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UP CLOSE WITH DJ NEPTUNE

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Award winning international disc jockey and producer DJ Neptune’s single ‘Nobody’ sparked a viral global takeover across all online platforms with 40 million streams and counting. Neptune teamed up with emPawa’s Mr Eazi and Joeboy to give us this hit single, which is the next single off Neptune’s yet to be released project titled The Greatness II [Sounds of Neptune]. 

We had the pleasure to get Up Close and personal with Neptune where he talks culture vultures, DJ’in during quarantine and the status of the African music culture.

Talk us through the creative process for Nobody and collaborating with Mr Eazi and Joeboy?
Firstly shout out to my producer Magic Sticks he came up with the beat, he sent it to me on a cold chill evening, I was home he hit me up and was like “hey boss I sent you some beats I want you to listen to”, so I  get into my studio and download the 4 beats he sent. Nobody was the first beat I played, I listened to it halfway through it caught my interest I then listened to the other beats but Nobody was still ringing in my head so I came back to the beat and played it from the beginning to the end on repeat for 20-30 minutes non stop on my studio speakers, while listening I was thinking in my head what artists to feature on the song and who to work with. Joeboy immediately came to mind, I called him up “Joeboy I  got this lovely beat I want you to listen to I think you will you will love it”, I shared via whats app that same evening. I woke up the next morning with a message from Joeboy saying big bro check your email, I listened to the track and it was a banger, straight away I messaged Mr Eazi, he said if his not on the track we will fight he was somewhere in Europe when I sent him the record, within one week he sent his verse and we had Nobody the audio.

What’s the story behind the video?
We recruited TG Omori, we actually sent to a few directors but TG came up with a very interesting storyboard that we liked and went with. Prior to that we were discussing possible locations in Senegal and Sierra Leone but taking logistics into consideration it made sense to shoot here. The video was shot in January – shoutout to TG Omori he did an amazing job!

Nobody took the world by storm, was there a heavy budget to push the song?
I’ll be honest with you for Nobody there was no budget spent, everything that happened with the song was divine. No doubt it’s  a good song from when I was sent the beat I actually tweeted that I am working on my next single and it’s going to be a smash hit. I already had that feeling that people will love Nobody but had no idea it was going to blow up. The truth is the timing was perfect right before lockdown as it was released on 6th march. We had no idea that the world was about to go into lockdown but I guess it was a divine connection. I was able to do a full week of radio rounds and club activations just before the lockdown came into effect. The first week Nobody had already done a million views on youtube and over million streams on audiomack. 
We are currently on 13 million views on youtube and 40 million streams across all music platforms. 
Nobody blew up more on Triller as well as TikTok, I was not paying attention at first but on Triller it was huge right now we have over 6 million views on Triller videos to the point that 4 weeks ago the CEO of Triller stated in and article “That Nobody is by far the biggest Afrobeats record that made an impact on the app on a global scale.”

What is one experience in life that, without it, DJ Neptune wouldn’t be the DJ you are today?
It’s been crazy as while I started this whole journey into becoming an entertainer and DJ people around me did not understand what I was doing they thought I was crazy and I remember leaving my comfort zone for two years. It was not easy but I told myself “you can not afford to fail” with that at the back of my mind, that I must succeed and then convert my success story to an inspiring one not just for me but to other young aspiring teenagers out there who want to do what they love but their folks or friends around them do not understand their vision. I am forever grateful I took that bold step, if I did not do that there would not be a DJ Neptune that everybody loves and is celebrating right now.

You have a deep love for putting on new artists, who is Runda?
 So what happened with that is I’m currently working on my next project which is done but I am still recording – so I tweeted a few weeks ago that I needed song writers I put my email address saying if you are a good songwriter let’s talk. I received over 800 emails. It was so crazy, I couldn’t go through everything. When looking through I came across Runda’s email he actually did not send anything about songwriting he sent a song and was just so confidence “ DJ Neptune I need you to listen to this song I am a young artist you will love it” I hit download and heard the song and was blown away with his talent. I responded to his email to send me more stuff and told him I want to work with him, so there is going to be a collaboration with him. It’s his track we have already recorded. We were in the studio together last night, amazing track produced again by Magic Sticks. We are also talking to TG Omori  for a video so that will be dropping soon. I have been blessed to come this far so I should be able to extend the blessings to the younger ones, this is my way of giving back to society. I am very positive he is going to blow up.

How is performing live and producing in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally?
It’s always a good feeling to perform to the audience. There’s that sense of achievement when you’re performing and people are vibing, loving what you’re doing. Shout out to everyone that came out to support me for my debut concert SOUNDS OF NEPTUNE it was amazing, it was dope performing alongside artists like Teni, Mayorkun, Tiwa Savage, Skibii, Peruzzi and a lot of guys. I was surprised by the way my colleagues came out to support me including the DJ’s as well Jimmy Jatt, Big N, a lot of DJ’s. Everybody came and we were all together in one space at Muri Okunola park. Shout out to everyone who attended, and to you as well Stefi K cos I mean you also worked with me on that day to make things smooth. It was not easy considering it was my first concert but it was a huge success.

You always have the dopest drip, who styles you?
So I have a personal shopper who I work with and a couple of stylist. For me I’m not really big on designer clothes as long as it’s dope and fits well and I’m comfortable those are the things I look out for but shout out to everyone that has styled me from Eko Moses, Maban to my personal shopper as well.


Music from the Continent is receiving world wide recognition, what would you say changed the game?
Afrobeats is the next big genre of music for attention of people across different parts of the continent. There’s a big eye on what we do in this part of the world, the sound is fresh from instruments to the artists, producers, engineers and directors, everybody putting in work. I feel that it’s our time and I’m happy with what is happening; before the pandemic our guys are already doing festivals and have their own shows in different parts of the world selling out and making good money for themselves. As an African DJ this is the next level, we are getting to the stage where promoters will start looking into our markets. It is a good feeling, things are changing, shout out to everyone putting in work with the help of social media, streaming platforms like Apple Music who recently launched Africa Now in more African countries shout out DJ Cuppy bringing the spotlight onto us. We may not have proper structure but we have the numbers now it is about converting the numbers to revenue which is already happening. We are putting in the work for the next generation. This is the time for us to have one voice. The western world wants to come into the market to take advantage and create the mentality of this person is competing against you.
With Nobody I have so many offers to re-license the song all over the world. Myself and the team have single handedly taken Nobody to this level so they would have to come with an amazing offer before I even give that a thought they want to reap from where they did not sow.

How are you coping during the Quarantine, what advice can you give to others on how you stay positive and active?
It’s not making sense at all but it is what it is. We need to stay safe, lockdown is eased off with curfew but the economy is still suffering as entertainers are bearing the cost.
I love to perform its not even about the money, with the success of Nobody I can’t even imagine the places I would have been to perform I would probably be on world tour right now, but it is what it is we need to keep safe and play our part while the government is fighting this covid-19 battle. Hopefully very soon life can go back to normal.
Doing online live parties is what the world is adapting to now the only constant thing in life is change. So you need to be ready when people are moving at a different pace, I have  performed live for a couple of brands and platforms.
We have to stay positive and stay strong for ourselves, keep working, and keep being innovative. There are so many avenues, before now these platforms have been there but we have never taken advantage of live performances, events etc.
So this is an eye opener to a lot of us, after the pandemic this will be better.
Capitalise on all these  platforms utilise it positively and see how you can benefit from it, it’s not easy but we all have to stay strong together.

What are you looking forward to most post isolation?
I would like to travel to an island to meditate by myself, just to get away for a week just to refresh.

Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Two artist I recommend would be Omah Lay and T Classic, check them out on IG:
Omah Lay: https://instagram.com/omah_lay?igshid=1a5evs3qwcftl
T Classic: https://instagram.com/tclassic_mne?igshid=1jvjwwsglxn0g

What is next for DJ Neptune? What do you want your supporters to know about you?
I am working on my next project which should be out sometime in September. I am also working on a remix EP for nobody so remixes from different parts of the world which is planned to be out in August and apart from that  just working on music while we wait out the whole pandemic.

Download & Stream Here: https://empawaafrica.lnk.to/Nobody

 

 

Interviews

In Conversation with Mamy Dope

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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.

Follow Mamy Dope: IG | Twitter | YouTube

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Interviews

First Times with Shay La Rose

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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

Follow Shay YouTube | Instagram  | Twitter  | TikTok | Facebook

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Interviews

In Conversation with Olakira

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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
Wasiu Ayinde
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.

 

Follow Olakira
Instagram | Twitter | YouTube 

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