Confident, playful and down-to-earth are some of
the words that best describe the person of Ayo
Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid. Over the
years, the Wizkid brand has evolved meteorically.
From E.M.Eís top act to Star Boy boss and working
with Disturbing London, an international label. In
this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, the vibrant
young man speaks on working with Tuface, Chris
Brown as he talks about his five-year plan for Star
Boy, career and other things.
WHAT is the most challenging song youíve
I would say is Jaiye Jaiye. When I made Jaiye
Jaiye, I didnít know if people were ready to accept
the song, so I needed something to pretty much
make it really special because that song is really
special to me. When I called Femi Kuti, and he
told me yes, heís going to do it. I was shocked
because I didnít think he would tell me yes
straight away. I called him that day, we recorded
the next day. So I had to go back to the studio that
night to re-do the song, to make sure heís not
disappointed. I think Jaiye Jaiye is the most
challenging song Iíve written.
You talked about Jaiye, Jaiye which happens to be
the intro of song in your sophomore album. How
would you describe the album? And what has
been the reaction of people?
Talking about the album, everyone is loving the
tracks. Every day, people discover new songs on
that album. It feels really good because when I
was making this album, I was trying to make a
conscious decision not to change my style too
much because many people are now having this
thing in their head that because Iím working with
international artistes Iím trying to change what I
sound like, which is not true.
Iím never going to change what I am. Iím never
going to change my music for anyone. A song like
Jaiye, Jaiye for instance, mo fe ko le fun mama mi,
mo de f era le fun baba mi. Iím sure everyone
wants to do the same thing or have done the
same thing. Itís a special song to me and that
album as well.
There was a particular track in that album where
you practically sang highlife. I think the track is
called One Question. How did you manage to get
that kind of mature sound?
Well, as I said, I work every day to build the
Wizkid brand. I donít just make music for now. A
lot of people expect that, oh yeah, this young act;
I should be making music about party and all that.
But I really do not. I actually make good music. I
try as much as possible to pass a message
across. Like Joy, in Joy I was talking about my life
and I was giving advice to everyone out there.
Jaiye Jaiye same thing, One Question, Ojuelegba,
songs like that tell you Iím not an average type of
artiste. Iím very confident about the type of music
that I make and I know by Godís grace I will
definitely take it global.
You went to Surulere to shoot Show you the
money. Meanwhile, you have another track
Ojuelegba. Why did you choose Surulere for
Show you the money and where are you going to
Well, Show you the money, I went to Shitta, small
London. Thatís actually where I grew up. So for
Ojuelegba as well Iím definitely going to
Ojuelegba to shoot the video. There are so many
parts of Surulere that I have not even done
anything about. All the streets I used to walk, all
the streets I used to go perform because I used to
do all the carnivals every December for every
street in Surulere. I used to go do all that, to
Lawanson, Brown Road and so on. Iíve paid my
dues. There are so many stories that are untold.
And by Godís grace if Iím here long enough I hope
to pass that message and tell that story through
Your one time label mate, Skales, are you ever
going to work with him again?
Of course I will. He was actually in my house a
couple of weeks ago. He brought a track to my
house for us to work on. Do definitely; definitely I
would always work with Skales.
You just released your last album with E.M.E and
a lot of reviews have rated it low. Tell us, was it
Letís take a look at it, off that album right; I have
hit singles that I already put out. If I didnít want to
make an album that will actually cut across to
people to enjoy, I would not put in those songs. I
had Jaiye Jaiye, On Top Your Matter, Bombay,
Show You The Money, Joy and I added more
songs. And Iím shooting new video pretty much
for all the songs in the album.
Wizkid like showing off his wealth on social
Yes, didnít use to have all these things now. I
hustled to get them. From where I am coming
from, if I get all these things, I have to show them
to motivate. You knew me in my Surelere days
now; did I use to wear gold chain? Abi na lie I dey
lie? No be lie now. So if I get all these type of
things, you go thank God. I need to motivate boys
for street. I no dey thief, I no dey do any other
thing dan music.
Every now and then, people call you out. Is wizkid
such a terrible person?
I tire o. I tire for the matter o. Well, people have
their opinion about other people. People say you
are terrible. The thing you should actually do is
ask those people what exactly has this guy done
to you? For four years that I was making music
with Samklef, everyone knew who Samklef was; I
was going up and down and saying Samklef noni,
Right? You understand wetin I dey try talk. So Iím
really just being me. Iím just trying to be a good
person. Everyone cannot like you. And everyone
cannot hate you.
Same time Samklef called you out, Seaon also was
bitter that you didnít appear in her video despite
paying you a huge amount of moneyÖ
But I gave her a hit song now, I no try. My boy
produced the song. I did my part of the job to
record the song. So if sheís coming out and telling
you Öthatís not even what I charge for collabos. I
dey charge some people 10million for
collaboration you know. So if I did it for her for
that price you should know itís love. Itís out of
love. I was busy. I didnít even want to do it, to be
honest. I wonít lie to you.
But you were once quoted to have said you donít
charge for collaborationÖ
Yes now, I donít charge people I love for
collaboration. But when someone is on your neck
every day, they want to make a song and they
want to pay for it. If I donít collect the money now
and make the song, they will say Iím a terrible
person. So Iím just trying to be a good guy.
A lot of top artistes have been on the bill of
Hennessy. You are there this year, how would you
describe the experience?
Well, I feel really blessed to be a part of
Hennessey this year, especially because Tuface is
a part of it and Tuface is a legend in the Nigerian
music industry. Heís like a pioneer. He paved the
way for every young artiste doing it right now. So
itís just a great feeling doing it with Tuface. I feel
really blessed. Hennessy is a big brand. And the
Wizkid brand as well is growing everyday so we
just keep working at it. Iím just thankful to God,
For the first time, you did collaboration with
Tuface, courtesy of Hennessy. Why did it not
happen before Hennessy contacted both of you?
Well, Tuface and I have actually been in the studio
four times before the Hennessy Company
contacted us for the event, but weíve never
finished anything. We would work on something
but we just never get to finish it. Tuface is a very
busy person and me too Iím always just on the
road. We actually never finish our tracks and
putting it out. So, itís like itís a great feeling, to be
What did it take to build the Wizkid brand?
Building the Wizkid brand pretty much took me all
my life because before I went into making music,
I had the picture of what I wanted to be in my
head. I had a concept of how I would love the
journey or my journey to be into the music
industry to be like. So I definitely knew I wanted to
build a brand, not just a name. A brand people
would want to affiliate with and I work endlessly,
day and night to make sure the brand Wizkid is
here even when Iím not here.
Even when I leave, I want to live a legacy that
people will follow. And Iím not just building
Wizkid as a brand alone. Iím also building Star
Boy for every young artiste out there, every young
producer out there. I want to create a platform
for them to push out their music. We just started
in like a year now; and already my boys are
getting nominations as well as producing for all
the top acts in Nigeria. Itís a great feeling. I just
feel really blessed.
Why do people think Wizkid is arrogant. And does
it bother you?
It really does not bother me. But to be honest, I
donít even hear that because every time I go out, I
get love from my fans. I show them love. And I do
my thing. As I said, not everyone is going to like
you. I donít have any problem with that because I
donít like everybody. Iím going to be very honest
with you; itís not everybody that I like.
So I donít expect everybody to like me. I make
mistake like every normal human being. Iím very
normal. Iím a young boy, Iím growing. Itís not that
I know everything. Iím bound to trip and fall. Iím
bound to learn from them. So Iím just growing,
Expecting any child soon?
No wedding on your card?
There is nothing like that.
Is Wizkid single and searching?
Wizkid is just a star boy, having fun and mingling
How many shows does Wizkid play per week?
It depends on the demand. Sometimes I do three,
four and sometimes one.
What are your targets?
Iím pretty much just working on the Wizkid brand.
Iím just trying to expand. And Iím trying to just
take my music global. Iím just working on music,
thatís pretty much it.
Talking about investment, where are you sinking
Properties and jewelleryÖ I donít spend money
on stupid things. I just try as much as possible to
do me. Iím a grown man. I have problems too. I
have a child Iím taking care of. I have
responsibilities too, believe it or not.
You talked about doing a song with Chris Brown,
when is it dropping? And did you pay for it?
Yeah, yeah I have a song with Chris Brown. Done
actually; we are shooting the video in about two
or three weeks. Itís going to drop early next year.
Did I pay to do it? No, no payment at all. I donít
pay anyone for collaborations men. Iíve never
paid for collaboration because Iím confident of
the type of music that I make.
Whatís your five yearsí plan for Star Boy?
Yeah, we are working on the first Star Boy album
now. We are shooting a video for all the songs.
Iím pretty much trying to create a platform and
just help as many talents as I can. Just put a lot of
young people on. There are a lot of talented
young people in this country but the platform is
not there for everyone. So Iím going to try in my
own little way to help.