One-the-rise singer, CKay, born Chukwuka Ekweani, who prides himself as the future of Afrobeat genre of music has opened up to Vanguard the price he paid to pursue his dream of making music. In a question and answer session, he explains how he fuses Afropop and Afrobeat and how he has added futuristic elements to it. He boasts that his forthcoming EP will tell all the story and bring to the table what the future of Afrobeat looks like. Ckay doesn’t look like another joker looking to score a cheap mark of recognition, he has made music for some of the most serious minds in the business. He has made music for Dice Ailes, Pryse, MI, Ice Prince, Koker, Milli and other artists. In this interview, the Chocolate City star lets us into his world. Read on;
How did music start for you and what influenced the decision?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, actually, but I didn’t really take it seriously. I just derived joy from it. I was a bedroom musician for a while, but I’d sing in school sometimes and all the girls liked me. I was “the guy that could sing.” Lol. I started taking music seriously when I graduated from secondary school and started mingling with other music enthusiasts in my city. Two of my friends and I formed a group called cre8tive music and we were really popular in Kaduna back then. We organized a concert and sold all the tickets. That was when I realized how big this little thing we were doing could be. I wanted more and I decided to move to Lagos. So I saved money for a period of 9 months and one day, i just left home. My parents never really supported my dreams, even after countless conversations I had with them, trying to convince them of how viable music is as an occupation. So, I just left. I figured they’d eventually forgive me when they saw results. They fully support and believe in me now.
A friend of mine took me to chocolate city’s A&R, Moti Cakes, and i played my music and he was really excited.
I used to come around from time to time to make beats and write songs. Around this time, I made music for Dice Ailes, Pryse, MI, Ice Prince, Koker, Milli and other artists. I eventually got offered a production contract, and a year later, I was offered an artist contract.
How would you categorize the genre of your music?
Afro-pop, from the future (2056 A.D specifically)
My forthcoming EP, CKay The First is futuristic afro-pop from start to finish. Listen to it when it drops and thank me in the near future (no pun intended).
What is your breakthrough single and how would you compare it to your other songs?
Container. It was really different. Very catchy and overally sing-along-y and enjoyable. It was really different from what I usually do though.
Given the competitiveness of the music industry, what’s your own unique selling point?
My unique selling point is the fact that I am a producer, I create my own sound
In your own opinion, what is good music?
Good music is enjoyable music. If I enjoy it, it’s good music. Period.
What is the greatest sacrifice you have made for your music career?
I ran away from home. I still can’t believe I did that. That was really hardcore. Lol.
Oh and I emptied my bank account so many times to do what had to be done.
Some older musicians believe young artistes make crap music, what’s your take?
Music is highly subjective. What you hate, someone else can die for. That’s just the way it is. Like I said before, music that is enjoyable is good music. Period.
Which Nigerian artiste do you look forward to working with?
Wizkid. Burna Boy. Wande Coal.
Commercial success in today’s music is said to belong in the street. How do you intend to capture the street?
I don’t really believe in making broad judgements like this. I may not be a “street artist” but I have released and produced many songs people are singing in the streets as anthems; the streets love good music. I’ll just do my thing in the studio and it will naturally find its course.
Which Nigerian artiste do you admire the most and why?
Wizkid. He’s just blessed. Period.
They say no musician can stay with one woman, how do you react to this?
Live band or DJ, which works for you?
To be honest I prefer DJ performances to live bands. But I love when the DJ plays and the live band plays alongside. The sound is dope
Tell us the story of your life before music and what has since changed?
I have a lot of people showing me love and singing my songs, I get recognized at the mall and people walk up to me to take pictures. That never happened before. Lol.
What is your ultimate dream as a musician?
Win Grammys, sell out stadiums, make my continent proud.
We are asking out of the box questions how will you respond to them.
a. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
I will ride it with me everywhere I go so I can literally be the elephant in the room every time.
b. If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two things would you want to have with you?