Fireboy: The Artiste To Beat
Words By – Oreva Akpoborie
Adedamola Adefolahan popularly known as Fireboy took the music scene by storm in 2019 with his debut album Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps. Armed with an amazing vocal range and a strong passion for music, Fireboy went into the music scene with only one thing in mind-to win!
Today, he is a multi-award winner and waxing even stronger. Fresh off winning the Male Artiste Of The Year Award at the inaugural edition of the Gbedu Awards, the regional streaming service powering music discovery in Africa,is aimed to recognize the creative achievements of African Artists who are breaking boundaries daily, to make really fantastic music that puts Africa on the global stage.
The Gbedu Awards, which employed a no-voting system, chose winners strictly based on Artists’ music streaming data. This makes it the first music awards in the world to be completely backed with and based on streaming numbers, reflecting how much of fan.
Having won the hearts of his fans and emerged Male Artist of the year, Fireboy shares with Allure about career, his humble beginnings, overcoming challenges, and more.
Every successful artiste has his or her growing up in Nigeria story. Can you share yours with us?
I grew up a first-born child, in an average family of 5 in Abeokuta, Ogun state. With two younger brothers, I’d always had that sense of responsibility but I never really acted on those. I mostly kept to myself, writing dark poems, listening to music, and reading strange books. I had my primary and secondary school education in Abeokuta before I moved to Ile-ife to study English at Obafemi Awolowo University. it was there music and purpose found me and my life changed. I struggled with purpose and school for five years after which, I moved to Lagos in 2017 to really focus on my dreams of making music. it was there my life changed again—this time, for good.
Support is so important when it comes to music, how would you describe your support system?
I got that in one man — Olamide! He’s been there ever since he discovered and signed me, always guiding and providing the mental support a young artiste like me needs to survive in an industry like this. The entire YBNL is family, and they treat me like one of them. Empire, our partner label is family too and they’re responsible for the success my music is achieving internationally. I’m in good hands.
Was there any sort of discouragement?
There’s always discouragement, from every angle and in every form. Sometimes, I’m strong enough to dismiss them, sometimes I’m not — either way, I don’t let them define my life.
Was there ever a moment you doubted your talent?
Yes. this happens from time to time in the life of a creative. It’s worse if you’re a perfectionist. However, just like every moment, this one too passes, it never lasts long.
What was the turning point when you knew you could do music for the rest of your life?
After I moved to Lagos and fully discovered my sound, I started releasing music on free platforms. Folks would hit me up to tell me never to stop, that my music has saved their lives and it means a lot to them. That, coupled with the fact that I had nothing left to do with my life at that point, made me realize I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life. I couldn’t afford to fail.
What did it take for you to get to the popstar status that you’re at today?
Purpose comes with the drive, so that’s non-negotiable. Then, talent, hunger, and most importantly, hard work.
With two smashing albums in such a short time, how would you describe your creative process?
It’s too intricate to describe here, but I’ll say I like to constantly surround myself with sound and melody. After that, everything else comes— lyrics and whatnot. I like to write about real and true things. I think honesty is the soul of songwriting.
You have an unusual name, why Fireboy DML?
There’s nothing deep to the name. DML is an acronym of my name, Damola and Fireboy is just a cool name I added to it when I discovered my sound and decided to rebrand.
If you had to do any other thing but music, what will your career path be?
Professional writing or football; weird combo but it is what it is.
Afrobeat is getting due recognition now, what do you think changed?
It’s a result of the hard work that our legends past and present have put in. They’ve made a lot of things seem achievable, they’ve made our paths easier for us to tread to greatness. We owe it all to them and it’s our duty as a new generation of artistes, to take it from there and do even better.
Where do you see Afrobeat in five years?
I see it becoming a global phenomenon, a fully recognized genre with a proper structure and industry.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
The greatest of all time!
Gbedu Artiste of the year! How does it feel?
It feels good! I’m honoured and grateful for the recognition. Things like this push and inspire us to do more. I like that.
How important are platforms like Gbedu live in the development of the music industry in Nigeria?
It is very crucial to the culture and also to our dream, to build a better structure for the industry. They’re helping the new generation build something worthwhile. Gbedu is the future.____________________________________