Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist.

BOJ Gets Personal with ‘Gbagada Express’

The singer reflects on lockdown, Alte culture, and his present state of mind in this new interview.

From Nigeria to the UK and back,BOJ’s run in the music industry has been nothing short of noteworthy. The trio of BOJ, Teezee, and Fresh L, popularly known as DRB, are revered as pioneers of Alte culture, a widely acclaimed phenomenon in Nigeria that has marked the ascent of artists like Tems, Amaarae, and Tay Iwar. “We were just being ourselves and then we noticed it was turning into something and people are catching it,” he says.

Born Bolaji Odojukan, BOJ spent his formative years immersed in different cultures between Africa and the Western world. This would culminate in a wide range of influences as he cites Lagbaja, Toni Braxton, and Kanye West to have shaped the musician he’s become. His debut album, BOTM (BOJ on the Microphone), and affiliations with Show Dem Camp, Ajebutter, and DRB would catapult the singer as a household name in Nigerian music. His 2018 collaboration with Skepta on “Like to Party” did well to introduce him to the UK but it wasn’t until “Lazarus” alongside Dave that BOJ hits a new height in his career. “It was humbling seeing that many people sing my song word for word,” he recounts performing the song to a crowd of 80,000 people at Park Life.

Upping the ante, BOJ has now shared his third solo album, Gbagada Express, which houses high-profile collaborations with Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, and more. “Now, I’m transcending to the next stage in my life and this feels like the Alte roots to the next level,” he says about the project.

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Interview
Image courtesy of Dunnie.

Dunnie Is Blazing the Trail for Women in Afrobeats Music Production

The Sarz Academy alumni recounts her journey to becoming one of Nigeria’s most sought-after producers.

“She is not a normal person,” says Falz as Wande Coalnarrates his experience working with Dunnie ahead of his forthcoming album. In a recent interview, Wande Coal also admitted to having never worked with a female producer before Dunnie. “I have never seen a female producer that crazy,” he stressed.

Dunnie’s tenacity over the years has led her to rooms where she now creates magic with music industry elite. Born Oladunni Lawal, her interest in music dates as far back as she can remember, “I would drum on buckets in the house and break a lot of them, until my mom asked that I join the school’s band but sadly, they wanted just boys.”

Following a bout of attempts at music production after high school, Dunnie opted for songwriting and ran with it until an epiphany in 2017. “Things got harder as Buhari came to power,” she said, “I needed to survive somehow, so I quizzed myself about the things I’m good at and how to monetize them. I can play a couple musical instruments, I have a laptop - meaning I can learn to make beats and sell them.” Despite her perceived grit at the time, “it didn’t help that I did not see or know any female producers to draw inspiration from,”she mentions.

The dearth of female producers in music also extends to developed markets as only a minute percentage of records across global charts, airwaves, playlists are produced by women. Dunnie has, in the last four years, inched towards this moment where she is smashing stereotypes and championing a course for women music producers in Africa. “Producers like Saszy, Bloody Civilian, Milakeyzz are coming out in their numbers. What they need is for more people to support and trust them.”

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