We caught up with independent singer-songwriter, Shay La Rose for this week’s First Time!
The South Londoner shares her first life experiences growing up and being in the music scene.
First time I realised I wanted to be a musician, was when I went to the Destiny Fufilled tour by Destiny’s child. I was watching the women in awe and I said yes! This is what I want to do. It was an amazing show, I was blown away by their dancing, singing, style everything! I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do!
First time I had a Diva moment, I don’t really have a diva moment but when I’m on set or on stage, I can be a bit ‘diva-ish’ because I want everything to be perfect, so I’m in tunnel vision, being focused.
First time I realised I was good or let’s say believed in myself, I auditioned for a label. I queued outside for ages and ages, there was so many different talented artist and I got through! I did not expect it and when they said I was really good, I was like yeah, this is it! They listened to me perform a song a wrote by myself invited me back to record, it was a great moment.
First time I got star struck, Well, I tell this story all the time, some people believe me, some people don’t lol. It is what it is, and it is the truth. It was Kanye West! In Carnaby street and I couldn’t believe it. I walked up to him, he was walking towards me and I said Kanye! And he said “what’s up baby girl” I was like huh? And I ran back to get an autograph lol. I also met David Beckham in New York he was so fine a very sexy man. I asked for a photograph, but he said no because he didn’t want anybody to know he was there lol.
First time I went viral, was last year where I did a video about nobody being above blocking. I really meant it from my heart and I think everyone could relate. It was posted everywhere! Nobody is above blocking. Because if you stress me, block! If you give me attitude, Block!
First time I fell in love, Um… do we need to talk about it lol?
The first time I thought I fell In love was college, but I now know that it wasn’t love lol.
I think it was 3-4 years ago, but that was real stupid love. but it’s good to fall out of love I guess.
First time I performed in front of a live audience, was assemblies and talent shows in school. I made sure that all my friends came up on stage and danced with me!
Check out Shay La Rose latest hit ‘She Bad’ produced by Mikes Pro Listen Here
In Conversation with Mamy Dope
Following his latest release “Misfits” Mamy Dope continues to bring flow, versatility and word play to the game, we caught up with South London-born, Sierra Leonian rapper Mamy Dope.
Born Alahji Wurie, the UK rapper specialises in rap, afro swing and trap music and his know for his unique sound and distinctive hooks. Check out our chat as we get to know Mamy Dope.
SK: Who is Mamy Dope?
MD: I am a young unique rapper from South London with an African heritage (Sierra Leone).
From jumpy music to smooth vibes, my music brings vibrant energy to everything I release.
I am all about distinctive hooks and catchy flows, which will have you wanting to get up and bop to my bangers.
SK: If you could explain your music in 3 words, what would they be?
MD: My music in 3 words…I would say it’s Eclectic, Vibes and I guess Dope.
SK: How did you get started as a Grime artist?
MD: As a kid, I grew up with my older cousin and I was always around his friends. They were all into music, so I would always follow them to studio sessions and watch them perform on stage. I would always observe how they would write lyrics, produce beats and imitate their flow.
I have also lost a lot of friends along the way, so the best way for me to grieve is to put it in my music. This drove me to record and release music. I write from my heart and you will hear my experiences in my lyrics. It’s something you hear in Misfits.
SK: What inspired your track Misfits?
MD: I may or may not have been called a misfit growing up lol. I also used to watch the show Misfits, I personally felt like I could Identify with some of the characters and the show itself. The theme of community support, societal struggle and also sometimes feeling like an outcast (MisFit) is something I can relate to. I wanted to make sure I captured that in my video, with the orange outfits and also filming at the same place where the show itself was filmed.
SK: Does the area or place you come from influence how you make your music?
MD: Growing up in south London, grime music is part of the culture so it is easier to get involved with music. And now the rise or rappers and drill artists and even producers hail from south. Everywhere you look is an inspiration musically and I too, want to inspire people with my music.
SK: How do you feel social media has impacted your music and reach?
MD: Social media has made it easier to reach people and connect with fans and other musicians. I’m not reeallllyyy a social media person, but I know it’s the key to building a community. I do however, have a large following on snapchat so seeing loads of people respond to my stories and repost gives me confidence. I need to tackle Instagram now lol
SK: UK Artists Grime/Drill/Hip Hop are currently on your playlist?
MD: Currently, my favorite artists from the UK are Fredo, Ms Banks, Nines, Digga D, MizorMac, Tion Wayne & Headie One.
SK: What future projects and (or) collaborations are you currently working on?
MD: I am currently working on more singles to be released this year. Fingers crossed an EP next year. As for features, Double S, Omo Frenchie, GB and Mista Silva have blessed some riddims so Im looking forward for that and I hope everyone will be impressed.
In Conversation with Olakira
Following the release of ‘4play’ we caught up with ‘Headies Rookie of the Year’ Olakira who took us through his latest EP and life as a musician.
Talk us through the 4Play EP.
4PlayEP is a project with four major tracks and two bonus. It’s intended to arouse my FANMILY and music lovers prior to the main event (my debut Album). The inspirations for the songs came from my travels within Africa during the lockdown, my experience with different cultures and their sounds birth the EP.
What do you feel is the best song from the EP and why?
Honestly, I love all the songs on the EP and each song appeals to me differently at different times depending on my mood and location, But “Gotchu” is personal because it’s the story of my first real heartbreak.
What drew you to the music industry?
My elder brother drew me into the industry, he initiated the journey into music when I was a little child, with basic lessons.
Then a lot of practice and experience with the local church band cemented my love for music. I evolved from playing different instruments in the church band, to choir boy and with conscious effort towards development I mastered the crafts of a true musician and the skill to produce my own music.
What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome to gain any commercial success?
The finances to promote creative contents.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Nigerian music industry?
The talent and drive is abundant in the industry, but I think the industry lacks proper structures, the government and all stakeholders need to create a mechanism that will see artistes benefit from their creative content.
Also, good quality contents must be encouraged and compensated. We must stop unhelpful hype, that will mess with our creativity. Lastly, the hostility towards independent upcoming acts in the country should stop, everyone deserves fair and equal platforms without prejudice.
How do you separate yourself from other artist?
I don’t, I think we we are all the same in many aspects.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with next?
I am currently working on a new project and I hope to work with some of the amazing talents I have always admired; Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber are top on my list.
What makes your music unique?
My sound is Afropop infused with a feel of RnB and dancehall.
What is the importance of the connections you make? How do you utilise them?
No tree makes a forest they say, I constantly connect with my colleagues in the industry, producers and artistes alike, to work together and make magic. Connecting and rubbing minds helps in mutual development, I get to learn from them and likewise they learn from me.
Can you give us 5 tracks on your playlist right now?
Summer Time – Olakira ft Moonchild Sanelly
Essence – Wizkid ft Tems
King Sunny Ade
Hot Night – Olakira
Tell us one thing your fans may not know about you?
I’m a shy and private person.
What do you have in store for your fans in the upcoming months?
Pan African media tour, Middle-East linkup, Nigerian club tour, releasing more visuals to some of the songs on the 4PlayEP soon. And I have started working on my debut album.
In Conversation with Bella Shmurda
We sat down with Nigerian YouTube Foundry artists Bella Shmurda and deep dived into his musical journey, his love for London and his sophomore EP High Tension 2.0.
Cash App is my favorite song to date, you killed it. Did you know it would be as big of a hit as it is now?
Within Nigeria I believed it was going to be big.
I sing about things that happen in my environment, I sing about the nature of life that’s Bellah Shmurda. There were things happening around me ‘Cash App’ and all of that, so I came up with the song; I struggled to write the song it was so crazy I had to put on Zlatan and my guy from the hood Lincoln to spice things up.
When did you decide to pursue music, what happened that made you think “yeah, let me take this music stuff seriously”
School has not always been my strongest point, when I was studying 400 level at Lagos State University I decided to take my music further. When my mum started listening to my music she would always vibe, seeing her jamming to my music with no complaints gave me the confidence to know I could do music freely.
As an independent artist what is your stance on record labels and deals?
From this part of the world Nigeria, it is not easy to just be independent, we are not OBO so we cannot just come from anywhere. You have to be the CEO the janitor, the driver, the video director. But all thanks to God, I have been able to combine all of this together to work for me. Being independent is so serious you must know where you are going, there is no time to lose focus, you must be strong for yourself as people come and go, money comes and go but the most important thing to remember is to stay FOCUSED.
Now you are growing in the industry how are your friendships and relationships – Have you found it difficult to keep the same group of friends you have, or has it been a case of “you know what I don’t think I can hang with you guys anymore”
I did have to leave some friends behind and I have started making new friends. The thing about music is you must evolve, as time goes on you must move with the time. Music is timeless so you have to make the use of all the time you have. If you meet me new people that you feel are connected to your vibe, connected to what you want then you have to connect with them. There are some people you cannot just connect with. The most important thing is to know who is who, what to do and whom to surround yourself with.
You are quite a private person our audience want to know what is Bella love life love like who is on Bella Shmurda’s radar?
I am a young boy and as I mentioned still in my 400 level. I am still working on myself before I can have a love life, I have to get my own love life personally. The love thing also comes with good life, you cannot just get a woman when you do not even have good life. To get a good woman you need a good life!
How do you feel the Nigerian music industry is now in terms of streaming, radio play etc?
Right now, Nigerian music is one of the best in the world, Afrobeats has taken over, shout out to the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Olamide and people who have been here that struggled for Afrobeats to be accepted. I am personally here for Afrobeats to continue.
You cannot compare Nigerian music to any other music in the world. It is very different…… totally different. You have international companies coming to Nigeria to sign our artists and that is the ultimate goal. For them to believe in us shows we are strong enough.
We are popping! We are the new Michael Jackson!
HIGH TENSION 2.0 break it down to us?
This is one of my favourite projects ever, I put my all in to this with my team.
High Tension is striking lighting from the sky which can penetrate anything, anywhere and that is what I am. I am High Tension; I am here to tension people anybody that steps on the wire will feel the shock. Listen to High Tension it is a new dimension of Bella Shmurda, a new vibe from Africa.
What are your plans for your fans in the UK?
Shoutout to London, I have always been a fan. I am a Londoner in Nigeria!
I am not supposed to say much but I will be paying a special visit to my fans and giving them a time to remember. I hope they will turn up for Bella Shmurda.
Which UK artists are you currently vibing to right now?
“E-E-English girl named Fiona; big batty girl named Adeola (mm-mm) “- I love that song!
Kida Kudz also that is my guy I love Kida Kudzu
Would you ever relocate to London?
Evolving you have to go everywhere, leave your comfort zone.
To leave Nigeria and go to London will really help my music and develop me further as an artist. So many Nigeria artists have been to UK and have done well, for me to get better I must experience and explore new territories. LONDON is home, you guys will see me soon!
Stream High Tension Here
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