Interview

Interview: Peruzzi Is Taking His Time

We talk to the DMW artist about striking a balance between being one of the most trusted afrobeats songwriters while maintaining his career as an artist — and his latest album Rum & Boogie.

When Peruzzi, born Tobechukwu Okoh, abruptly left medical school in Ukraine, he knew he wanted to become a star in Nigeria. "I left medical school in my fifth year after my passport got stolen. I just felt like it was time to do the music thing properly," Peruzzi shares when we meet at his Lagos home.

After shuffling between Lagos and Abuja, and record deals that failed to provide him with the necessary publicity to kickstart his music career, Peruzzi spent the next couple of years not listening to Nigerian music in order to hone his own songwriting abilities. In 2017, Peruzzi finally got his limelight moment with the Davido-assisted remix of his single "For Your Pocket." In 2018, a few months after collaborating with the afrobeats superstar, Peruzzi was unveiled as a signee under Davido's label imprint, DMW, with the spirited posse-cut "Mind," which featured label mates Mayorkun and Dremo.

Although Peruzzi suffered a false start under DMW with his debut single "Mata," the Imo State singer notched numerous songwriting credits on genre-shaping records such as 2Face's "Amaka," Davido's "FIA," Larry Gaaga's "Doe" and Ecool's "Ada" in 2018. Later that year, Peruzzi's solo moment as an artist came with his single "Majesty," a celebratory R&B record that propelled Peruzzi's career to unprecedented heights.

Three years later, Peruzzi has proven to be a noteworthy name within the Nigerian music industry and beyond, entrancing fans with his arresting melodies and enviable wordplay, and accruing songwriting and artist credits on culture-defining albums such as Davido's A Better Time, Tiwa Savage's Celia and Olamide's Carpe Diem. With two EPs and an album in his catalogue, Peruzzi's latest offering is a 20-track double-sided album titled Rum & Boogie.

While his medical aspirations may be fast fading, Peruzzi's pen is sharper than ever as he presents fresh cuts of Afro-RnB and Afropop on his long-awaited sophomore album.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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