24 years old Ogun State born rap star, Adeleke Victor Matanmi music career is fast on the rise since the release of his debut single “So Crazy” which was released last year after pitching his tent with MAGiKAL Entertainment, a young but versatile Nigerian record label.
Brain poised to be the next thing to blow in the Nigerian rap scene as his singles has been enjoying so much love from fans across the globe. His tribute to the Late Dr. Nelson Mandela “The Bridge” got heavy airplay and has been described by many as a song filled with so much depth and content.
He recently dropped his third official single “Salute” which is currently ruling the airwaves. According to Brain, “Salute” is a song he composed to give props to top African rappers.
The wordsmith is the first son of a humble family of four children and hailed from Ogun State. He is a final year undergraduate of Industrial and Labour Relations at the Olabisi Onabanjo University. In this exclusive interview, Brain speaks about his versatility, passion, his take on the Nigerian music industry and preparations to take his game to the next level. Excerpts…
When and how did you start music?
For me music is a passion and it runs in the blood, my father also loves music and plays music whenever he’s around, my brother is a professional dancer and my younger sisters are choristers in the church. It started when I was in the secondary school, where I would sing for my classmates to cheer me until I joined a group in 2005 where I did my first recording.
In my first year in school I went for an event to perform and was denied at first, but people that had seen me performed requested I must perform and when I did my performance eventually became the high point of the event and from that day on; no looking back for me.
What influence your lyrics or what inspires you to write?
I’m greatly influenced by happenings around me because I tried to be as realistic as possible with my songs.
What difference are you out to make in the music industry?
I am original and true to myself, my voice texture, the way I rap and sing brings out the uniqueness in me. I am also a versatile with my kind of songs; I can even sing reggae and the likes. And I listen to different songs from great personalities like legendary Fela Anikulapo, Evang. Ebenezer Obey, Sir Shina Peters and so many others. With the blend of all of these great musicians it helps me avoid being stereotypical with my songs. I am signed to Magikal Entertainment with a debut single ‘So Crazy’ and my three videos “Watcha Looking At”, “The Bridge (Tribute to Mandela”) and the new one, “Salute” are on the screen for viewers pleasure. “Watcha Looking At” announced my arrival as the next big thing in the Naija’s rap stage.
How are you coping combing music and education?
Combining education and music is not so easy because music is quite jealous; you have to create quality time to write and record meaningful songs, perform at events and do a lot of other things that being an artiste entails. But to the glory of God I have been able to balance the two without conflicting each other. What I do majorly is to study when I am supposed to be and also to do music during the time allotted to it. So it gives little or no time to play around.
Are your songs also the regular “commercial” music we are presently experiencing from many young Nigerian acts?
My songs are surely not the regular “noise making” as I sometimes see it. Songs are most times meant to address societal issues or used a medium to pass out messages. In as much that I want to do the regular party or feel-good dongs, I still want to pass out message to young people out there, just like one of my forth-coming single “Take It Easy”. The song addresses the issue of young people wanting to make fast money without working hard. So also “Raincoat” featuring Oyinkansola which my management released last year December as an awareness song for the deadly HIV/AIDS. The song also treated the issue of stigmatization as well. Commercial songs to me are songs that allow an artiste to cross over his original genre and not just noise making or ass shaking songs. Laugh!
What has stardom done to you?
Nothing much. I’m still same old me. Though the spotlight is gradually robbing me off my freedom, because I can no longer walk on my street without people greeting me and pointing fingers. Boys don dey obtain me sef. Lol. I’m not complaining ooo, because it is a good feeling that after all the hustle one is starting to get noticed.
Now that you are fast becoming popular, how have you been coping with the female fans?
I tried to be nice to everyone because as you know, it’s the female folks that constitute most of male artiste’s fan base, so you can’t ignore them; I only know where to draw the lines.
What’s the most memorable thing a female fan once did to you?
I was on a club tour, and “Lubadi” was played and a female fan just jumped at me on stage and kissed me on the lips. That was quite crazy because I didn’t see it coming.
Who are the artistes or producers you are looking forward to work with?
A whole lot of artistes and producers because you have to make different tunes that appeals to a wide audience to last in this industry. And I’m hoping to work with great personalities like 2face, Don Jazzy, Future, Sarkodie, elDee, Tiwa Savage and many more.
So how far are you planning to take your career?
To the farthest length I can take it, God’s willing. I don’t want to be a one hit wonder and I’m currently under the developmental stage of my career. I’m not in a rush to “blow”, so it’s one step at a time. There are so many good artistes that have gone under due to bad management, and I thank God I’m working with right camp, my management always drum it into my ears that anything worth doing, is worth doing well. I want to do music that people can relate to in the next 20 years and feel it’s brand new.
What’s your take on many new music that lacks messages that now filled the airwaves?
Well, I believed many artistes are all about “blowing up” now now and they don’t care whether their songs have messages or not. Even if you are singing a party or club song, there are ways you put your lyrics together and people can picture what you are saying and relate with it. The bottom line is that, many artistes are lazy and they limit themselves to Nigerian songs, and this is why you see most of the songs sounding alike. What works for A may not work for B. Artistes need to explore and research every time; and thank God for the internet. There’s nothing you want to know about the music artistry or business that you can dig up online. Information is key in this business. Most artistes don’t even understand why they are doing music or what they want but they only just want their faces on TV and “blow” which is rather unfortunate.
Many young artistes have made it and lost. What are your plans to avoid you going the same route?
You are quite right on that, but I believed many young acts are now wise and know there is nothing like investing in the future. The more reasons you need to work with a record label or management company that knows their onions and that give you lead, advice and direction. I planned to start investing certain percentage of my earnings as soon as the pay starts rolling in. And like I said earlier, the more reason why artistes need to write songs with meaning and depth. You can do a song now and you get paid some 5 years or more after. A company can pick it up for a commercial, or they use it to score a movie and things like that. The opportunity is endless.
What’s the passion that drives you?
First of all it’s God and the fact that what I have is a talent given to me by God and it is meant to be an instrument to touch lives. So I don’t see myself doing anything else besides music and I am ready to go all the way, giving all that it requires to touch lives with my music. I am also passionately driven by reaching people and affecting them positively. Also with the philosophy that life is not a bed of roses and tears of thorns; it’s simply a mixture of the good, bad and ugly. You can’t eat your cake and have it.
What are you currently working on?
What I called my summer banger? “Lu Badi”, it is a song with loads of fun plus a dance track and I’m putting my Hypertek guy Dammy Krane on this one alongside my long time pal, Didi. My record label MAGiKAL Entertainment is currently working on the strategy of the promotion of the audio and the video across all platforms. Though, I’m working on various new materials and should be dropping my mixtape to be hosted by DJ Jimmy Jatt (that’s exclusive, lol) soon.
Your advice for budding artistes.
They need to discover their real talent and be themselves and not wanting to be like someone else. Work hard, pray and don’t joke with research. Knowledge is power and one needs to be equipped with the necessary information. Above all, humility is key, it sure open doors.