Alternative soul musician Bez Idakula needs no introduction; he is an award-winning artiste whose first album Super Sun released in 2011 was rated by the Boston Globe as one of the top ten world music albums of 2011.
He is also a hall of fame artiste for MTV Iggy and his hit song ‘Stupid Song’ was the first international video to premiere on BET’s 106 and Park. The singer who is signed to Cobhams Asuguo’s record label C.A.M.P got married to his sweetheart Bolatito Ladoja, daughter of former governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja in January 2014. He is currently at work on his second album. He recently returned from a tour of Uganda where he performed at the Kigali Up Festival, The Concert for Peace and other venues. ORUKPE NELSON had a chat with him at his Ogudu GRA, Lagos base recently…enjoy reading.
You recently returned from a very eventful tour to Rwanda where you played at the Kigali Up Festival and the concert for Peace. What did this tour do for your image as a musician and entertainer?
First of all, let me start off by thanking all the fans in Rwanda who came out to all our shows in Gisenyi and Kigali. The opportunity to visit other African cities always shows you the power of the music, its ability to bring us all together. I am trying to express my art and live a dream and you never know how far that art is going. I live in Lagos and write my music here, but people in Rwanda can sing along to ‘That Stupid Song’ and ‘ZuciyaDaya’. The folks at Rwandair and Afrogroov made it happen. They were amazing hosts to us.
How was the trip from the beginning to your final day, how receptive were the people of Rwanda to you?
They were very open to the music. It was nothing short of amazing. As a country, they have been to the brink and back and you can sense the resilience amongst the people. It’s a beautiful country with amazing topography and the folks there are so laid back, sometimes it reminds me of what Jos used to be like when I was younger. Nigerian music as a whole is very popular there and my own brand of Naija music was very welcomed and celebrated.
How would you compare the music scene in Rwanda to what is obtainable here? Did you have any collaboration?
The modern music scene is burgeoning in Rwanda, they have had a long love for traditional music and musicians, now the younger folk are crafting their own brand of music infused with sounds of hip-hop and RnB. I happened to do a show with an amazing American based Rwandan singer called Iyadede, it was amazing.
You have been married for almost a year, what are your plans on marriage? Do you intend to start a family very soon?
Yeah January will make it a year, my plans on marriage, hmmmm to stay happily married. I have been blessed with an amazing wife and it’s been a joy building the foundation for what we pray will be a fulfilling life together, and one day we will be blessed with children and even grandchildren.
Your 2011 album ‘Super Sun’ is critically acclaimed worldwide. We learnt you are at work on the second album, what should we expect from Bez post Super-sun?
I have been working on the new album for over a year now, it’s been a long process, but rewarding nonetheless. The goal is to capture growth and evolution of an artiste. Most of the instrumentation on the album is live and so we have recorded here in Lagos, in New York, Houston and we went to my villages in Nassarawa and recording traditional musicians. That was so exciting for me to go home to Karu and be able to reflect some of that music in my recordings. In Houston, I worked with amazing horn players and percussionists, one of them even plays in Beyonce’s band. The style of music isn’t going to change much, a slightly more rock edge to it, but most of all, I think it will reflect a growth and also be more accessible to those who may not have heard the Super Sun album. I also co-wrote a number of songs on the upcoming album with X3m Music artiste Simi, you have probably heard her new single “Tiff” and Omolara Ayodele. Also Cobhams Asuquo is at the helm of producing the album.
When specifically will you drop your album and how would it be?
In this region, probably 2nd quarter of 2015.
The Super Sun concert took place in 2012 and was a success, do you have any plan to replicate it this year?
No plans in the works at the moments, but keep watching this space.
Do you think that marriage has slowed you down and made you look away from music for a while, taking your time on the new album?
Not at all, marriage has quickened my pace. Music to me is a calling, it’s my life’s work so I have to move really fast in this space in order for things to work out well. I have been on the road, as you know live performances are the bread and butter for any artiste. I spent this time introducing a whole new fan base to my music, establishing a base in East Africa. In November, I am scheduled to be in Spain and the U.S.; work and shows have been going on.
Is there any collaboration on your new album?
Yes, there is.
What are your plans for Bez the brand?
Very good question. The goal is to keep cranking out amazing music and growing a fan base for a brand of music that ‘they’ say is niche. I intend to focus on more music videos from this upcoming album. We do have some interest from foreign markets so we are currently following up on those requests. We intend to keep the energy high during our live performances and give the fans a show every single time. It’s called show business for a reason.