Wednesday, 26 September 2012

BEZ 101: ALL ABOUT HIS MUSIC AND KENYAN CONNECTIONS

Nigerian soul singer Bez - real name Emmanuel Bezhiwa Idakula - did not stumble upon music; it was inscribed on his genes. He grew up as a musical child in a musical family, absorbing every bit of music around him and transmitting all of it through the instrument he loved most, the guitar.

While in college, he pursued an undeniable passion for music, honing his skills day by day to produce one of the most remarkable playing styles.

Now, here is. A force to reckon with. A top selling album and the title of "next big thing" in soul music cicles.

Bez will be in Kenya for the launch of Tusker Malt 100 Club at the National Museum on Thursday (September 27). He has an one on one with Hot Secrets and he talked about his music, collaborating with Sara Mitaru and what we should expect from his show...

How did the two(Bez and Sara) of you get to meet and come up with the collabo?
David Muthami, AKA Blackman heard my music from a friend, Tomi Oladipo, loved it and shared with Sara. I met up with Blackman when he came to Lagos to meet my producer Cobhams and he shared her beautiful music with us as well. We immediately knew we were on the same wavelength. Weeks later I was on a flight to Kenya to meet Sara for a jam session. Her music was amazing, energy contagious and an awesome personality. We connected .thereafter Blackman wrote us a perfect song and "Keep me from you" was born.

Was it recorded here, in Kenya?
It was recorded in Kenya and Nigeria. We figured environment was key in whatever we were speaking about in the music. We had to establish a connection.

You have a concert in Kenya for the Tusker Malt Club. What are some of the songs you will be fusing together on stage with Sara Mitaru?
Our aim with this concert is to create an awesome experience. People should expect great music from Sara and Bez, a collaborative Set Structure and of course a performance of "Keep me from you".

Bez, how was the experience like launching your music video - Stupid Song - on BET's 106 and Park?
It was an amazing experience! I had family and friends by the TV and when the video came on, we couldn't watch because people just kept screaming and hugging. It may not be huge for some, but just like the first time you hear your music on the radio, you feel awesome.



Your style of music is different from the popular Afro hip hop that comes from Nigeria. How does that work for you?

It was a struggle at first to get people to listen to what they're not used to. We did free gigs, home gigs, and every form of push to register on the radar. Eventually, some people picked it up, loved it and shared it. It created a multiplier effect and we've been able to ride on the ripples.

You and P Square have the most nominations in his year's Headies Awards - from your album Super Sun. How does that make you feel?
It was very unexpected and it took me by surprise. "The Headies Award" have the reputation of being very credible, and the recognition has made me very happy and proud of my team.

What was you highlight in recording the album?
I really don't have a single highlight. The album took us almost 3 years to create, so trust me, there are loads of stories from different sessions and the creative process. What I can say is it was a really exciting period in my life and I share some of these stories whenever i'm performing live.




What challenges did you also face?
I had a lot of fears and uncertainty. I wondered if I was doing the right thing, if people would love it and buy it. We had a phase where things were not moving as planned. The art work came in late, and when it did, the packaging company needed another format. The mixing and mastering process also took a while and to make things worse, the master copy got sent to a wrong address. I mean we had it all.


What is your favourite single off the album?

Supersun remix featuring Eldee, Eva and Ice Prince. I love it. The Super Sun album got rated as No.3 out of the top 10 world music albums of 2011 by the Boston Globe. It was a fantastic start to 2012. It is my purpose to add value to the world through music, and I have begun with talks in University of Lagos, Nigeria; Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife in Osun State, Nigeria; Harvard University, Boston, USA; Africa Leadership Academy, Honey Dew, SA and a music clinic in Nairobi,Kenya. It is a matter of time before I reach the World, through the people I have inspired.

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