Popularly known for his catchy dance tunes and electrifying dance moves, Togar Howard is among the top Liberian musicians who is set to put our country’s music on a global platform. In 2014, his first single “Basima Basima”, took the world by storm and he continues to make waves with his most recent song “Wololo”. Fufu & Soup Mag talked with the the man behind the music to explore his beginnings, inspiration, and more.
Togar’s story starts in Lofa county, Liberia where he was born in 1992. At age 6 he and his family moved to Ivory Coast to seek refuge from instability in Liberia due to civil war. There, he was introduced to competitive street dancing and his love for music began.
“The Ivory Coast is where I started listening to music. I fell in love with their sound. The music inspired me in a positive way,” he said. “I really enjoyed going from city to city participating in dance battles with my friends.”
At age 12 he arrived to America and initially experienced bouts of homesickness. “I remember crying because I left my people back home. I was very emotional, it’s something I can’t forget. So many things were running through my mind,” Togar recalled. “ For the first month in America, things were very hectic for me.”
But America is where he chased and fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming an entertainer. In 2014, the world got their first peek at the ultra talent that is Togar Howard with the up-tempo afrobeats track “Basima Basima”. The video has garnered thousands of views on Youtube and is still highly requested. His first EP titled “Just Gettin’ Started” was released that same year followed by a successful 15-state tour. He’s shared stages with some of Africa’s biggest musical talents such as KCee, Davido, Eddy Kenzo, Iyana, and Timaya. Earlier this year Togar took home the Best New Artist of the Year honor at the 2015 Liberian Entertainment Awards.
“I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I’ve been dancing since I was walking. When I finally got the opportunity to go, I couldn’t wait anymore so I just gave it a shot,” he said.
He has more great music projects planned, as he’s currently working on his second EP and official video for “Wololo”. For Togar, music always comes first.“I’m constantly writing. I stay on top of the music. When creating new music sometimes we build the beat from the ground up; sometimes we get beats from other producers,” he explained. “But by the time I get to the studio everything should be ready to go; the songs are always ready to go.”
Music superstars he’d like to collaborate with include Nigerian producer Don Jazzy and Miami, Florida based DJ Khaled.
But those big stars can’t compete with the person Togar names as his most influential and inspiring: his mother. As a child, Togar’s mom would sing songs to him and he’d dance along. His mother taught him important life lessons and remained resilient throughout various struggles.
“She’s been strong through so many things like the civil war and raising four kids on her own. She’s done so much for me. Everything I do, I do for her. I want to give her a better life. I feel like I owe her a lot,” he said passionately.
There’s no doubt he’s hard working and also no doubt that he has one of the best physiques in the Liberian music industry. We asked Togar how he maintains his physically fit appearance. “Dancing helps me stay in shape. I also spend time in the gym; working out helps with my flexibility,” he said. “And of course eating healthy helps, too.”
Speaking of healthy eating, when asked how do you like your fufu and soup?, Togar says, “keep it country”.
“No pepper, I’m not a big fan of pepper but lots of dry meat, fish, bony, and crab, ” he said.
The star also revealed that he is currently not in a relationship but mainly focused on his career. And it’s certainly a flourishing career. With his sophomore EP scheduled to drop next year, the sky’s the limit for Togar.
He’s achieved what many dream of and for those who aspire to follow in his footsteps Togar offers classic advice: “If you have a dream that you want to turn into reality, know that not everyone has your best interest at heart and if you have a team of people who believe in you, listen to their advice. Always keep working hard; there’s always room for improvement. Remain humble and keep God first.”
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