‘Why be good when you gona be great?’

The Strabanimal James Gallagher and Strabane rapper Stephen Mills pictured in the video for ‘Small Town Big Dreams’.

AS thousands of Irish from all over the world descend on New York this Saturday for the Strabanimal’s American debut, win or lose he will be making one hell of an entrance.

They say a perfect entrance song for any fighter should do three things. It should hype up the crowd, it should intimidate your opponent and it should say something about you.


‘Small Town, Big Dreams,’ the entrance song for Gallagher at the Bellator 180 – his biggest fight to date – does exactly all of that.

Written by fellow Strabane man and rapper Stephen Mills AKA Mr Mills and produced by Wez and Charlie from Zenemy DJz, Gallagher this week said he was, “completely blown away,” by the song.

Both Stephen and James have known each other most of their lives and Stephen, like many people here in Strabane is a huge fan of the Strabanimal.

However, it was James who first was a fan of Stephen’s.


“I went to loads of Stephen’s gigs when he was performing more often,” explained James. “When he got on to me about writing my entrance song for the New York fight I thought, deadly.”

Taking some time out of music to pursue his business career Stephen said James gave him the inspiration to rap again.

“James is a very inspirational character,” said Stephen. “I remember watching him getting into a cage for a fight when he was just 13, I knew then that he was going to be something else.

“He use to come to a lot of my gigs in Derry but due to business commitments my music has taken a back seat lately.”

Deciding he wanted to write a song for James, Stephen said the unbeaten 20-year-old has breathed fresh air into his music.

“I was absolutely buzzing when James give me the go ahead to write a song about him,” said Stephen.  “It took me a couple of weeks to finish but it was easier than I thought. James has a champion mindset and I believe in him. He has had such a positive impact on so many people in this town and around the world and I wanted to create a song which would reflect his achievements.”

On hearing the song James said, “It is lethal. I was completely blown away by it – it is perfect. Stephen is a genius and I knew as soon as I heard it, this was my song.”

Leading him into his fight against Brazilian Chinzo Machida at the Bellator 180 in Madison Square Garden in New York next weekend, the song refers to James as, ‘the king,’ with catchy lines such as, ‘Left school, I believe in fate. Why be good when you gona be great?’

With a video for the song filmed in Strabane still to be released, Small town, Big dreams is available to download now from Spotify or itunes.

Travelling over to the New York for the fight Stephen added, “I can’t wait, it’s going to be phenomenal. I believe in James: He is going straight to the top.”


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