People always commend your stagecraft. Looking at you now, you look very different from what we used to see on the stage. Is there anything you do to boost your performance?
When I’m on stage, it’s different from when I’m just Whizkid. Once I step on stage and get the microphone to perform my songs, the energy I feel from the crowd is enough to get me going. It’s different because this is what I love to do; so it’s definitely going to be different from who I am. It’s not that I’m a loud person or that I jump up and down, but in my performance, I always give my best. More after the cut
Why do you always re-echo your past in some of your songs?
Because I want people to know. A lot of people see me and they don’t think I’ve gone through anything tough in my life; they see me and feel I just woke up one morning and started making money. Not a lot of people saw me when I was walking the streets of Surulere. So I need people to know that I didn’t just get things for free. Nobody gave me anything, my parents gave me nothing. This is something I did for myself. I took a loan from my friends, I jumped my books for loans and nobody saw that part of the hustle, and I think it’s just relevant for me to point it out so that my fans will be sure of where I came from.
Did you really envisage this sudden success?
I was working hard and preparing myself for the success that would come. I wasn’t thinking I wanted to be bigger than anybody; I just wanted to be able to feed myself and my family, live a good life and make music – which I love to do.
More after the cut
When did you finally decide you were going to do music?
I started when I was 11 years, in church; and from then on, I’ve been in love with music and everybody in my family knows that. I dropped an album in church. I performed in church. I go from church to church for performance. I did a couple of concerts and later when I told my parents that I wanted to take music serious, they refused. They told me if I wanted to do this professionally, I had to stay in school. I had to stay in school and again do music professionally. So, it was like a double task for me. I’m thankful to God for where I am now.
Starting from the church to secular music, what was the transition like?
If you listen to my songs, you will see I’m always thankful to God. My relationship with God is private; it’s between me and God and I don’t feel anybody should come and judge based on what I do. The music I make is for the pleasure of it. The music I make, I thank my God as well.
You said your parents wanted you to go to school. When are you fulfilling that?
I’ve fulfilled it already. I was in university and I left in my second year. Before I left, I was doing very fine academically and my parents had no problem with that; but when the music and the brand became bigger, I couldn’t stay in class because people were mobbing me. It got really crazy and I don’t think there is any university I will go in Nigeria without getting mobbed. So, I just had to take a break from school and focus on my music for now.
Meeting Banky W was a turning point in your life. How exactly did you meet?
We met at the show. It was a friendship thing and later, he said he thought we could do business. We started talking. There are some things you can’t really explain. We started flowing and I think that was how God planned it to happen.
Listening to your music, one will easily experience a blend of different genres of music. What can you call your biggest musical influence?
My biggest musical influence is definitely Fela. Everytime Fela gets on stage to perform, you can’t hear his song and not be blown away. So, I just felt I wanted my own song to be a little different. I grew up listening to a lot of songs; my dad played a lot of Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey. So, growing up, (the influence) was just kind of subconscious. It stuck to my head. This has really helped me because I draw inspirations from songs I listen to and create my kind of music.
What are you working on now?
My second album is ready. I’m waiting for us to finish the campaign. I’m going to drop my album next year; it’s ready. I’m always working, so I have ready-to-go songs a lot. I think this new album will be a better album than what we had last year. Sometimes when I listen to some of my songs, I feel like I should have done it better; but there is still time for that.