- I can’t run away from who I am, I was born in London, I am British but not English.
- But I know where my roots are. I know my roots are African and Nigerian, I’m always representing Nigeria wherever I go.
British born Nigerian producer and recording artiste has a knack for creating hit songs, and that probably explains why he is enjoying massive success with songs like "Been Calling", "Let me Know" and "Kontrol". Josephine Mosongo met the star who spoke about his roots and critiquing his own music:
You are a producer and an artiste. Which of the two gives you more satisfaction?
It’s like you are asking me to pick a favourite child (laughs). I love the challenge that production gives me because making a hit song consistently is not easy. Anybody can make a song, but making a good song consistently, lyrically, production and melody wise... I probably enjoy that more because the artiste thing is still new.
Do you self-critique after creating a song?
Yes, I am very self-aware and I know music well, if something sounds like rubbish I will leave it on my computer, nobody is going to hear it. What I normally do is I compare my songs to other songs. I do what I call a car test, I’ll play Jay Z or Bryson Tiller or Party Next Door and then compare it to mine and see how the levels match up sound wise.
Seems like you are very hard on yourself
I have to be.
Do you identify as British or Nigerian?
I can’t run away from who I am, I was born in London, I am British but not English. But I know where my roots are. I know my roots are African and Nigerian, I’m always representing Nigeria wherever I go.
Are there things you do that make you go, that is very Nigerian of me?
I don’t know, Nigerians, we are go getters, but I think Africans are so in general.
Whenever I’m in a meeting and these label bosses are asking questions and I’m looking at them dead in the eye, sometimes I have to take a step back because they may get a little bit intimidated, but that’s just the African thing in me.
I want to know what’s going on so sometimes I have to check myself on that one.
You were a groomsman for your friend Legendary Beatz, how many times before have you been a groomsman?
Three times before that, but this was the first time I was a best man.
Where was the song 'Been Calling' shot?
We shot it in Cape Town, we went to this place called Atlantis Dunes. We had to be there about 6 in the morning and it was freezing, it was in June and that is their winter season.
We had to get up early because in the video the skies are pinkish so we had to go and catch that colour. It was intense but this is what you have to do for the art.
If you could meet those people who dislike your videos on YouTube what would you ask them?
I would ask them why. I want to know what they don’t like about it so I can go and improve.
Like I said I’m very critical and hard on myself but at the end of the day there are some people who dislike stuff just for the sake. But if it’s constructive criticism I’m always ready to listen.
Do you feel your music is making an impact especially on the African continent?
I hope so, the thing is, my friends were telling me ‘if only you knew how big you are in Africa.’ I just put my music out there and let the fans do the talking for me but from what I’m seeing it’s definitely moving in the right direction.
Will you ever go back to back to making Christian music like you did when you were starting out?
Yes, I’m putting out another EP soon, and this is the first time I’m mentioning this. After that one I will make an album and I definitely want to go deeper into my roots, my background and what makes me, me. Who knows, you might hear one or two collaborations with Kirk Franklin.
How does it feel to be 30?
It feels… most people say I don’t look it, I hope they don’t lie to me. I feel like I have such a long way to go.
I have a lot of older mentors in different walks of life not just music, these guys are like 60-65 and they are multi-millionaires and they look at me like I’m having a middle life crisis (laughs).
But they tell me there’s still so much to do. If I wasn’t doing the things I’m doing at this level I would be a bit worried or paranoid. But I can’t complain, I’m living my dream.
What’s the one precious item that you bought on sale?