NAIJA INVASION: Born in 1991, Raoul John Njeng-Njeng aka Skales is a Nigerian rapper, singer, and songwriter who has recorded more than 200 songs including I’m For real, Temper ft Burna Boy, Always ft Davido and the smash hit Booty Language alongside Sakordie. It is his first time in Uganda.
What have you heard about Uganda?
I just came in on Wednesday morning but I am learning a few things. So far I have learnt the word ‘mugaati’ which means bread but besides that I know some little bit of Ugandan music. My friends have been here and I have a couple of friends here.
What do you know about Ugandan music?
I know some Ugandan artistes such as Navio, Cindy, Goodlyfe and I have also met Angellina. Radio and Weasel used to be my favourite group.
Wizkid was here two weeks ago and he impressed during his performance, so did Timaya. What should people expect from you at the Ciroc Frost Pineapple Pool Party tonight?
The best of the best. I consider those artistes my family so we are just going to have fun. This is a pool party and a concert at the same time so it is going to be dope. But it is that time of the year when I have to be at my best because I do not want to disappoint my Ugandan fans, especially because it is my first time here. The show is just a few days to X-mas and I am here with all the love.
You have a song with Cindy already (One by One), should we expect another song with a Ugandan musician?
Yes. I am really open to that. I am going to be recording back to back and I am not going to mention names yet because everything is supposed to be a surprise.
So if someone wants to record a song with you, what should they do?
They have to talk with my manager but it is quite easy because I am simple and love good music. I do not care if someone is known or not known so long as I like the music.
Tell us about your musical background?
Honestly music has always been something that I love. It was the only thing that kept me up when the whole world was going upside down for me. So basically, I grew up wanting to do this. My mum used to sell cassettes, DVDs and that kind of stuff back in the day at the back of the church, so that background also contributed to my love for music.
I also participated in the Zain Tru Search competition and won the competition in North Central region which pushed me further to do this career.
And family background?
I am an only child. I grew up with my mother in Kaduna but my origin is Edo State.
Did you do a music course?
Surprisingly, I did not do a music course. I have a degree in Business Administration and when I was done with it, I decided to concentrate on my music career because it was the only thing I was happy doing, making money out of it and travelling the world.
What inspires your lyrics?
I would say women, life, what I go through and where I travel. I am sure by the time I go back home, I would have learnt a thing or two about Uganda and put it in a song.
Music aside, what else does Skales do?
I am into fashion and helping other people in NGOs.
Where did the name Skales come from?
My full name Raoul John Njeng-Njeng is kind of hard to pronounce and back then people used to make fun of me in school. Out of the two alternative subjects; art and music, I chose music and I was really good in musical scales. I used to get 10/10. So my teacher one day was trying to pronounce my name and she failed so she called me ‘Mr Scales’ and that is how the name came about. Big shout outs to her and every time I meet her she says; ‘I need credit for that name’. So I later changed the C to a K and I gave it a meaning “Seek Knowledge Acquire Large Entrepreneurial Skills”.
What is that thing about Nigerian music that makes it different from music in other countries you have travelled to?
The only difference is our language. Music is all about riddim and rhythm.
Which Ugandan songs are big in Nigeria?
Radio and Weasel’s songs are always big and then Navio’s traditional song is also huge. It played everywhere.
After tonight, do you have any plans of coming back to Uganda?
Definitely. I want to come back and do a different kind of show.