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Korede Bello: Coming of Age In African Pop*

Korede Bello: Coming of Age In African Pop

In his first run as Don Jazzy’s recruit, Korede Bello scored a phenomenal record in ‘Godwin.’ Now an advanced performer, he’s shedding a lot more than his Jheri Curls and guitar. He’s rebuilding!

“It’s growth, It’s all part of the growth” Korede Bello says, sinking deeper into the grey sofa at the Mavin creative studios in Lagos. He’s still smiling, just like in 2016, the last time I met him at the old Mavin HQ. A lot has changed since that meeting. His Afro has been brought closer to his scalp and died in gold which catches the gleam of the light. His chin was rougher, populated with facial hair. He’s been hitting the gym and progressing from the “small fine boy,” that had a guitar and a wink for everyone. These days, he’s been described as a new entity, a grown man, who’s evolved into an older lovable figure. Simply put, he’s presenting an upgrade to everyone.

Navigating the July rain, Bello says his new campaign isn’t a comeback. Since his debut album “Belloved,” was released in 2017, the singer hasn’t had luck with creating hits. He’s struggled to exact that level of dominance that once drove him to stardom. Signed to Mavin Records in 2014, Bello, with his box guitar, Jheri curls, and a mischievous wink sped out the blocks. After impressive collaborations with label recruits, Dija and Reekado Banks, he struck solo gold on ‘Godwin’ which pushed him into superstar status. Other hits including ‘Romantic’, Mungo Park, and ‘Do like that’ extended that run. It all culminated with the polarising “Belloved,” album. He slowed down.

“Okay, there are different reasons why we slow down,” Korede Bello says. His words measured. “I don’t think anybody is built to just be moving all the time or constantly be on speed. Especially if you value your health, the health of your machine, your body. It could be anything. The health of your car, even if it’s lovemaking, whatever it is. At some point, you need to slow down because there’s a purpose to motion. You’re not just moving. You’re moving with purpose.”

Korede Bello’s ‘Godwin’ was a phenomenal record. Released in January 2015, the record dominated radio and streaming, spreading beyond Nigeria. Korede Bello’s star rose with it. Produced by Don Jazzy, the faith-based record found a home in every corner of Nigeria, finding life across all demographic. It was a place Korede Bello was not ready for. “…I was not ready to continue doing that.  It’s just like young people, you just want to vibe. You’re not ready to get married. All of a sudden, now you have to settle down. It’s like getting married at 18. Do you understand where I’m going? That’s what ‘Godwin’ did for me. It’s like, everybody is going to see me this way now, and now I have limited expression as to what I can do.”

Finding purpose has been Korede’s sole mission in the past two years. He’s taken time off to focus on himself, his mind, and redesign his strategy for the future. He’s talking about things like ‘growth’, ‘the why’, and ‘picking up speed.’ His latest project—an EP titled “Table For Two— is a representation of that purpose. Korede says the music is for intentional lovers. Starcrossed romantics who are reaching for the purity of marriage. “It’s not like teenagers in love type of stuff. It’s not like you want her to only come to your house. You know, that type of mindset. But you’re actually dating somebody, and you’re actually dating with the intention of getting married to this person,” Korede says.

We have a conversation about new beginnings. What slowing down means for a music star, and why the future has to be different from such a successful past.

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Korede Bello: Coming of Age In African Pop

Great ‘comeback.’ or what would you call it?

When you say comeback, it’s relative because I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve always been working. But to the person perceiving, you might perceive it as a comeback. For instance, when a child is born, they say ‘welcome to this world’. But the child already existed in another place. And you see, the perception is ‘oh, the child is new to this world’. So it’s relative. Meanwhile, the child already existed in another place but the place that the child is leaving from, they are saying bye-bye. But when the child comes to earth, they say welcome. It’s perception. I wouldn’t call it a comeback, I’d call it reinforcement. Or let me use physics, for instance, Newton’s law of motion. So let’s say I’ve been moving and I decide to switch the gears. Instead of going turbo speed, I decided to go slow and I picked up the speed again. Do you get me? So it’s a reinforcement of my motion. I decided to slow down, but now I picked up the speed. So I don’t think it’s a comeback because I’ve always been in motion. I’ve always been moving.

Why did you slow down? What happened at that time?

Okay, there are different reasons why we slow down. I don’t think anybody is built to just be moving all the time, or constantly be on speed. Especially if you value your health, the health of your machine, your body. It could be anything. The health of your car, even if it’s lovemaking, whatever it is. At some point, you need to slow down because there’s purpose to motion. You’re not just moving. You’re moving with purpose. And unfortunately, a lot of musicians, a lot of us move because we want to blow. We’re hungry for more. There’s this unhealthy appetite to have this song on the Top Ten every time. To be number one every time. And that’s unhealthy, especially if you understand purpose. So that’s the reason why I slowed down because I needed to recalibrate and say ‘you know what? What is it my engine needs? Do I need to refuel? Do I need to change something? Why am I even running? Why are you running (laughs)?’

So I feel that purpose is more important than speed. The ‘why’ is more important than the drive. So I needed to recalibrate. Why exactly am I doing this because I wasn’t happy at some point? At some point, I just saw everything, so much money, all of that everywhere. Almost all the continents apart from South America and Antarctica. But yeah, I’ve seen it all. And it’s something I’ve always known but it’s just a confirmation that this is not it. It is not enough to just be pursuing more and want to always be at the top. It’s a draining of energy. So I needed to have that introspection and recalibrate. Why am I in this car? Where am I going? Where do I need to stop? Where do I need to pick up the pace? It’s different from just *whew, fire. You have a why.

Why are you doing this?

From my name Korede, it’s an indication of my purpose as a human being.

What does Korede mean?

Korede means ‘to bring out blessings.’ The medium of blessing. But I had to seek a deeper spiritual clarification regarding the musical path and journey. The musician Korede Bello is only amplifying what the purpose of Korede Bello is. And the ‘why’ for me is to use my music to spread joy, hope and life through my art. However it may be.

As long as I’m making music and someone somewhere feels better than they felt. Someone somewhere feels joyful, someone somewhere is inspired to continue. Someone somewhere would not go on and take their life, I’m accomplishing purpose. Not when I am on Apple Music whatever top-ten. Those are aesthetics. That’s not purpose. For instance, if I have a really good song that embodies those characteristics of joy and hope. A song that feels like a warm embrace right? If that song connects with so many people and it does show up on top-ten or number one song in the country whatever, that’s still fine. But I’m not going to prioritize position over service.

I think that’s where we get it wrong and that’s where a lot of artists keep coming in the industry and they are unhappy. Because they prioritise status over service. And if you look at the foundation of music itself, why was music created? Music wasn’t created on earth, by the way. Music is out of this world. In fact, imagine how humans have evolved and we’ve had you know, revolutionary ideas and innovations and technology and that. Music has still been with us. And it means music means more than just entertainment. Music was a medium of expression, a medium of communication of importance. Take for instance, let’s look at evolution right? And how our ancestors were on the trees right? And they needed to communicate that there was a lion, they needed to scare off something. They needed to vocalize together. That’s how music was birthed. They needed to chant together ’cause they needed to hunt together. This was before words. I’m imagining that humans began to make musical vocalisations before they could actually speak words. So they could understand symphony, harmony and emotion. Because music is an amplification of intention. But most importantly, the music carries emotional information.

If a child is crying—there are some mothers that know this—depending on the sound of the cry, they know what the child needs. If the child is hungry, they’d say, ‘oh that child is hungry.’ ‘Ah this cry is different, I think the child is sick.’ We started to understand vocalisations and the emotional information in them before we could speak. And if we look at it, that’s what music is about. Music is about communicating emotional states. The words are just like dressing on the flower. And I want that emotional expression to be joy. I don’t want to put musical poison out there. I don’t want to put toxic information out there. Because music is like a trapped moment in time.

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For instance, another reason we evolved to like music was before we learnt how to write or save information on tabs and Apple and iCloud or whatever, we were storing information in our minds. Like if you want a child to remember that there’s a lion in the neighbourhood you encode the information in a song. You say “child child child, don’t go there or you’d be chowed chowed chowed” or something like that. And the child will always remember. If you tell the child just normal words, the child might forget. But when the song is stuck in the child’s head, it’s like a function of memory for the music. I do not want the thing that gets stuck in people’s mind to be toxic.

Moving forward if I put out any song, I think about it. Would I want this information stuck in my child’s head? And also understanding how this mind thing works, part of my introspection journey I realised the power of having optimum mental health and how music plays a big role as well. Because the subconscious is what propels the physical. It’s not the actions that you’re constantly thinking about, it’s the subconscious that is making you move. I’m not a violent person, but if I move my hand towards your face, your eyes are going to blink. There’s an encoding in your subconscious that just responds. That’s the same thing with music. If we keep ingesting some type of material, it stores in the subconscious that we are not even aware of. And it propels our behaviour, our attitude, our character. And we wonder why we are a people. We think it’s the government or we think it’s this one. But our subconscious is filled with so much dirt. That’s why I decided to recalibrate.

That’s great. It’s noble actually.

Thank you. It’s a painful path. It’s the road less taken.


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Korede Bello: Coming of Age In African Pop

But while you were away did you not have this fear of missing out?

The fear of missing out is a real thing especially when you’ve tasted it. I wouldn’t have the fear of missing out if I had not tasted it. If I had not been all around the world, if I had not had a regional hit song and an international hit song, I wouldn’t have had that. But it’s only human to have that. So if you’ve tasted this beautiful wine and you come to like it because it makes you feel good. And they say you can never have this thing again or you’re not going to have it for a certain period. You’re going to definitely miss it. The fear of missing out was actually projected on me by a lot of the outside world. Like ‘where’s Korede Bello? Whew, only one hit.’ And I don’t understand what they mean by one hit. But I understand that those are fans of ‘Godwin.’ It was such a big song that they just cannot imagine that there’s no part two of ‘Godwin’. So those projections were making me– it was an unhealthy desire to want to create another one. I wasn’t ready to actually do it because I needed to do it. But I wanted to do it because people wanted me to do it. And that’s a bad place. I think that a lot of artists are trapped in that place. A lot of big artists, people’s projections on you, they want to create that moment of lightning in a bottle. You can’t trap lightning in the bottle all the time. It’s an act of miracle and… something like that.

So those things got to me because people were projecting those types of narratives on me. And from where I was, I was like ‘wow this is a real thing.’ It’s different if you’ve not tasted it. But if you taste it and people see you, they just want you to be an object of their fulfilment.  So people don’t really care about artists. They only care about what they are getting from the artist. You’re an object of entertainment, object of fulfillment of their desires. Nothing more. Nobody really gives two fucks about any artist. They like the way you make them feel. And all this entertainment is objectification. In its simplest form, Ï like the way this wine feels, I want to always have this wine even though this wine is telling me that it doesn’t feel like being had.”

People only care about how you make them feel not necessarily because they like you or care about your mental health or any of that. And what I don’t like is, not only do they just want you to be an object of entertainment. They also want you to be an object of comparison. So the way the mind works is nothing is really good except there’s something that’s better. Nothing is bad except there’s something better than it. So when they see an artist and love the artist it’s because they compare the artist with another artist and say ÿou know what? I like this because this is better than that.” So the way we consume music and entertainment is a way to compare. If there’s only one artist in the world, it wouldn’t be interesting. It’s because people can compare Beyonce with whoever. ‘Oh, Beyonce is the greatest entertainer of all time. Oh, I think she’s better than Micheal Jackson. Oh wow, look at what Wizkid is doing. Oh wow, I think Naira Marley was better than Terry G.’

Those comparisons are why people consume, and ask, and continue wondering because they want to make these remarks. Look at the new cats doing stuff. All of them are doing amazing stuff, putting out real good stuff. But people are putting them in the conversations by force so that they can compare them. Like: ‘who is the leader of the new school. Oh, I think this person is better than the other person.’ Not like they are actually valuing what these people are bringing to the table in isolation.They just want to compare people. And these things trap the artists and they just start seeing unnecessary competition.

Before you took a break…

…before I slowed down. Before I switched gears.

What the ‘Godwin’ did for you?

‘Godwin’ did a lot of things for me. Ít introduced me to a diverse audience. I think one of the most glaring things Godwin’ did for me apart from finance and all of that, it introduced me to a diverse demography of fans. And I mean that in every sense of the word. Literally, kids as young as two-years-old or even one-year-old and people like grandmas. A lot of elderly people still hit me up, 85, 90, ‘Godwin’. So imagine the spectrum from a one-year-old child to 80-year-old, 85. That is a broad spectrum of fans. That’s a lightning in a bottle. You cannot get to please those type of people all the time. So what it did was introduce me to a new audience that I’ve never been exposed to. Like you said, the singles that I put up before were ‘I’m a lover guy, ‘African princess’, it’s cold outside. Young guy just doing cool music. But ‘Godwin’ came and it just changed the narrative. And I think God did it on purpose.

Because the trajectory that I was going at that point was probably going to be the next hot guy and it’s just going to go the path of the Wiz, the Davids. Just metamorphose into the guy that sings about whatever young people like. I think God did it on purpose because obviously, my journey hasn’t ended. He wanted people to see me differently and I think that’s why ‘Godwin’ came to the picture at that moment. We weren’t ready. I don’t think I was ready for the audience ‘Godwin’ introduced to me.

But you rode it well. You embraced it.

O yes, I loved it of course. It happened so quick. And naturally, I’m a modest guy. I’m a modest man. That’s my message that I like to connect with everyday people and inspire them or amplify their aspirations, or amplify their wings, or connect with them in their point of struggle. That’s me. That’s my messaging. But I didn’t think I was ready to put that in a song that everybody was going to fuck with. What I meant by that is that I was not ready to continue doing that.  It’s just like young people, you just want to vibe. You’re not ready to get married. All of a sudden, now you have to settle down. It’s like getting married at 18. Do you understand where I’m going? That’s what ‘Godwin’ did for me. It’s like everybody is going to see me this way now, and now I have limited expression as to what I can do. I’m glad that I was able to put out an amazing song after ‘Godwin’ ’cause ‘Romantic’ was a hit, even ‘Mungo Park’ was a hit. Even ‘Do Like That’ was an international hit. So I still broke out of that shackles. You know when you have a song like ‘Godwin,’ it’s like bam!

It blesses you, but also traps you.

Yeah, it’s a blessing and a trap. I won’t say curse (laughs). It definitely traps you because I still have people hitting me up till tomorrow like, ‘oh do this, do this. But it’s calm.’

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You spent time in the North. What was happening there?

I had a lot of love in the North. I still have a lot of love from the Northerners. I don’t understand it. I think it’s just favour. And maybe also because my name is Bello, so maybe I’m perceived as a Northerner myself. And the songs that I put out actually did resonate with a lot of people in the North. And even from ‘Dorobucci,’ the Northerners loved me. What am I even saying? From ‘African Princess,’ I was already getting shows, bookings just from ‘African Princess’ and ‘Cold Outside’. And that was before ‘Godwin’. I think I’ve always had love from the North. I don’t know what it is but I love the energy there, I love the people, I love the fans. And another thing that I liked about the Northern fans is because the spectrum is just old to young, they just love you the same. And they like to express themselves. Maybe it’s because they don’t do a lot of entertainment, maybe because  religion restricts entertainment expressions. So when they do get to find an artist that they love, you know, old people can love, young people can. Because if the old people love something and young people don’t like it, it’s like “oh it’s cool” but when young people liked this thing and old people also like it, it’s like okay, we can have fun. Because if young people say for instance we want Kanye to come to a carnival, it’s like okay. Old people don’t know what’s going on. It’s like what are you trying to do? But I lover northerners, I love to be around them, I love to hang around them. I think it was just God.

Why did you decide to pick up the drive again?

I decided to pick up the drive again because I realised that my music is entangled… (laughs).  My music is entangled with my purpose. And I’m not doing this for me. But one of the things that I realized is, my music is a medium of service and a vehicle for me to accomplish my purpose. And when there’s purpose in the picture, it means there are two parties involved. It means that there’s somebody doing something for somebody. So the fans, the people who I’m supposed to bless with these expressions of joy and hope, they are lying in wait. The dangerous thing is, if I slow down too much, there are a lot of people waiting by the roadside, waiting for me to just blast my music as I’m driving through. But if I don’t get there in time or if I don’t pick up the pace, someone might be too old or die or somebody might just lose interest. Like, ‘God why are you not answering me? There are different things that could have happened. But I realize that I’m doing music, not for myself, I’m doing music for people and I do not need to starve them of these benefits. Yeah, that’s why I decided to pick up the pace. But I needed clarity, I’m in a clearer space. I know why I’m driving. I’m not just driving.

Part of what you’ve done is change your look. You cut your hair and dyed it. You switched it entirely. Why?

Attention. It’s attention. As human beings, we’re all trying to gain attention. Regardless of whatever field you’re in, it’s all about attention. Music, tech, whatever it is. You’re trying to gain attention to what you’re selling. Countries want attention, media, TV want attention, girls want attention, guys want attention. Everybody is trying to get this scarce commodity of attention. Let’s continue with the analogy of driving. So I’ve been driving a really nice car and people know the car. Then I slow down, then some other cars are driving. How do I get people to see that I’ve picked up the pace with this car? So that it’s not just another car. How do I get attention? So I change the colour of the car. I change the aesthetics of the car. Doesn’t mean that the interior of the car or the reason why the car has been moving has changed. It’s just the aesthetics, so that people can identify the new. It gets people’s attention. Another thing I made sure I did was I wanted to separate Korede Bello that people knew, from the Korede Bello that…

Our brain likes to compartmentalize. We like to put people in folders. That’s how we learn. Okay, this is a bottle, this is a lion, this is a chair. We compartmentalize. The day a chair starts to walk, something happens in our minds like, ‘oh this is not what this is for.’ That is attention. And people had compartmentalized me in their minds that ‘oh this is Korede Bello. He is this cute and has Jheri curls. One of the consistent imaging that people have of me is the Jheri curls. When people remember me, “oh yeah, he has Jheri curls.” And it’s the shock factor, obviously. And it just made sense, transitioning from a boy to manhood. That okay, I’m no longer that young teenager that you used to know, I’m a man now. And I’m a different person. And that is pretty much the reason why I switched it. And yeah, I needed a rebrand but I don’t like to call it a rebrand. I think it’s just…I needed to switch people’s attention. I needed to change the folder that people had of me in their minds.

You lost your guitar too?

I didn’t lose my guitar. I still have my guitar. My new songs actually, I played some guitar in them. I didn’t lose it. It’s just part of that imaging like I said. Another imaging people have is he’s always carrying a guitar or something. Well, I removed that a long time ago because I didn’t want people to trap me in that singer-guitarist folder. It limits you. I wouldn’t have been able to do ‘Do Like That’ for instance if people see me as a guitarist all the time. So I like that expression from ‘African Princess,’ to ‘Godwin,’ to ‘Do Like That,’ to ‘Mungo Park,’ to ‘Mi Casa Sucasa’. These are different expressions and I always like to do that.

What does having a lot of female do to an artist?

It comes with a lot of stuff you know. It comes with a lot of entanglements (laughs). Hopefully, this interview comes out when entanglement is still trending. But today, entanglement is still trending after that Jada’s speech (laughs). But it comes with a lot of entanglements and I mean that in every sense of the word. Because naturally, I like to create bonds, I like to create connections with people because that’s how I get stories. And art is just an expression of reality. And unfortunately, you get mixed up in a lot of entanglements, let me just put it that way. But it comes with a lot of responsibility. I’m still grateful to God that I don’t have any type of drama out there, baby mama, all those things.

For someone who’s exposed to beautiful women all the time – I’m not even looking for attention now. Beautiful women just casting their attention on me on a regular. It also makes me feel like there’s work and there’s entanglement work. So I value them as human beings first. Then I value them as fans. And then there’s another folder for ‘okay people’ I can have relationships with. But one thing it has done to me that I do not like, that is that it’s hard to see through who really loves you for you. Or who really is with you, because of you.

You seem self-aware. 

Yeah, self-awareness is good. I think everybody should be self-aware.

Why? 

If you’re not self-aware, you don’t really know anything. If you do not know yourself, you do not know anything. You just put in information and you’re going with the world. Self-awareness is an awareness of what role you play in the world. What contribution do you have? What are your values? What makes you, you? What makes you different from the other person? Because if you’re not self-aware, you cannot cure your insecurities. You think everybody’s trying to cheat you or everybody is better than you or you’re just all over the place. Self-awareness helps you to ground and see your own values and what role you play and how people can be people. People’s expressions can’t affect who you are. People can be people, but this is my role in this world and this is how I can connect with people to achieve a greater goal. If you’re not self-aware, you cannot be happy. If you’re not self-aware, you cannot have peace of mind. If you’re not self-aware you cannot please God. Do you know when they asked Jesus what is the greatest commandment? He said ‘love God and love people the way you love yourself.’

Like, love your neighbours the way you love yourself. And if you look at the unifying thing about those statements is you have to love yourself. You have to love yourself because you cannot love God if you don’t love yourself. And you cannot love yourself if you don’t know yourself. That’s self-awareness. You have to know yourself, then love yourself, then love the creator of yourself which is God. Then love the people who God loves.

You’re considered an older artist now What’s the difference between being the youngest kid on the block and being an older artist?

The major difference is the active consumers of music. And the demography of say, 16 to like 25. And in that 16 to 25, there’s an even more active subset; let’s say 18 to 22. So, the energy you get as a young artist is because a lot of young people connect with you. And they are active. They are on their phones, they don’t have responsibilities yet, so they are consuming music all the time. They want to buy stuff, they want to have new experiences. So psychologically it makes sense. Because someone who’s 18, maybe he’s leaving school or whatever, he’s trying new things with his life. He’s getting a new school and all of that. That’s the difference. When you start appealing to older people, people who have responsibilities and all of that, they’re not as active as the other.

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But I’ve always known ahead that there would always be younger artists because there were people there before you, and there would be people after you. But it is what you do in that particular time frame that matters. And that’s where purpose comes in. Nobody is going to be young forever. But you can always achieve your purpose and bounce. Yeah, I still appeal to young people till today. Big ups to the young guys doing it now. I just hope that people come into the music industry not because they want to be young and popping, but have a purpose. Have intention behind your music and that’s it.

You were a member of the Mavin 2.0. Are you the only one still here in Mavin?

Am I? I think Di’ja’s still here. Prince is still here…

I meant, your cohort.

Oh, 2.0! People have reasons why they take their actions. I said this before that my still being with Mavin Records makes business sense for me as an artist. I’m not going to prematurely set up a label because I want to be my own boss. It’s a marathon. And I also think that as an industry, as a culture, we’re not growing vertically. We’re just growing horizontally and we’re just like grass. Everybody’s setting up their own stuff like grass, and we don’t have iroko structures that would make the forest actually steeper. That could just provide vitality for the industry as a whole. And what I mean by that analogy is that we need more collaborations. We need more collaborations in our industry between labels and artists.

That’s how these companies are bigger abroad. That’s why they have a strong culture. For instance, if I leave my family, I set up my own family, it does not mean that I stop being a part of my family. The culture that we have is, once I’m old enough, I leave my family. And that’s it, and it’s bye-bye family. You start your family. But as humans, the things that have made us still humans is because we have a connection with our roots. if I ask you where you’re from, you’re going to trace your genealogy to as far back as you know. And we don’t have that type of genealogy stories in our industry. And I feel like we would be so much stronger if we had those types of partnerships. It’s okay for artists to set up their own stuff and it doesn’t have to be a label. That’s the thing. I like what Mr Eazi is doing. But yeah, there are so many opportunities for partnerships, but different people with different reasons why they do stuff.

Korede Bello: Coming of Age In African Pop

At this point what’s the most important thing you want to get from your service?

Quality service does not demand anything per se. I do not serve with the intention to receive anything in particular. Hopefully, I get blessed for my service, but ultimately, I want to serve with the heart of accomplishing my purpose and making people feel better than they did before they engaged my art. I want to make sure that I please God because ultimately, that’s what matters. And I know that whatever it is that you do, once you do quality service, you would get rewards. But I’m not doing it because I want to get rewards. But I hope that I will never be an object of people’s expectations anymore. Because that’s one of the things that I didn’t like in the past few years. People had expectations of what they think Korede Bello should be or shouldn’t be. And when people project those kinds of expectations on you, you kind of lose footing as to what really matters.

Because you’re trying to meet people’s expectations rather than meet your own expectations. A fish is designed to be in the water. You don’t expect a fish to climb a tree. You don’t expect a monkey to spin webs. It wasn’t designed to be spiderman. So unfortunately, people have those types of unrealistic expectations from artists. Because they just objectify artists and people don’t realise. You actually objectify artists themselves because they are just a medium of your own personal fulfilment and desire. So I wish I wouldn’t be that. But unfortunately, people would still think what they still think, and people would have their own perceptions and their own expectations. But I just want to deliver quality service, quality product, quality stuff and get blessed.

What’s in your ‘Table For Two’ EP?

What’s in it is five beautiful songs. Some of them are new, some of them I’ve had for a minute. The purpose of this one is for a young couple who are probably dating and considering getting entangled. It’s called “Table For Two” and it’s a collection of songs that paint the narrative of ‘we’re actually dating.’ It’s not like teenagers in love type of stuff. It’s not like you want her to only come to your house. You know, that type of mindset. But you’re actually dating somebody, and you’re actually dating with the intention of getting married to this person. That’s the picture of “Table For Two” and that’s where I’m at in my life.

What would success look like?

I like that you said that because success definitely is relative. The success for this project would be, intending couples or anyone thinking of getting married right now would find a song and say you know what? I want this song to be performed at my wedding. Or I want us to play this song when we go on a date, or make sure you have this playlist on when we are driving to whatever. That kind of narrative is success for me because I created it for that scenario. That is success for me.

Beyond this, what’s the one thing you’d want out of everything? Like this life that you’ve chosen. What’s the one thing that you’d want out of it?

Do you know why the flower is beautiful? Have you ever wondered why the petals are colourful and beautiful?

Biologically, it’s for pollination.

Yes. The reason why flowers are beautiful is because of cross-pollination. They need to spread their seeds. And they need to attract the things that would spread the seeds for them because they cannot move. They were not created to move. But they have a mechanism that can help them to attract seeds and move. And I think that’s how I see life. That’s how I see us as musicians. That’s how I see myself and that’s how I see purpose. Eventually, we are all trying to spread seed. That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to leave something that could live forever and hopefully, this seed is a good seed. And why I am saying that is; I want to spread seeds of joy, hope, life. Especially life. I want to trap seeds such these in the minds of people. So that when I’m gone, those seeds would still be growing in people’s whatever. The flower doesn’t know where the bee took that seed and it’s not concerned. As long as you spread it. It’s just like Jesus spreading the message for instance. So I want to make sure that the seeds I’m spreading are worth spreading and it is helping people. My vision of being a mega superstar is giving life. When a star is formed right? It starts to heat up at its core. A real star, it heats up at its core. It gets hot it gets dense, the elements fuse and it gets really dense and that’s when it explodes. And when it explodes is when we see it, when we see a star shining from our place. So when it explodes, it dies. The explosion is really the death of the star.

The stars that we see are dying.

Exactly, they are dying. But they are not really dying. Because when they explode, they are making new stars. It is those elements that they use to make new stars. So they are not really dying in a sense. They are just spreading their seeds. And that’s how I see it. That’s how I see artists. We’re not stars to just shine. We’re stars to give off light, to give off life and create new life. That’s eventually what I intend to be and to express.



Interview By Joey Akan; multi-award winning writer and music journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria.

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