Hi KaniBeatz, thank you for sitting down with us today! What have you been up to recently?
I have been working to complete my first EP, which is due to be released early next year. I have many more collaborations in store and cannot wait for you all to hear them.
You’re latest single ‘Mr Man’ is being released on 17th October. What was the initial concept behind the song?
To make an up-tempo Nigerian Banger. However, the song grew into much more than that, with themes of female empowerment laced throughout.
On the single you collaborate with Nigerian stars Teni and Joeboy. How did you get together with these artists and what was the process of making the track like?
I started the beat for Mr. Man towards the ending of January this year. I however didn’t complete it at the time and left it as just a skeleton, thinking nothing more of it.
Probably a month later, I was just going through unfinished beats and for some reason I decided to send a few to a close friend. Out of all the beats I sent him, this one instantly stood out and he urged me to finish it saying “this could be great for someone like Teni”.
Therefore, with Teni in mind, I was able to add more layers to the beat. We realised she was having a UK tour towards the end of February so we reached out to management to get a studio session. She heard the beat, loved it and within 20 minutes we had the first rendition of Mr. Man.
Once completed, it was obvious the song needed a video. So, I flew to Nigeria in the summer to shoot it. Upon arriving, I played the song to a producer called RymeBamz who I frequently collaborate with. He heard it and helped add the finishing touches to the song, giving it an extra edge. It was now evident we need a male vocalist to complement Teni’s offering. JoeBoy was the first and only person that came to mind. We therefore reached out to his team, sent him the track and the rest is history.
You split your time between London and Lagos. How does the music scene in Nigeria differ to the London scene?
Good question. I’ve been flying between the two for the past 7 years. Obviously, there are many different scenes in the UK – from pop to grime, drill to rock – the list goes on. There has however been a distinct Afro beats inspired scene growing in prominence. Over the years however, I have observed the Afro beats influenced music scene in the UK and Nigerian Afro beats music converge more and more, to a point to where there is now little to no distinction. Almost as if the UK “Afro-wave” scene is just a mere extension of the Nigerian Afro Beats scene.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Burna Boy – His latest album brings to light many issues on society and talks about social development. This is a topic close to my heart. I actually studied sustainability and social development to Master’s degree level and also have experience working in the UN. I would love to collaborate on a project and see what we come up with.
You set up a foundation in aid of disadvantaged women. Can you tell us a bit more about your work with the foundation, and how this influences your musical endeavours?
I spent a large proportion of my childhood living in Cote D’Ivoire. In 2002, a civil war broke out, which caused my family and I to be evacuated out of the country. 15 years later, I decided to write my Master’s thesis on the affects that the civil war has on Education – I also took this as an excuse to visit a place that I remembered so fondly as child.
Upon arriving, I realised that the group affected most by the civil war in terms of education were women.
I met with many women’s groups and had the opportunity of hearing very heartfelt stories from women affected by the civil war, who due to this were unable to begin, let alone finish their education. I therefore saw it imperative to create a literacy centre which aims to give basic education of women past school going age, giving them a second opportunity to gain these skills.
These issues are very close to my heart and I try to instil these values in all my music.
As a result of this, all the music I make aims to be tasteful and respectful towards women and this can be observed in both the content and the accompanying visuals.
What is one thing about you that people wouldn’t expect?
I actually began my music career as a house/electronic music producer.
What’s next for KaniBeatz?
EP coming soon, featuring a number of prominent artists from both the UK and Nigeria.