Snazzy the Optimist has carefully weaved fine vocals, soothing riffs, and Africa’s soul into his music — creating vibes that are ear-friendly with amazing replay value.
The Nigerian-South African singer, rapper, songwriter, and performer whose real name Michael Chimeruche Alozie and is currently based in Edmonton, Canada, started freestyling at a very young age and later honed his skills and developed more dynamic artistry that allows him to perfectly swing between different genres to express the extent of his versatility.
When he was 9, Snazzy thrilled a huge crowd with big personalities in South Africa including Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa where he won a rap battle for his High School in Cape Town, an experience he described unforgettable.
The talented singer makes spectacular melodies that will surely get fans fixed to the spot in no time. With his new project underway, Snazzy is in no way ready for jokes as he is set to add more energy and life to the music space in Africa.
Your recent single “Seluna” was huge, is there a story behind the song, and how was the reaction from your fans?
Seluna is actually a song I wrote for my friend that got his heart broken a while ago, he always tells me how he loved the girl and how he was madly in love with her but because of little mistakes and all of that, they broke up. His experience was what inspired the song and the feedbacks were amazing. I think with the type of response I get, I am sure my next project is going to very impressive.
How was your growing up like?
Growing up was very hard, my parents made such incredible sacrifices to raise me and my siblings. We relocated to South Africa when I was just 2. In the beginning, it was so hard for my dad and mum but at the end of day, they made sure we were okay. I had my primary school in Cape Town, Rosmead Central Primary School, and my secondary school also in Cape Town, Hoërskool Jan van Riebeeck.
Before my family moved to South Africa, I hadn’t been exposed to many other cultures and ethnicities because I was still very young, I grew up in a very devoted Christian religious family, my mum would wake us up around 5 am to pray which is part of the reason why I’m still here today. My dad is my biggest musical influence, he really taught me how to nurture the child in me and brought me so close to music, and made me fall more and more, even more in love with music, my dad would play his favorite artists then and ask me to learn the lyrics word to word, gave me rehearsals, my dad was my best friend when I was growing up. He really made me discover I loved music so much.
How did your growing up contribute to your music career?
I was born into a musical family, my granddad used to be a drummer before he died and my dad was a choir leader in SA, growing up we listened to music a lot in our household in SA. My dad really made me discover I loved music so much while I was growing up, I listened to Kanye west, Celine Dion, and Phil Collins, because my dad always got these artists CDs and plays them often. Listening to Kanye West and Drake on my own made me fall in love with rap music.
You grew up in South Africa, how did SA influence your sound?
Growing up in SA was super amazing and was also hard There was fear of living because of the rate of discrimination, pains, wins and being able to be exposed to some South African culture, traditions, and sounds really helped me and most of these things are who make up who Snazzy the Optimist is today.
What was your parents’ reaction to your music career?
My dad was in full support of it but my mum at some point was skeptical, you know how mums act. My mum wanted me to be a medical doctor.
How long have you been in the music business?
I started out with free styling in school when I was 8 or 9. I started my career professionally a few years ago.
How would you describe your struggle over the years to find your feat in the industry?
Attempting a career in music is a challenge for even the most talented among us. Lack of support, depression, and many other issues but it’s been a smooth process so far.
Tell us about the challenges you face as an upcoming artiste.
Man, it hasn’t really been easy, I suffered from severe anxiety most of my life and I have used music as a way to cope. The addition of “The Optimist” to my moniker is a symbol and representation of how optimistic I have been in the past few years, making me be hopeful and confident about my future because I know it can only get better.
Was there a time you wanted to give up and do something else?
2020 was really a tough year, I went through hell and believed nothing good comes easy. I was depressed and wanted to give up on my career but I realized there is no giving up on my side.
If you’re not doing music, what will you be doing?
I would have been in the school of medicine because my mum wanted me to be a doctor or I would join basketball because I love basketball but I needed to follow the right part and embark on a journey with what makes me happy and my calling which is music, I’m music and music is me.
You have worked with some Nigerian bright stars, who are they and how was the experience working with them?
I have worked with Joeboy, Laycon, Mr Eazi, and Oxlade. The experiences with these amazing souls really helped me in so many ways. I really learnt a lot from them which I would work with forever. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to be with them again.
Who are some of the A-list artistes you are planning to work with?
I would really love to work with both African and diaspora artists who have helped in influencing my sound. There are a lot of them I really want to work with.
There’s a synergy between Nigerian, South African and Ghanaian artistes, who are those African artistes you’re planning to work with?
Nasty C is an amazing guy, I am looking forward to working with him. Also, Camidoh, and our own Burnaboy.
Who influences you in the music industry both in Nigeria and Diaspora?
Musically, I’m influenced by almost everything I hear. But my sound sometimes is very reminiscent of people like Burna boy, Wande Coal, Nneka, Drake, Bryson Tiller, Kranium and the likes. But there’s so much more; Kendrick Lamar, Nasty C, Eric Bellinger, Oxlade, and so on.
In 2010, you caught the attention of Jacob Zuma, former president of South Africa after winning a rap battle for your High School in Cape Town, how did you feel performing in front of a President?
I had super stage fright stepping on that stage because it was my first official performance, but immediate it switched because of the response I got from the crowd, it really motivated me to steal the show which I did and at the end of the day it was the best feeling in the world. I will never forget that day.
How old were you then?
I was 9 years old then.
You sing about love very often, you must have an interesting love life. (Tell us about what inspired you to sing about love or write about love songs)
Smiles, Love is the second thing that inspires me as an artiste. Real love, Pain, heartache, unreciprocated love, betrayals, so many other things. These are what inspires me to create arts about love.
What project are you working on now?
I’m working on quite a few projects. But “Mars”, my latest project, an extended playlist is basically done. And then I’m on a few other projects that I can’t disclose right now.
Your advice to upcoming artistes like you?
Make music your career, keep God first and pray hard, work hard, dedication, consistency, and patience.