Words by Charles Odugbesan
Over the weekend music producer OluwaJbeats took the opportunity to release his first single of 2020, teaming up with Adejosh, Charlie Mase and Keys the Prince to give us ‘Owner’. Each artist offers a unique energy to the upbeat instrumental and it’s true summer vibe has assured the song a spot in the charts and radio play after just a few days!
The musical path OluwaJbeats has carved up to this point has been one that I have seen personally from afar. We sat down in his home studio, swapping old stories and accounts of life before we ever thought of him working with the likes of Zlatan, Naira Marley and Starboy Willz as well as the aforementioned artists. Or indeed before one day carrying out an interview with each other.
I looked around at the impressive set up: guitars, keyboard, decks, speakers, LG screen – How long did this studio take to put together?
Altogether 8, maybe 9 years now! With my system, once I’ve mastered something I’ve added, then I can reward myself with a new piece of equipment.
This is all so advanced! How high is the level you want to reach?
At the moment I’m just working working working. Whatever level I get to is for God to decide, but I’m always working to try and be on another level.
What inspirations do you draw from when you make music?
Really I’ll have to scan myself and just see what vibe I’m feeling. Or (when working with other musicians) what kind of emotion or energy is in the room. There has to be a connection.
So it’s all a very organic process, based on mood and emotions?
Exactly bro. Music is not something that’s supposed to be complicated.
So what is music to you?
Me doing what I’m doing… it might sound mad, but this is spiritual to me bro. I talk through my music! I’m not a shy guy but if you want me to really express myself it’s through the music.
I remember meeting you and Keys the Prince in church one time. His music definitely has gospel influences. I’m guessing it’s a similar thing for you too?
Definitely! Growing up in church there was a lot of gospel. Lots of singing! At one point gospel was the only thing I listened to. It was hard to have conversations about other music because gospel was all I heard.
Where else did the musical influences come from? We’re both Naij, I know mum/dad has the tapes in the Benz!
Yeah my dad used to drive one of those old school mercs! On the way to school he could be playing Stevie Wonder one day or Wale Thompson the next. And I’d be in the back pretending to be the drummer.
How much does your culture influence the music you make?
I wouldn’t ever like to put myself in a box, but that African vibe and style of music is just a part of who I am. I can never lose that!
From there we spoke about artists in the country who have embraced and put the world on notice to their African heritage.
It’s cool now right?! To see (Skepta, J Hus etc) going into their roots! Even throwing pidgin into their lyrics. These are big things I can relate to.
Who are some musicians you admire?
Recently? London on da track. The Summer Walker album he produced, as a body of work, was dope! I would love to create something like that
Has your son changed or affected the way you work?
Being a dad has made me realise that I have someone to be a role model to who looks up to me. And now I have to try and create a better life for my little man the same way my parents did for me.
Finally, how important is self belief?
Whatever you’re doing, if you don’t believe in it, it’s not gonna translate. The mind is a powerful tool so if you think you’ve got something you really HAVE got something.