You and Rema are quite a dynamic duo. What is your working relationship?
Rema and I are going back. We have grown a little musically together. Whenever we create, it’s never really serious. It’s always just cool, pure vibes. I could be in my room and then it just stops like “Oh, man! Wetin dey do like that, o?” and I’m like “Oya, now listen say, listen say” and then we start to vibrate. And then he’ll be like “Omo, change tin. Do it like this, like this, like this.” And then we listen and it sounds so dope, and he’s like “Bro, that’s on some next level shit!” and I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s really crazy!” [laughs]. We just have fun – like, doing weird shit and then trying different things out of curiosity. And that’s how we made the album.
And it looks like you had a lot of fun on the album [‘Rave and Roses’] to be honest – I can hear it.
I had fun, I can’t lie. i was just leaving [laughs]. I didn’t think about anything – like we literally didn’t think about anything. We enter the studio without knowing what we want to do, then we do anything. The whole transition from the first track [‘Divine’] per second [‘Hold Me’], we just thought, “Can we do this? Can we put a sample in front of this and make it sound like this? Like bruh, who does that? Everyone is afraid. We knew we would get a lot of backlash like “Why is Rema doing this?” “Why is he so weird? But that’s an opinion. My opinion is this: I have created a masterpiece. I did something stupid. If you don’t like it, then it’s not for you [laughs]. It wasn’t for you. It was made for others. Everyone has their tastes and at the end of the day, someone else resonates with them; someone else connects to it.
There’s nothing sweeter than doing what you want to do and doing it how you want to do it and just putting it out there. If someone doesn’t like it, good. Cool. But at least I was able to express what I wanted.
Tell me about your creative process for a song like ‘Addicted‘.
When I make music, it’s an interpretation of what I’m feeling at that moment. So I’m able to interpret what anybody is feeling, you know, and show it to them. It’s always so interesting to work with Rema because he already knows what he wants, and I’m very good at bringing people’s ideas and imaginations to life and putting them to music.
We first launched the idea of “Addicted” during the listening evening. We were just going on vibes because Rema had the idea and wanted me to build it. It was kind of tense for me, working on it in front of everyone there, like it was so crazy. It wasn’t as perfect as it is today, but we made it. Then I came back and finished everything. When I was doing this track, I knew it was totally different from anything I had done. It’s something you expect from the producer of The Weeknd. Or Quincy Jones to do for Michael Jackson. Honestly, I was just having fun, can’t lie. Doing this track made me step out of my comfort zone, wanting to experiment and also wanting to prove a point.
And what was it for?
That yo, don’t see me as any typical Afrobeats producer. Just because I’m an Afrobeats producer doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make a pop record, or make a trap record, or a hip hop record. I can do anything at the end of the day. As I said before, there are no rules about this. If I want to do this, I will. And I will do it well and you will vibrate there. When I woke up the first day the album came out and saw that ‘Addicted’ was already number one, I was like, “Oh! It’s crazy.” The fact that a pop record by a Nigerian artist is number one? It’s actually mad.
Which artist do you prefer to work with and why?
I would say Rema because there really is no limit to what we can do. Then Ayra Starr – she’s really great to work with. He really is an amazing person, honestly. She’s like my little sister, we’re really close like that. You know before she signed with Mavin, we talked on Instagram? I remember like, on the bottom, I wanted to sign her. On a low, low, low key, like bruh, I was interested in Ayra Starr from the start! All of a sudden I came to the studio one day and then Don Jazzylike “Oh, there’s this girl named Oyinkansola. She says she knows you. I knew her as Oyin back then and I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ thinking oh fuck , this guy beat me to it! [laughs] But it’s okay, at the end of the day, we still have to create magic together. Like what a coincidence: his first hit was from me, and we started talking before all that. I’m really excited for her. I’m really proud to have been able to play a role in his journey.
One word: Wizkid.
Working with Wizkid has been an amazing experience, honestly. I remember when he called me at the studio, wanting to meet after ‘Electric’. We had never met in the first place, that’s the honest truth. I always send him beats, then he replies. It was our first time working together in person, and it was pure vibes. He’s a cool guy – I see him as a big brother, honestly.
Any artists you would like to work with in the future?
To name a few, I would say Brent Faiyaz, Jorja Smith, Drake.
What are some of the goals you are working towards that you can share with us?
My goal is actually to bring all these people together on an album, on my own project. Also, releasing my first single this year. Everything is already in preparation for my album. It’s going to take time because I want to do it. I want to make sure everything is perfect. I’m in no rush – I’m in no rush, honestly.
Shirley Ahura is a freelance writer, follow her on Twitter