NIGERIAN STAR BOY: He is famous for hits such as Tease me and Carol and he will be performing at the All Black VIP Guinness party next Wednesday. Edgar R. Batte spoke to the Nigerian artiste about his music journey.
Who is Wizkid?
A recording artiste from Nigeria. My real name is Ayodeji Balogun, and I am the last child of four siblings and the only boy.
When and how did you start your singing career?
My career in music started at a tender age of 11; singing in church and eventually joining a few young and older people in studios around Lagos. I rapped at some point before singing. I was called lil’ Prince then, until I became more determined to take music seriously, and coined the name Wizkid, which came from being teased by my sisters, while my friends called me Wizzy. It just stuck since then.
Did you ever dream you would become a music star?
I won’t say I dreamt of becoming a music star because man proposes and God disposes. But I knew I would be great at it and was inspired by the likes of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Michael Jackson, and many more. So if aspiring to be like them counts as dreaming to become a music star, then maybe I did dream to become one.
How did you earn your breakthrough as a music star?
God first, hardwork next, followed by the will and persistence to achieve my dreams. Also, you cannot rule out other people and mixing with the right people at the right time. I was always prepared for opportunities whenever they came knocking, and most times I didn’t wait for opportunities to come knocking, I chased them.
You are one of Nigeria’s and Africa’s finest stars, what does it feel like?
It’s a blessing and I’m grateful to God and my fans, and people who have supported my music and career. It’s a great feeling that comes with a lot of responsibilities, but we thank God.
What is your daily routine like?
I meditate, keep up with happenings around me on TV and online, get in the studio to record by myself or with other artistes, go for meetings, return to the studio, perform at shows, and the cycle continues.
Of your songs, which do you deeply feel?
I’m connected to all my songs and cannot exactly pick one of them that I love deeply. Every song has a story and a reason.
Tell me about your endorsements
I have endorsement deals with brands like Pepsi, Hennessy, and MTN, who are major players in their respective industries and have offered me experiences in these regard.
What are some of your biggest achievements out of music?
I achieved enormous things ranging from being able to meet great people from the music world locally and internationally, to dining with heads of states and influential people in societies across countries. I have also been able to use my music to influence and inspire a lot of young people.
Have you listened to any Ugandan music?
Not exactly, but I look forward to experiencing Ugandan music and, if possible, collaborating with Ugandan artistes to push African music to the world.
What’s your wish list for the next few years?
I’m not the kind of person who makes wish lists. But I have goals and targets, and most times accomplish them in the first few months of the year and move to the next things. I set goals every day and make sure I work towards reaching them that same day, or at least making a step towards reaching them.
What can your Ugandan fans expect from your performance?
Expect explosive performances from your favourite star boy – Wizkid. It’s going to be nothing close to what they have seen or experienced before. Everyone should turn out enmasse to party and dance with me on the October 22.
Was music something you have always wanted to pursue?
Yes, from a very young age.
Which artistes were you looking up to before you broke through?
Fela Anikulapo-kuti, 2face Idibia, Bob Marley, and more.
Where do you see African music?
African music is international; we’ve been able to infiltrate the international market with great collaborations and non-Africans listening and buying our music, especially with the presence of social media platforms. More of this will happen in future and it will get to a point where international artistes will want to collaborate with African artistes to reach our market and people.
What needs to be done better for African music to become bigger and better?
We need to remain original while also advancing with the rest of the world. Also, new records need to be broken. That’s how we can make history and catch the attention of the world continuously.
What inspires your music?
Anything; life experiences, my environment…
Do you write your own music?
Yes I do.
How many songs and albums do you have?
I have two albums. I just released my second album in September, titled “ayo” which. Before that was the “super star” album in 2012. As for singles, off the top of my head, I cannot account for my singles because there are a lot of them. In the past few months alone, I think I have released more than six singles.
Away from music, who is wizkid?
Wizkid is Africa’s starboy.
What are your hobbies?
Making and listening to good music, playing football when the opportunity comes, and performing my songs at events or gatherings of my fans.
What is your message to your fans across Africa?
Shout out to all my fans across Africa and in the Diaspora. Thank you for listening, buying and supporting Wizkid’s songs. God bless you, and please keep supporting…yaga!
Youth out there, dream big and don’t let anyone tell you you cannot achieve it. Work hard for your dreams, keep learning, obey your parents and stay close to God.