The ‘Virus’ of Vin

“You do not choose music as a vocation. Music chooses you.” Author unknown.

In the summer of 1992 at the age of 14, Vin Deca botched the final exams at the end of the school year and was forced to take the class again. Much later on, he confessed that the true ‘virus’ responsible for his academic regression was an Elton John song, “Sacrifice,” from the 1989 album “Sleeping with the Past.”

Since all that ever captured his attention and imagination evolved around music and airplanes, school work did little to engage him. If he wasn’t in the music room at the back of the school chapel rebuilding instrumental versions of popular songs with keyboards, he was in the library reading about airplanes. He sometimes sneaked out of class with a walkman, locked himself up in the rest room (the only place anyone could hang around during study time), and listened to music.

Vin Deca had such little interest in school work that he studied only a few days before exams –  a strategy that nonetheless lost its power to an Elton John song in 1992. “Sacrifice” conquered the young musician’s mind completely, causing him to often loose the sense of time, space and situation awareness. As he absorbed the track for hours, everyday, for weeks, it seemed to absorb him even more. Totally engulfed by that piece of music, he ended up recording over 20 instrumental versions of it.

Growing up in a family that lived music, Vin Deca became consumed by music very early on. His home was a perfect breeding ground for the record person he’ll eventually become. Zachariah Halle Azoh-Mbi known as Zach, his father, of late; founded Bel-Pen Recordings – one of the first commercial recording studios in Bamenda, Cameroon; in the early 80’s; and created a platform on which many other music mad minds were nurtured.

Zach, who never really understood the concept of guarding things for the self not only opened the doors of Bel-Pen studios to musicians, he had the doors of his home and heart wide open for them as well. He shared everything with them and they shared even more music with him. The Halle home was like an institute with some of the most brilliant music minds of the country on campus. Some visited daily, others lived there for a while whilst some stayed for years. Musicality, recording know-how, song philosophy and music jargon was exchanged all day long, all week long. It was a place where boundaries sometimes diminished into music and recording technology.

Regular and animated listening sessions with little respect for genre, style or origin of music became a ritual. Members of the Bel-Pen tribe gathered around Ghettoblasters literally blasting out the sounds of Zach’s music; songs from Bel-Pen artists, Earl Klugh, Fourplay, Najee, Spyrogyra, George Benson, and many of the pop greats of Africa, Europe and America.

Some of the much older tribe members, especially those who played solo instruments, could also not save themselves from the viral and addicting effect of stunning tunes. More ‘viruses’ caught Vin Deca like Boys II Men, A-ha, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Franky Vincent and Kassav; but he had learned to manage them better than he managed the virus of the Elton John song.

Even though he always melted with joy while serving in the song creation and recording world, the first born Halle son always thought that he’ll keep it as a hobby; since his dream was to fly the great jets of the world. His family sent him to Germany in 1998 to study something real like medicine or engineering. He arrived; however, with a secret plan to work his way into a Lufthansa cockpit. An attempt to register at flight school failed as he did not have enough funds to start with a Private Pilot’s License. He decided heavy-heartedly to register for computer engineering at the University of Braunschweig. Within the first few days of taking classes there, he decided to acquire studio gear as a way of still having some fun, at least, he thought, while studying something he didn’t like but needed the certificate.

One day, almost 2 semesters deep, the unconsciously music-mad Cameroonian student realised 3 facts that will change his life: that the amount of money he spent on his home studio was exactly the amount flight school wanted for the beginning of his training; that he had everything he needed to make decent records; and that somehow, without fully realizing it, he had transformed his student hostel room into a recording studio. He never went back for computer engineering lectures again.

These days the song maker and business man who started off by writing, singing and recording songs in his tiny student room studio, owns and runs a studio(The Staff), record label and publishing company – Hitsmith Records/Musikverlag in Braunschweig, Germany. Passing through a music teaching career and Audio Engineering School, he has been writing, composing, producing and mixing music for artists, bands, and companies, both great and growing since 2002.

After a twelve year break from singing to concentrate on the creative and business side of music, Vin Deca is back in front of a mic(an Australian made Tube condenser) and not just to dial in the right sound but once more as a vocal performer. The enthusiastic and hard working musician who has created over a dozen albums for other artists is halfway through the first album recorded with his vocals. The album with working title Halleluja is to be released soon. Creating and spreading music to HEAL | BUILD | INSPIRE without permission is his mission.

O.L Draga