Three reasons why Nigerian artists and their music are vibing worldwide – Ayo Dot


Let’s get to meet you Ay, tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in Music?

I have always been passionate about music. I come from a household that has a lot of love for music. We enjoy all genres of music from traditional hip hop to King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti, Orlando Owho, Notorious BIG, etc.

Music is something that I like to listen to, make and create. In high school, I explored with my friends organizing music battles. So basically, music has been in my blood from day one. In the Seattle area, for over ten years, it’s something that I have always done. I currently perform as a solo artist and also perform with a super talented band called Ayo dot and the Uppercut band.

In the early stages of your career, what kind of hurdles did you have to scale through to succeed as an entertainer.

One of the biggest hurdles was being able to book shows. Back then when I started up, it was a little difficult to sell my hip-hop style, so I had to start performing with a backup band. It was also down to my resilience, like, literarily knocking down doors to get an opportunity to perform. Back then, playing in shows gets you the exposure and put your music out there unlike today with the internet you could actually achieve more.

How do you rate the past and present trends in Nigerian Music as we are experiencing a new evolution in songwriting and beats production?

Comparing the past and present trends in Nigerian music, I can say Nigerian music is on the rise and has broken different barriers in the last 10-15. All these have got to do with the pride we have worldwide to identify with our music and the quality has really improved compared to what it used to be. There is also no doubt that the talent has always been there but the access to resources has been limited. You can only be as good what you can access.

Things have changed with the emergence of talents like Burna boy, Teni, Wizkid, and Davido. It’s not uncommon these days when you are in a joint in Seattle and they are vibing to afrobeat and Nigerian music. It is a beautiful thing and I hope it continues for creatives, up and coming artists to keep pushing the limits. When it is good you cannot deny it and people will gravitate towards it.

How would you describe your style? 

My music style as a solo performer is definitely hip hop mixed with some Afrocentric flavor. I try to make music that would appeal to Nigerian and African audiences like in the tracks ‘’oya’’ and ‘’Gold bars”. When I am performing with my band, it is more of rock with an infusion of hip-hop, heavy guitars, and drums. It is always a good experience and I hope to get an opportunity to perform back home.

Who are the musicians that influenced your style of music? If you could do a collaboration with a Nigerian artist, who would that be?

The act that influenced me in music would be, Ice cube, who is basically the first because I would memories all his lines. Then the Notorious BIG, Frank Ocean because I love melodies too.  Like I said earlier, I grew up in a house that enjoyed all genres of music especially the Nigerian musicians. It was easy enjoying and absorbing the experiences which later shaped my perception of my music. 

There are lots of good Nigerian artists, but Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido stand out. I am a fan of Teni and Adekunle Gold. For the sake of this interview, I would like to humor my brother who is a huge fan of the marlians.  So, I’d like to collaborate with Naira Marley.

For the up-and-coming artists, What Skills do you think they’d need to cut at the top? What Kind of activities should they invest their time in?

There are certain skills you’d like to have as a musician. For one, you’d want to learn to be independent and a self-starter. You have to be comfortable moving around in different environments; sharpen your social skills of networking and have 100% self-belief. You have to be resilient and have a good knowledge of the industry. You should also learn to create a good work ethic, make the right calls and keep moving.

When you are not performing and doing music, how do you create a balance between your professional life and your family?

For a professional balance, I just follow my intuition. You have to learn to listen to that voice in your head. Learn when to step back and avoid burnout. I try to create a system where everything can co-exist. 

What do you consider the important factors that will catalyze the entertainment industry in Nigeria and Africa? Do you think the Nigerian government I doing enough to support this industry?

In terms of Art and Entertainment, I don’t think the government is doing enough. They can however invest more in arts, music, and culture. They have to empower the creatives. Asides from the lawyers, doctors, etc. who are all great professionals, there has to be a balance. We need to recognize the value of creatives and how they enrich our lives.

The government can create initiatives that would help develop more talents and create a career path for them to get more international breakthroughs.

What should we expect from you in the future and any message to your fans in Nigeria?

I have the vision to bring the band to Nigeria and I want my fans to expect some new songs.

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