Interview

Interview: Bella Shmurda's Rise to Fame Is What Dreams Are Made Of

Over the last few years, Bella Shmurda has grown to mainstream stardom with his hard-hitting hits that touch on Nigerian struggles, coming from the streets and navigating his newfound fame & wealth.

Creating music that reflects authentic realities through raw narratives is carved in the DNA of the very best performers. Artists like Fela, Burna Boy, Sound Sultan, MI attained commercial success by representing Nigerians' quotidian struggles in their lyrics. Following suit is Bella Shmurda who sings about his growth from the streets and experiencing newfound fame and wealth from that lens."Everyday life inspires my music, what people face, what I see, the day-to-day activities that inspire me," he mentions to OkayAfrica.

Bella Shmurda razzled the music scene in 2020 with his High Tension EP, putting his unique spin on the familiar street-hop bounce popularized by artists like Zlatan. He subsequently released a freestyle track "Vision 2020" with Olamide, it highlighted the government inefficiencies and young people's plight of dreaming big and trying to make it out of a system set up to keep them oppressed.

Since then, Bella has been on an amazing run, releasing one of the biggest songs of 2020 "CashApp," where he sang about the effect cyber criminals have on Nigerian pop culture. His hitmaker status catapulted him to features on the albums of afrobeats heavyweights Davido and Olamide.

Bella Shmurda began 2021 with a bang, releasing another hit "Rush" which spent several weeks at the top of Nigerian charts. "Rush" chronicles Bella's current star status and how he focuses on his path amidst negative media representation. He was also nominated for the Next Rated Award at the Headies Awards (Nigeria's apex music award show).

We spoke to Bella about growing up, the impact his mum had on his music, and his debut album Hyper-Tension. "I'm writing more, I'm thinking more, I'm facing more and this is making my music and lyrics evolve. You can't expect the old me, I'm evolving," he says.

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