Nigeria’s entertainment industry is making an impact on the global scene while Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry is paving the way, the Nigerian music scene is hot on its tail. One of the artists making the Nigerian scene really hot at the moment, is the soulful talent that is Emmanuel Bezhiwa Idakula, also know as Bez. Making history as the first Nigerian artist to have his single ‘That Stupid Song” premiere on the renowned BET 106 & Park, Bez is becoming a claim as one of Nigeria’s premier artists. Our Interviewer Semper Azeez-Harris got a chance to sit down with Bez, taking a look into how his musical career began.
Okayafrica: How has the Nigerian music scene changed in your lifetime? Is it something that you always wanted to be apart of?
Bez: First of all, the entertainment scene or the music scene is really growing in Nigeria now-people will copy what they hear out there and it is a global world we live in now so music will always be influenced. Back in the day, we had High-Life and Afro Beats. When you heard it, you immediately knew that it was Nigerian music but right now people are mixing all types of music and I think it works and that’s what makes it interesting. The music scene in Nigeria is growing but we do not have our own sound at the moment; we have music that we are creating that can be sent across the world. On second thought, I actually wanted to be a pilot and then I wanted to be like an IT specialist and so I studied communications technology in college but in college I did some soul searching to find out what I was really meant to do in this life because I am spiritual as well.
OKA: Was your up-bringing very musical orientated?
Bez: I grew up in a place called Jos, that was this musical place where people would hone their skills to be really great rather than any commercial gain. So growing up in a place like that it was really competitive so I learnt to play the guitar when I was nine and I have just kept on playing until now.
OKA: Some people try to compare you and your music to Darey, another hugely talented Nigerian artist but I would say you are quite different.
Bez: You are right that my music is distinct from Darey’s- I would categorise my music as alternative soul. I always tell people that when you put the word alternative in front of soul then you have the opportunity to make the sound eclectic and be experimental, you can put in some Afro-beats, you can put in some jazz, soul, RnB– I create my own music.
OKA: So your album Super Sun is fantastic- give us a little background on the name and the overall idea you wanted to convey?
Bez: For Super Sun, I tended to be more direct. A lot of people want to be superstars but people do not know what it takes or the amount of responsibility you have. So I thought about it, I thought instead of being a superstar why don’t we focus on what is a star and the brightest star is the sun and it is so important –it gives life and it gives energy and even at night it is so powerful that its light is reflected in the moon to the world. I just thought about it that way, I want to be a super sun, the number 1 artist in the world.
OKA: Lastly is Nigeria on the cusp of great success?
Bez: A seed has to die and rot before it can grow-that is why Nigeria is so powerful because we have growth coming through- this is the right time to be in Nigeria!