On the September 2019 edition of The Cover, we welcome alternative Afrofusion artist, Prettyboy D-O into the Accelerate studio.
From his rise as an up-and-coming SoundCloud rapper, to releasing hit after hit, with his own unique worldwide sound, we sit down to find out what makes this pretty boy, do what he D-O.
Hailing all the way from Cross River state, Donald Ofik a.k.a. Prettyboy D-O, spent most of his early years, growing up in the city of Las Gidi. D-O fell in love with music at a very early age. Writing songs when he first got into secondary school, his Pretty boy persona was originally an afrofusion of R&B, rap, dancehall and original African melodies.
After graduating from high school, he went to on to attend university in New York, USA, during which time, D-O sacrificed a lot of his (time) perfecting his signature alté sound. Skipping classes while in university, due to late night writing and recording sessions, D-O returned to his homeland in 2015, to focus his attention on his one true love; music.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your boy, the pretty boy, Prettyboy D-O, and this is my Cover. Do not change anything, jus’ watch my Cover.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF GROUNDED WITH ALL THE FAME HEADING YOUR WAY?
“How do I keep myself grounded in this industry? Uhm, I would say that I just focus on the work. Luckily for me like, I started out; professionally in this country with my music in 2015, and I still believe in having a hit song, and you know, you drop a hit song, and the song will “blow”, all that type of stuff.
But when I dropped my first single, it didn’t really do that for me. So that really opened my eyes, and made me see that, “omo bro, you gotta focus on d work oh”.
Forget outside, anything outside- good or bad- is just noise. It doesn’t matter. So I just have to stay focused on the goal, till I reach it. Like honestly, my last show in December 2018, we almost had over nine hundred people in the place- packed out!
Before the show, I was telling my management, you can ask… well okay you can’t ask, but you can ask my manager, that I was so deep into the work, that I didn’t know what was happening outside, I’m not even concerned, because tomorrow, all this fame could go. But I love this music thing so I just focus on the work; to be the best, and I know if I believe I’m the best, the rewards of that will come.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE AND HATE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN IN NIGERIA?
“What do I, what do I love and what do I hate, okay I’ll start with what I hate… what I hate, I feel like this is me talking real- from my heart. I feel like, here in Nigeria- not just with music, but in all things- we just want to see the finished product. In terms of music, even if you’re not a fan, just a normal person, you would rather see a finished product- like a guy with ten chains on his neck, driving a G-wagon.
You would say, “ah that guy is the musician”, that’s what they see, that’s what they love. They don’t support potential; they don’t support you if you are on the come up.
I mean, maybe some people do get supported, but I feel on average, most times, they don’t support you on the come up, they don’t see the potential in you. In Nigeria, we already have a stigma about the arts and entertainment.
… Well right now it has actually reduced, because so many people are trying to jump into the entertainment world, but at the time when I was starting off in 2012, we were not so many doing this music thing. Like, fam, my whole career today, is based off of when I first started music. Because all those fans; just so many people, that didn’t understand, that didn’t see my vision, they didn’t believe in the art.
So that alone, go set your confidence down; so low. Talk less of those people that don’t believe in music, but just want to see the finished product. I feel like the environment, does not allow potential to grow, in music. For you to become what you want to be in this country, I feel like you have to have a lot of will, a lot of fight.
And that’s what I love about music, because it made me realise all these things about myself. It made me become very confident in myself. It made me realise that, “yo, there ain’t nobody that can tell me who I am”, I know what my value is, and I know what my worth is, so I have to fight for that. And I will keep fighting, till the end of time.
That is what I hate about music in the country, but I love music. I have met so many new people, so many new friends, so many real people from within the country. I have met so many people, and I thank God that nowadays, there is an environment where there are more people like me; so I can be with them, be my true self with my music. I have travelled around the world with music, done things. So I would say that what I love about music, is that I have actualized a lot of my dreams through music.”
AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR MUSIC CAREER DID YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE THAT YOU WERE MAKING A BIG BREAK?
“I would say 2017 was a very, very, very big year in my life. A very pivotal year. 2017, that was the first time I ever came here (Accelerate) actually.
In 2017, when I dropped my track, PETER PIPER, I was in California. Honestly, I had been in Nigeria since 2015. I did my university degree in New York, and then I came back in 2015. So when I came back in 2015, like I said, I dropped my first single, but it didn’t go as I planned. To be honest, it did, looking back at it, but there was not much I could have done. But in my head at that time, I was like, “whoa, guy this track is a hit, ah but it didn’t blow?”
So that then made me feel very down. I didn’t even drop another single until the following year, 2016, YOUR LEVEL. But after I dropped Your Level, it started moving. So I went to California, because I had another track called, Peter Piper. I don’t know why man, but I’m a very spiritual person, and the energy around that Peter Piper- and even Your Level- was so much.
But with Peter Piper, I traveled, I shot the video.
The energy around everybody I was with, was so positive, and when we dropped the video, yo, I didn’t believe what the video did for me then. And to be honest, then maybe I would have like a hundred comments on my video- total. Like, when I dropped the clip on Instagram- the first teaser, I was like, “whoaaa, guy”.
Because remember, I’m not in Nigeria oh, I’m outside Nigeria, and I have been doing music within Nigeria, but I had never really felt the effect of what I was doing whilst I was here. But when I would go outside (Nigeria) and drop it, I would see so many comments, from people within Nigeria like, “ah guy this stuff is so fire, this stuff is so dope”. And for me, that was the first time, I felt like I made the right choice, in doing what I am doing.
And that same year, I dropped FOOTWORK, like bang. That’s when my name really came- some people knew who I was, and when that happened, I was like, “I’m not looking out again, now nah to dey face d work.”
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO THE UNDERDOGS IN THE INDUSTRY THAT BELIEVE THEY NEED BIG NAMES TO FEATURE, OR A BIG RECORD DEAL TO BE RESPECTED?
“What do I say to the underdogs? See underdogs, I am here for you. I am one of you. No be say I can be president or anything, I am just one of you. So what I would tell our underdogs, is the same thing I tell myself every day I wake up; you have to believe in yourself first.
Believe, believe in yourself. Believe that everything you want, you will have. That’s my opinion, because I feel that in my life, whatever I was meant to get, people didn’t give it to me the first time. It was like I had to prove myself, before it gets to me.
So I feel like if you are an underdog, you have to keep working. Keep working, you don’t need anybody in life, whether you be underdog oh, whether you be the chosen one, whether you be middle man, you don’t need anybody. All you need, is yourself. So, you have to be the best and finest version of yourself.”
WHAT DOES SUCCESS REALLY MEAN TO YOU?
“Success, mehn, success for me, is just about hard work. What does success mean to me? Hard work. … No, no, it is not hard work oh. It is the rewards for your hard work. Success is relative to everybody. Some people want to be very rich, some people want to be very famous, some people want different things.
But success for me personally, like let us say thirty years from now, “Prettyboy, how do you look back at your career?” I would say, if I’m among the greatest, thirty years from now, then my career has been a success. You feel me, because that is where I wanna be.
Literally, like, the school I went to- my high school, I don’t know if it had me trained from birth, or it was having an Igbo mother, I don’t know why, but I always wanted to be first in everything. Like I said, at first, I didn’t really like this music thing, but as I started hustling; because back then, I used to diss every single Nigerian artist, like yo, you people are singing trash, this thing is easy.
Until I started doing it, then I was now like, ah! Okay, this thing is not easy oh. Fam, when I started doing music, I was late oh. Like you know dem DRB, they had been doing this thing since that 2011. When I was that age, there were so many young musicians out there. But now, 98% of them have stopped doing music, I’m the only one doing music, and then, people used to diss me when I was doing music.
The belief you have to have in yourself, has to be crazy, and you have to work your ass off. Like, I have to be the greatest. That is what I tell myself, that is when I know I am successful. Nothing will really faze me, until I am the greatest.”
WHAT MESSAGE ARE YOU TRYING TO PASS ACROSS WITH YOUR MUSIC?
“The message is simple. It is self-confidence, belief in yourself and being yourself, that’s it. That is what I believe in. When you watch this interview, everything I have been saying, like my whole life, I have just had to find myself. I have always been the odd one… out. Like, why have they not called me in school; the black sheep.
I went to a school called, Loyola Jesuit College, and at that time mehn, my mumsie made it seem like that was the smartest school on earth. And in my own opinion, at least high school; within Nigeria, it was a very smart high school.
So my whole life, I’ve just always been looked at, as the odd one out. Not like I was failing in that school oh, I was doing very well, but I was just like, “these niggas? I wanted fashion, I wanted swag, I wanted to always know the new tracks.”
Like one of my boys hit me up last year, when my album came out, and he was sending me pictures like, “bro, remember those days, I used to come for visiting day, you would run collect my iPod; listening to new tracks.”
Fam, that’s how bad niggas really wanted this shit.
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Prettyboy D-O, and I am a songsmith. This is Accelerate TV, stay locked, stay dialled, we dey here, wa gba.”
Creative Direction and Styling: Tokyo James
Photography: Chu Chu
Graphics: Adedayo Adegbami
Story: Timayo Ogunro