Lojay Crafts the Soundtrack For the 'Romantic Gangster'
Lojay has taken his claim as one of the new Nigerian artists with the potential to become a superstar. We talk to him about the success of his early projects and his new EP.
After the massive success of his debut EP, LV N ATTN, and the ‘Afro-sexy’ cocktail of well-served hits like "Monalisa" and "Tonongo," Lojay took his claim as one of the new generation artists with the potential to become a superstar. It's a vision he capped off with the highly-successful release of "Monalisa" remix featuring Chris Brown, taking his music to a more global audience currently clamoring for Afrobeats.
Lojay’s music is a captivating mash-up of different genres blended together by his brilliant penmanship—a skill you wouldn't expect from an Afrobeats artist but one he’s eager to show off.
After taking a break to tour his last project—performing around the world’s biggest stages and festivals and working with the biggest names including Wizkid, Ayra Starr, DJ Neptune, Show Dem Camp, and Zlatan amongst others—Lojay is back with a new project, Romantic Gangster.
He’s been teasing fans with singles from the project since last September, including "Canada," a collaboration with Amapiano heavyweights Maphorisa and Kabza De Small, and "Leader." Finally, the new project is here.
We talked to Lojay about life after the success of his debut EP, the songwriting process, and his new Romantic Gangster EP.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Following your last project, you had a successful run and became one of the most watched artists of your generation, how does that feel and what experiences have stood out?
For the most part, I’d say I’m still chasing my dreams, but it has been an amazing journey. The love and attention have just been crazy, moving from place to place, it’s been really great. I’ve enjoyed performing at shows and in places that I didn’t expect. I've met people I never could have imagined meeting. I didn’t meet him personally but talking to Paul Pogbawas crazy. Performing at the O2 arena was memorable, Afro Dubai was memorable. There’s been a lot.
What was the direction you took towards the making of Romantic Gangster?
Romantic Gangster is just an expression of everything that I experienced last year. It's very personal to me, that’s why there aren't a lot of features. It's very intimate and focused a lot on my experience, my vulnerability, and how I really feel, so it was kind of hard to let people into that world. I’d also say it’s kind of an anti-romantic project because that’s really what I’ve been through.
Being an artist, you more or less just express what is going on in the world and in your life, and that's basically what I did in this project. I made sure I poured myself into and gave my fans something to connect to.
One of the things that has stood out in your career so far is your lyricism, regardless of the song genre your pen game is always strong. How did that side of you grow?
I’ve always been particular about writing since I started making music. I went as far as taking online classes just to develop my writing skills, so a lot of effort has gone into it. A big part of it has also come naturally, it has always been easy for me to put words together, I never had to stress. I think it’s because I have a hip-hop background, I used to rap. So putting words together has always been kind of easy.
You did a remix to your hit song "Monalisa" with Chris Brown and that’s gone on to be your most streamed song on Spotify, how did that come together?
That was the whole point of the remix, it was to find a way for the song to connect to a more global audience and it did that. It was important to have someone on the song that could reach out to more people. Chris Brown was a no-brainer and we also knew he was going to do really well on the song so it just turned out well.
I actually didn’t meet him till Wireless Festival, but getting in touch with him before then was through Davido. David and I were in London together and he just took me to Chris Brown's hotel room, and we just spoke briefly, then we saw each other properly at Wireless.
What would you say is the best song you’ve put out so far?