working closely with the newly formed imprint. This resulted in producing the label’s debut joint smash, Back to Back featuring Davido, Mayorkun, Dremo and Ichaba and subsequent effort – Prayer featuring Mayorkun and Davido in February 2017.
"It was like a fan moment meeting with Davido," he says. "It’s still surreal till today when it hits you that you are casually working with Davido. It’s two years now and it’s been an incredible journey.
"There was another record I had placed my bet on would be the banger earlier scheduled for a December release but then we make FIA and that was it. It just had to be released in November."
Fresh went on to score production credits on hits such as Mayorkun’s 'Yawa' and 'Love You Tire' featuring Mr Eazi, Dremo’s '1, 2 Bang' featuring Davido and 'Iro Nla.'
It was only a matter of time till word spread about his inimitable sound and undeniable talent, catching the attention of Burna Boy. This resulted in a career defining moment of producing Mandem – the Spaceship singer’s mellow tribute to his UK supporters on his return to the European country in 2016 after a long absence.
This led to opportunities for more working relationships with heavyweights such as Olamide, Ycee and a host of other top artistes.
The summer of 2017 presented another notable milestone working on Yonda’s single, 'Las Vegas' and its remix featuring Burna Boy which became an underground buzz and drew positive attention from music lovers and critics.
His other recently released productions include DJ Ecool’s 'Kilode' and 'Cheii '- both featuring Dremo. Fresh has plans to grow beyond boundaries. He cites Sarz and Shizzi as models of success that he emulates.
"I have seen what they have done and I want to reach and surpass it. My team and I were working hard and even working harder now."