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Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘INTERVIEW: Aspiring to be a Fusion of Don Jazzy and Olamide’

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Rising musicians often need help to gain recognition and reach their career peak. This has ignited discussion of how best to nurture the next generation of Afrobeats singers within a saturated industry.

Music star Joeboy, discovered in 2017 by singer Mr Eazi through the emPawa Africa talent incubation programme, known for his hit 2019 single ‘Baby’, launched ‘Young Legend’, a record label aimed at tackling this challenge.

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In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Joeboy shares insights into his dream project beyond catchy tunes and chart-topping hits.

PT: When you’re not listening to your music or writing music, who else do you listen to, and who’s catching your attention right now?

Joeboy: I love listening to a lot of underground music because I feel like they have so much soul in their music. Based on the fact that they’re not chasing a number one record, they’re just really expressing themselves, and that’s where you get the purest forms of music.

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So I listen to underground music. I listen to music from back in the day, like the 1980s—the Osandas. I hear a lot of old-school music. I listen to R&B, and the one artiste I’m listening to right now is Wizard Chan; he’s a breath of fresh air in the music scene, and that’s exactly who I’m waiting for and listening to. But I adore Bob Marley. I listen to his songs, too.

PT: So, are those the same people who inspire your style of music?

Joeboy: Yes, one way or the other. As an artiste, you should be particular about the music you consistently listen to because it’s meant to show how you create your music.

Creating is a result, or a total of experiences of things we observe, putting it together in our way. So, I’m always particular about the kind of music I listen to, which inspires me to continue.

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PT: What’s your creative process like? How long does it take? Do you just wake up and say, ‘I dreamt about this, and I’m writing it?’

Joeboy: Well, sometimes I dream about melodies so that I can wake up in the middle of the day. I never start dreaming about food. My name is Joseph, and I dream a lot.

I actually remember melodies in my dreams, and I just quickly wake up and record them on my voice notes or recordings. Making music for me is like trying to make that an everyday thing.

So that way, there’s so much to work with. I don’t just want to have a particular time frame of saying, ‘Today I want to record’ as I’m leaving this event right now, I could just say, ‘I’m going to, I’m going to.’

So, I like to come for my recording or music-making process; it’s that simple. It’s as easy as drinking water for me. I just record, make, and create over time.

Right now, I could be thinking of a particular sound.

PT: Which of your songs is your favourite?

Joeboy: So, I’d say the one that you like. There’s a lot, actually, but I’ll pick one. Just to be fair. It’s ‘Contour’.

That’s one song that I will always be proud of. Like, there’s nobody that thinks that song is not good. I would not; even if Michael Jackson told me that song was not good, I’d tell him I didn’t believe him.

That’s how much I know and how much effort we put into that particular song and creation and recording process, and I’m proud that people will always get through, and I’m pleased that people will listen to that specific song.

PT: You had three albums and one EP; what’s the journey been like?

Joeboy: Well, it’s been beautiful. I never imagined it to be as big as it is right now and as big as it’s going to be because it was just me enjoying myself and being the. One thing I loved that made me happy was that I wasn’t doing music because I wanted to be a rich person or I wanted to be famous; it was just something.

I like creating music, and things just start falling into place. Seeing something you can make a living from doing something you genuinely love is beautiful.

It’s like a way of life, and it’s been enjoyable for me. I’ve learned a lot; there were challenging moments. I won’t say I’m not going to be about it. There were challenging moments, but it’s been a beautiful journey.

PT: You’ve just launched your new label, and it’s called Young Legend. Is there a story behind it?

Joeboy: So, big shout out to a friend who works with Def Jam. So in 2019, he sent me a message, and he was like, ‘You’re a young legend’ I love what you do, and that message has stuck with me, and the first tattoo I got was ‘Young Legend.’ It’s right here on my wrist.

So, it’s always been my dream to create a platform to help artistes like myself showcase their talents and push them out to the world because I know how difficult it can be on a come-up and how much support is needed.

It takes a while; one artiste doesn’t just blow up. There’s always a group of support from different people, and I just felt like it was. I feel like it’s my way of paying it forward because I’m where I am today. After all, a group of people decided to support and show love to me.

PT: What inspired Osadebe?

Joeboy: The primary inspiration behind the song was the legend, Chief Osadebe. I love to read a lot, and I love to read about history and documentaries, music documentaries, and he was an icon, making high-life music.

There was one nickname they gave him, the hypertension doctor, because his music always brought some healing to people who listened to him, and I know that my music also provides that feeling.

I like Osadebe, and the word ‘Osadebe’ means to each his own. Osadebe also means the word means to each his own, and I need to realise that we all have different parts, and it’s essential to just focus on our journeys because I feel like sometimes we like to compare.

Comparison is always a thing, but factors will always be different, so that thought process inspired the idea of Osadebe.

PT: What’s the best thing about being a superstar?

Joeboy: For me, it’s the fact that I get to travel because one thing I love to do is visit different places. I love to travel a lot. If I weren’t doing music, I would be a travel blogger because I’ll just jet out even when I’m not too busy or have nothing to do in Nigeria or Lagos.

I’m like, “What country can I go to?” So I’ll go to it and say, “This place seems fun,” I’ll just pack my bags and go. So I’d say the one thing I love today is travelling. That’s one of my high points, and the fact that I can create something for my mind will positively touch people’s lives.

I get a lot of messages saying, “Your music got me out of depression. Anytime I listen to your music, it makes me happy.” And that goes beyond money or fame or whatever. The fact that I can impact people’s minds positively is a big one for me. I love that. I’ve always felt that if life makes the mistake of making me a superstar, it will be quite a trouble.

PT: I’ve seen that in 2022, you were on the YouTube foundry programme; how was that for you?

Joeboy: It was an eye-opening experience because it opened my eyes to some things I never really used to see. Look at how important content was because the content phase was like they told us that we had to post 15 short videos and everything, and I saw that impacted my audience positively.

So I learned from that moment that putting out content continuously, whether you’re dropping music or not, is suitable for your brand.

I’d say that’s one of the things that supported me, even though my first breakthrough hit song, ‘Baby, ‘ actually blew up on YouTube.

The animation was on YouTube, so I got my highest streams initially. One of the most essential social media apps that helped me achieve my breakthrough was YouTube.

PT: What would you advise young and up-and-coming artistes who want to be Joeboy one day?

Joeboy: The first thing I’d say is, don’t try to be like me. That’s the first advice when you’re not trying to be like me. Secondly, stay true to yourself and be consistent regardless of the results because I sometimes feel like we are chasing a particular result once we don’t get it.

We just get discouraged, so stay consistent regardless of the results and fall in love with the process, not the results. Fall in love with the process of, I think, when you love what you are doing, it just shows forth in the results, instead of focusing on “when I get this” because there’s always another level to get to.

So the hack is just falling in love with the process, staying consistent, and staying true to yourself. You don’t have to do what’s trending just because they’re trying to get some attention because trends can come and go. So, it’s essential to like what you do, be consistent, and be confident. Also, be convinced even if you don’t feel confident; just pretending to be works like magic.

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