Music in this present generation has always been seen as an art which a lot of people pursue, but few get developed and reach their full potential. Artists try to leave a mark on their generation, and with the evolution of Afrobeats, it appears to be quite a thumping task to break into the music market.
How did you start music?
I started music for fun at an early age, about when I was 13/14 years old. Back then I was just drawn to rap music, because I listened to a lot of artists like Eminem and Lil Wayne and it inspired me to rap. Back in high school, I started off from rapping to beats being drummed on tables by my friends.
You must have had a couple of friends then with the same love for music.
Yes I did, and I started my own rap group, which was when we finally hit the studio for the first time. We kept dropping songs from SS1 to SS3, then after graduation we split our separate ways as artists. That was 2016, and that was the beginning of my official career as an artiste.
How has it been creating your own fanbase?
It takes years to gather a fanbase of core listeners of your music, especially as a rapper. You need to consistently give them top notch content, to retain their attention because the competition out there is crazy. If you don’t entertain them, someone else will.
I also try to set myself aside from other artists with the way I brand myself. Branding is very essential to any artiste because that’s your identity. I make Hip hop music and my brand represents the next gen. So I already know my target audience from the brand I’m selling. It’s all part of marketing.
What influences your creative process?
I draw inspiration from my life experiences, thereby telling my life stories in my music. From celebrating my wins to heartbreaks to tough times, I channel everything I experience in life into my music.
Also other artists and their works influence me, such as J Cole, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, Travis Scott and a couple of others.
Has the lockdown had any impact on your music making?
This lockdown has been a great break from reality to get me in my creative space, I’ve grown so much in my song writing and production skills. All I can say is thank God for growth, but I also pray the virus goes away soon, it’s saddening reading the news and hearing people are dying due to it.
How difficult has it been breaking into the current market?
For a newbie in the industry, even if you are extremely talented, if you don’t have the funds or the connects, your blow up is not going to be an easy ride. You’d have to organically grow a fanbase and set up your team and grind till you get any recognition.
Fortunately, social media is helping the new generation of artists connect with more people everyday and spread their music even across borders. It’s definitely hard as an indie artist but I believe hardwork and consistency can not be ignored, no matter how long it takes.
Apart from being an artist, is there any other thing you got your hands on?
I just recently took up production, cause nobody can actually understand you better than you, so I should be producing my songs and for other artists soon enough. A lot of the greatest artists are also producers, Kanye West, Dr Dre, Russ, Jay-Z and more. So as an artist it’s important to keep developing your skills, so I’m making plans on that side too for the future, all while studying Law in the University.
Who’s your favourite producer to work with and what do you do to get in the mood?
My favourite producer is Kronik. He has contributed so much to my career and I’m truly grateful to have met him, he’s a real one.
I don’t really need to do anything to get in the mood, once I’m in the studio it’s all vibes. Like I always say, “the studio is my habitat.”
Who are the Artists you’ve worked with and others you’d like to work with?
I’ve worked with Brainee, JoulesDaKid, Tsuni, Lectrik, Ebi D, Nakie 4k and a lot of other artists actually. I love collaborating, it’s amazing how you can merge your energy with another creative and make something special.
I’d love to work with Ladipoe, PrettyboyDO, Falz, Rema and Oxlade to name a few. Internationally, it would be a dream to work with Drake, 21 Savage, J Cole and the likes.
How hard is it collaborating with the top boys?
I’m yet to collaborate with any A-list artist, it’s either you run that check or grace just connects you to them (laughs). It’s all crazy out there, but, either way, if you’re an upcoming indie artist with very limited resources, you can only pray to meet them at the top.
Who are the young artists you think we should look out for?
You should check out my gang, Ebi D, Timmss Obey and Nakeltbg. Then I also know amazing artists like Tsuni, Lectrik, Bliizzy and Nakie 4k etc.
What has been your most difficult moment since you started your career?
The game has really taught me hard lessons, especially as a rapper in Nigeria. There’s this mainstream pressure on you that doesn’t give enough room for your kind of music. I’ve had Djs reject my songs cus they can’t spin rap on the dance floor, I’ve been told by OAPs that Hip Hop can’t sell in Nigeria. With Afrobeat being the main thing right now, Hip Hop has been playing second fiddle in the industry for a while.
However, with the rise of streaming platforms, Hip Hop artists are now getting more attention than before and I believe with time and consistency, I will take Nigerian Hip Hop to the world.
What was the creative process behind your debut EP, ‘Millennium Boy’?
The idea of releasing a mixtape came, once I saw the need to make a proper debut into the industry. I didn’t want to just keep dropping singles year after year, I wanted to properly put together a body of work that would show my versatility and give any listener the full grasp of my potential.
I named it Millennium Boy because I was born in the year 2000, the beginning of a new Millennium. That’s why I channel all my energy into pushing the next generation of musicians from Nigeria and also why I worked with a number of them on the mixtape. And I must say it feels awesome knowing I have such a solid debut project. It has opened a lot of doors for my career and it has brought me many new fans and listeners of my music. I’m doing better than ever right now and the only way is up from here.
The life of a new generation artist comes with its ups and downs, but this hasn’t stopped Kaylu from believing in himself. The ability to standout in a generation where music is constantly evolving, cannot be overstated, and Kaylu is determined to build the face of Nigerian HipHop and be a major export, just like Afrobeat.
By Muyiwa Aguda
see also: Rising Stars: Kobi Wolf