Why I admire Tiwa Savage – Singer LBee
LBee, whose real name is Ojelade Olanrewaju Oluwafe, is an Afro pop artiste with versatility in other genres of music.
Currently under the management of YOS records, the budding artiste has demonstrated his commitment to carving a niche for himself in the highly competitive Nigerian music industry.
He tells Allure Vanguard about his musical journey, his plans to collaborate with Tiwa Savage, his new single and video, Santorini more.
What inspired you to go into music?
My dad inspired me. He loved listening to music. At our house, we grew up listening to a lot of music, from the blues of the 80’s to songs from Michael Jackson, Don Williams, Johnny Partens, Kenny Rogers, and more. I’ll say that when you get the vibe from a particular thing, it grows with you. That’s what listening to music then, did to me.
Briefly define your kind of music?
Like I said about my background of music, I had listened to a lot of foreign music while growing up, it made me quite versatile, I can do do any genre except from rap. But if it involves me using my vocal strength, I am good to go with the likes of reggae, afro pop, and more. I honestly flow a lot more with Afro, that’s my type of music. Although I’m quite versatile, I can do anything.
You do more of Afro than the others genres, have you dropped a single on that genre?
Yes I have. It’s a new song I titled ‘Santorini’. Before that, I had already done a song with 9ice called ‘Fortune and Fame’, that was my first and Official single under YOS records. That was how I broke into the music industry. Now I have Santorini which dropped like two weeks ago, and the video has also been released.
How long have you been signed to YOS records?
I signed my record deal with my present label YOS records August 31st, 2018. It’s not up to a year.
When did you start Music?
I grew up listening to music, so I felt the vibe since then to go into music professionally. I started in year 2010. I can remember writing a song and my roommates were laughing at me then. Now I am here today. Dream do come true.
What inspires you, when writing any song?
I was having a discussion with the C.E.O of my record label, telling him that I needed to change my location, because everything I needed to get from this environment I have already gotten, and I don’t think there is nothing left anymore. I actually draw inspiration from what I see around me. Nigeria has a lot going on right now, so there is a lot that can inspire one’s song.
So are you saying that Santorini addresses societal issues?
Well partially I’ll say. That’s because right now the societal issues in the country is on an increase. One is depression. When one works too much and there is no time to jolly, it could cause a lot of problems. Santorini is just a song to tell one to get money, and then enjoy life with the money made.
Since you got signed, have you been under pressure to produce more songs?
If any upcoming artiste that got signed by a record label comes out to say that he or she has not been under pressure, then that person a liar. There is no one a record label would invest money on, that would not feel pressured in some way. I know how to soak the pressure and come out with something brilliant. I think that comeback, is what makes a good singer. I am not perfect, but I know for sure that I am close to that.
You’ve mentioned working with 9ice, which other artiste would you love to work with?
I’ll love to work with Davido because am sure that once I do, he’ll carry me along. He is that kind of person. I’ll also really love to work with Tuface Idibia, it had been my dream to work with him. Then we have Burna Boy and Kiss Daniel too. For the international scene, I’ll love to work with Ed Sheeran.
What did your record label see in you, to have signed you in as their artiste?
If am going to answer that question, I do not want it to sound like self- appraisal. I’ll say that I am talented and the C.E.O of my record label can attest to that. I am a Yoruba boy, responsible and talented. So I think that’s what my record label saw in me. I am not in so much pressure to bring income back for the label. Music has always been my passion and likewise a business entity. The main goal is to do what I love, sing and also make some money as well. It goes hand-in-hand. I’ll get there soon, I believe.
How has your family supported you?
My dad was and is still a very loving and encouraging father to me. Same goes to my mum who has been super supportive. Before I got signed by YOS records, my dad had been the one paying for my studio sessions, and that was when I was still in school. It has just been wonderful seeing my transition from just being a regular student to a musician through the support of my family. Growing up has been nice for me, I’ll say.
Tell us about your educational background?
My nursery and primary education was at Ogun Montessori school, Abeokuta. Then did my secondary at Abeokuta Grammar School. I attended Achievers University, Ondo state and studied International Relations there.
How would you describe the Nigerian music industry?
There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian music industry, although I know there are some controversies going on presently.
Do you think the industry is moving forward and gaining grounds Internationally?
Yes, the Nigerian music industry is really moving higher. It is gaining grounds Internationally. Now we have a lot of American artistes doing collaborations with Nigerian artistes. This is happening because of musicians hard work, and if we put more work to our music, we could stand a chance of getting to the Grammys. We have artistes like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, really pushing for it. Everyone should watch out for me as well. I know the industry is competitive, but very soon I’ll get there.
What are those qualities you have that will help you get there?
I had said earlier that I started doing music by the year 2010 and I did not get signed, until 2018. It took me eight years of consistency in my passion before I got signed. I was really patient to get to this point and now this is my time to start shining.
What are the Challenges you faced before getting signed?
Breaking into the Nigerian music industry was not easy for me. First is getting a good amount of audience that’ll listen to my kind of music. Second is Funding, getting funds to go for studio sessions, record songs, mixing and mashing. Another is the challenges in the promotion of my music after recording. All these are major impediments for me as an artiste.
Which female artiste would you want to work with?
Let me be a bit diplomatic. Presently in Nigeria, Tiwa Savage is one if the major female artiste one can work with to get some kind of international recognition, so yes I’ll love to work with her. But if I really want to do a collaboration with female artiste, whom I know I’ll flow well with, I’ll choose Omawumi, Asa, or Simi. The beauty of being a musician is listening to other people’s acts and letting it influence you. I am just waiting on when I’ll drop an album.
You kept mentioning Vanessa in your song Santorini, who is she?
(Laughs) am still looking for that Vanessa oo. I am sure she’ll look the same way any African woman looks.