Nigerian songwriter, producer and singer, Praise Ugbede Adejo, better known by his stage name Praiz, was among Nigerians who were recently honoured in Lagos. Best known for hit singles like Rich and Famous, Sisi and I Love You, the Kogi State-born musician, in this interview, talks about his career in the last one year, marriage and challenges of fame among other issues. TONY OKUYEME met him
Who really is Praiz?
I am a song writer, music producer and a musician. I am a complete musician, I would say. I am from Kogi State. I was born in Satellite Town, Lagos. I stayed in Festac Town, and when my dad was transferred to Kaduna, the whole family had to move to Kaduna. So, I grew up in Kaduna.
After my secondary school, while I was waiting to get into higher institution, I always went to the studio to see my friend who was a music producer, and spend time with him. Before then, I knew how to play drums and pianos. I just didn’t want to be useless with my time, so I invested it into learning all these.
And being in the studio with my friend was interesting because I love music; my love for music started growing and when I recorded a demo, my friends that listed to it encouraged me to do more, and that the more I keep recording the better it becomes.
So, later, a friend of mine said I should try Project Fame Academy. And in 2008, it happened; and for me, that was it.
In fact it was a great opportunity, a platform I was lucky to be part of. I was in training for three months; and the number of people that saw my face, I think for a wise person that should be enough for him to be able to capitalise and put in more effort to succeed.
I would say, 40 per cent of the job has been done, so I didn’t let ‘not winning’ slow me down. I didn’t let it weigh me down; but I had to be really patient, because I knew what I wanted to become, I knew where I was heading to; and I know where I am coming from.
How has it been in the last one year?
Last year, 2016, for me, was an interesting year. I had a good start I must say.
It was last year that I was a given a day – Praiz Adejobi Day – in the United States of America, which for me is a life time achievement, for me and my generation. In terms of music, I didn’t really put out a lot of music this year; I had just two singles this year.
That is because I was working on a lot of projects for the coming year, which is this year, my album.
It was also a great year for me because of more achievement in the sense that I was became a judge on a show that I was a contestant in, which is MTN Project Fame West Africa. It was a great feeling for me to be asked to be a judge on the show that when I look back, years ago I was a contestant.
So, it was a great year, and I am grateful to God; I grateful to my fans; I am grateful to the media that supported me, supported every of my material that I put out.
A lot of young, upcoming musicians appear to be so much in a hurry for fame that they pay little or no attention to training and experience. What is your take on this?
I do agree with you strongly. Most musicians, or people, who want to come into music nowadays, believe it is just a day’s job; no one is patient. Even me as a person, even after Project Fame, it took me years to get my feet.
So, people who want to get into the music industry need to know that it takes a lot of hard work; it takes a lot of diligence; it takes a lot of patience, which is key, to make it.
Also it takes a lot of humility, because you can be really talented but if you are not humble it won’t take you anywhere. Most times your attitude would even take you father than your talent.
What should your teeming fans expect from you this year?
I want to be a more successful musician. I need to be better than the musician I was in 2016; I need to be able to impact lives positively.
Challenges of managing fame and love life
It is quite challenging, especially when you want to get into a relationship. There is that stigma that the musician or the entertainer has even if you don’t live that kind of lifestyle. That stigma is there, and it takes someone who is ready to look at the physical to be able to know who you really are. But it is quite challenging, I must say.
Any embarrassing experience?
(laughs) Well there was one experience I had; I think it was in Abuja. A fan asked for an autograph on her chest, and when I initially refused, she almost started crying. So, I had to do it. And it was quite embarrassing, but she was happy I did it.
What are your plans about marriage?
Well for now I am open to it; I am looking forward to be in a good relationship. And I think it is good to balance every aspect of your life.
There is this perception that artistes or entertainers generally are womanisers.
That is what I mean when I said the entertainment industry has a stigma. You know, entertainment comes with a lot of attraction; it comes with a lot of attention from people.
So, it takes a very disciplined person to be able to know when to draw the line. I surround myself with people who tell me the truth; I know where I am coming from. I know my root; I have not forgotten my root; so it keeps me grounded.
What is your take on the type of lyrics by up-and-coming musicians?
It is a challenge because music with content is harder to accept in Nigeria than music without content. The upand- coming artistes feel that music without content is the one that will blow them quickly. Well my advice is to just be patient. If you know what you are very good at, stick to it; and when it is your time you will get it.
Are considering going into other genres of music, such as highlife?
I believe in fusion. I am for R&B, and will forever remain with R&B no matter what I do. If you listen to my music, even when I try to do something different you still get R&B in it.
So, I am forever R&B, but I love highlife, and I like to do a fusion of R&B and highlife. To be honest, I love highlife.