By Ayo Onikoyi
Sapele-born, Warri-bred Afro-fusion singer known as Dimplez, born Esiri Steve has walked his way into the list of Nigerian artistes that shook the foundation of the music industry in 2019 with the release of the video to his hit ‘Dangote’ featuring the Banga Lee, D’banj, Oladapo, Oyebanjo.
The video which also features BBNaija reality TV star, Nina Ivy, veteran actor, Charles Inojie and many others has been enjoying rave reviews and wide acceptability. In this interview with PRECIOUS NWOKOCHA the singer opens up on the making of the video and how D’banj came to be featured.
Why did you take music ?
I chose music because that is my strength. I have other abilities though, I could have been a boxer or footballer but I felt I wouldn’t go far. When it comes to music, I have no fear of failure because I have undying passion for it and I know I will do well in it.
When did you start music and what was your first release?
I actually recorded my first major single in 2010 or 2011, that was when I meet Young D, during that time when Timaya’s “shake up your bum bum” was trending. I came from Warri to Lagos and got introduced to Young D and I recorded my first song. You know how it is when you don’t have people to push you forward in your music, every career with money suffers. So, the journey has always been trying to get funds to invest in my music thing.
It has been a nice journey but I think the new phase of my career started when I actually moved to Lagos and I met a producer called Boombeatz through a friend called Solo. Boombeatz and I did a song last year, so D’banj read the song and showed interest in it, he invited me over and that was how we shot the video for Dangote, Dimplez featuring D’banj, that is basically the song we are pushing right now.
How many singles and videos have you done to date?
I have actually shot some underground videos but the major videos I have shot are “you” in 2017, Dimplez, you. And 2019 I did Dangote featuring D’banj, those are the two major ones I have done, the other ones were underground.
What is the connection between you and D’banj
D’banj is actually an idol I have revered over the years. Over the years I have watched him, so he was more like an idol. When I heard he liked my song and he wanted to be a part of the project, I was thrilled. So, D’banj is more like my mentor.
Teni has done a Dangote song, so is Burna Boy and why you again ?
Well, for Burna Boy I know but Teni, I don’t really know, and another thing is, I recorded my own ‘Dangote’ August 2018, things were kind of slow then, so we didn’t put the song out on time. D’banj actually heard it like 6 months later, as a matter of fact we had a hard time shooting the video because D’banj was a bit scared because of the title and since there was another artist that has done Dangote, but my own Dangote was on August and it wasn’t influenced by anybody.
But what’s the catch in the name ‘Dangote’?
Dangote is the richest black man so everybody wants to be associated with that namebecause he is the richest black man. The name in itself is sweet and money is sweet. I think it’s the money that is attracting everyone to use the name. If I use a name like ‘Otedola’ it wouldn’t be as sweet as Dangote, that’s why artistes are using the name to sing. The sound of ‘Otedola’ is not as catchy as that of ‘Dangote.
So you have worked with Dbanj , how will you describe him as a person and an artist?
One word – Legend. D’banj is a vibe, he just lights up the whole place, he is a brand, too much energy, a great entertainer. It was fun working with him.
What genre would you categorize your music ?
I do all types of music but it should be Afro fusion in it, the afro is the African part of it, it can be hip hop but there should be that element of Afro in it.
With so many upcoming artists out there, what is your own unique selling point?
My dimples are my unique selling point. I can’t say talent because almost everybody in Nigeria has got talent. I will say it is more of my drive and I think I’m very stylish and I think I was meant for this. Basically I’m the entertainer that sings. You people should just watch out for me. I’m the heir apparent of Nigerian music kingdom.
How did you get the inspiration to do the song ‘Dangote’?
The inspiration actually came from the beat. My producer actually created the beat and when I heard the beat it was mad. Boombeatz and I sat down together and generate the words and boom it was made. We knew the song was definitely going to be a hit. It was a little bit of free-styling and a little bit of written words. But it took a couple of days to actually put everything together. We were looking for the right lamba and what would fit into what. The beat was produced by Boombeatz, the same guy that produced ‘Shy’ for D’banj.