I ran away from home to chase music – Ckay

Weekend Magazine: You recently dropped a single titled ‘Gaddemit’. What would you like your fans to know about this brand new song?

Ckay: I’ll like them to know it’s a banger, a very colourful song, very exciting and something that would make you happy when you listen to it. You can dance to it. It features Dremo of Davido Music Worldwide. I am super excited.

WM: Was there a particular reason why you chose to feature Dremo?

Ckay: I just felt he would sound good on it. Every time you make a record, you can always tell who you think can bring out the song. As I made it, I knew it was good and felt his vibe would make it even better, so I reached out to him.

WM: How would you describe the song and your kind of music, generally?

Ckay: I would say it’s a combination of conventional American pop music and afro rhythm. I describe my kind of music as colourful, and happy, because I am a very happy person by nature, so my music reflects that. I don’t like to be boxed into the afro-pop category or be restricted to any particular genre. Music is an expression of emotion and emotion can change.

WM: Late last year, you were officially signed as a recording artist and producer to Chocolate City Music. What has it been like working with the label so far?

Ckay: It’s pretty good. It’s a very fruitful partnership. You can never do it alone and music is no exception. You need a team and the right machine behind you who sees your vision and can work with you to achieve it. It has been really good so far and I look forward to years of partnership.

WM: Last year was quite busy for you with the Photocopy Music Series, which included cover songs ‘Up and Down in the DM’ featuring Loose Kaynon and Kheengz, ‘Mosquito’, a cover of Travis Scott’s ‘Antidote’ and Drakes ‘One Dance’ featuring MI and Akanm D Boy. What triggered your ambition to do a series and how was the experience?

Ckay: First of all, I felt I was not yet ready to put out an official single because I needed to put certain things in place, which I didn’t have at the time. So I decided to water the ground with the series. Basically, they were my interpretations of popular songs I reproduced, rewrote and performed in my own way. Some of them, I matched up two different songs together. I did that as a way of building my fan base and easing into music gradually, before dropping my official single. It’s something I intend to keep doing because it’s fun for me and people like it.

WM: What does working on a cover song generally involve? Do you take permission from the artists?

Ckay: Traditionally, covers are meant to involve re-performing a song exactly the way it is, a way of showing your vocal ability. But for me, I decided that that was creatively limiting and decided to take it to another level. So when I do covers, I rewrite the song, probably convert it to a Nigerian version, and reproduce the beat as well and make it more interesting. I want the listening experience to be very different from the original song, so when you are listening to it, it doesn’t sound so much like the original. Also, the music is free, it’s not sold or monetised, so I don’t have to ask for permission. You only do that if you’re going to sell the music. It’s like a labour of love.

WM: Why did you do some cover songs outside the series, including Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, Dbanj’s ‘Fall in Love’ featuring Ruby Gyang, among others?

Ckay: At that point I hadn’t decided to name the series yet. I was simply doing covers. But you can still count them as part of the series.

WM: What influenced your choice of cover songs?

Ckay: Those are songs that I felt, at that given point in time, were very big songs. So I just thought I would love to remix those songs as opposed to others, Also, because I had a personal connection with them.

WM: Would it be correct to say your cover songs brought you to limelight?

Ckay: I would say they played their part. I wouldn’t say they single-handedly did that. Every little part of the puzzle comes together to make the big picture.

WM: Your official debut single was ‘Nkechi Turn Up’. What inspired the song?

Ckay: This is how it happened. I heard beats by Tempo, co-produced by myself, and it just gave me a certain vibe. It reminded me of where I came from and where my parents came from. It had the eastern high life sound. It gave me the vibe of working, hustle and people in the market trading.

WM: How do you juggle being a songwriter, singer, and producer?

Ckay: These three things are part of my personality. They have been linked right from time. I started producing because I wanted to produce my own music. I have been singing since I was little. So, I started singing before going into production, and delved into producing to produce my songs, because I was tired of singing other people’s songs.

WM: How early in life did you decide you were going to be an artist and what was the journey like?

Ckay: Growing up, I felt music was something I wanted to do because it would give me joy. At some point I wasn’t sure that I was going to do music full time because I didn’t want to rebel against my parents who were unwilling to support me. But as I kept doing music and getting better, it became clearer to me that it was going to be a career. That was when I took a bold step and ran away from home. It sounds very drastic, but I had very good reasons. The circumstances at that time propelled me. But right now my parents show me a hundred percent support and I love them for it. Ultimately, I am doing this for them.

WM: If you are not doing music, how do you spend your time?

Ckay: I like to hang out with friends, watch TV shows and cartoons. I especially love cartoons a lot, particularly the Simpsons and other popular ones. I also like to read books and challenge my mind learning new things.


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