He walks across the room with an impressive swagger, steps assured and eyes firmly focused ahead as he meets up to discuss the intrigue, the mystique and the mystery of his artistry. Welcome to the world of the budding International Afropop star Ajaeze
Q: Describe the man behind the music phenomenon Ajaeze?
I am a man of many experiences. God and I were the first two official members for the Ajaeze Klan (Ajaeze supporters). We started from the bottom and now we are here! I’ve experienced the thrills of success. I’ve also experienced devastating lows in life. These experiences have defined my mentality today. I think and live outside the box. I am undefined. I am unlimited. Uncontrolled. I pursue the things that create happiness and joy. If it doesn’t feel good, then it doesn’t make sense. Be free and eat your f***n heart out
Q. How did the music journey begin for you ?
From a young age my parents exposed me to entertainers like Sunny Bobo, James Brown, Bob Marley, Fela, Michael Jackson, Prince, and several others. Their music gave me emotion. And when you feel emotion it lets you know that you are alive!!! It wasn’t until secondary school when I actually began my pursuit. Before then I was only performing in the shower and accepting Grammies in the mirror while I brush teeth. In secondary school me and two of my friends formed a singing group and we called ourselves Ax’ent. Lol we did not last but my first few performances broke my stage fright at least.
Q. Who were your earliest music inspirations ?
I loved the way Sunny Bobo flowed on his beats. I was so impressed by the dancing of James Brown. I admired the theater that Prince and Michael Jackson brought to the table as well. Michael was magical. I wanted to be a master instrumentalist like Fela. I even entered symphonic band because I wanted to be an instrumentalist like Fela and Prince. …But I never became a master instrumentalist. My instructor only let me play one trombone like this…
Q. How would you define your music ?
My music is world music. Being exposed heavily to western and African cultures, I can flow easily in and out of Afrobeats and American Pop. I think of myself as the spear for the genre of “Afropop”
Q. How does the music making process work for you ?
#Music is art… and art is intended to make us feel an emotion. And as I said, when we feel emotion it confirms that we are #Alive. The music must give me an emotion. The process starts there. If a love song melody doesn’t melt my heart or a dance vibe does not force me to get up, the process ends there.
Q. Tell us about a couple of your projects especially the current single ‘Jeje’, what inspired it ?
“Je Je” came along out of nowhere actually. I was in the studio and my personal DJ MixMasterChu told me Danny had a new record ready (Danny is one of the producers we work with at ISEKOLife Musix LLC). Chu sent me the vibe to my email and said he can hear my flow on the record. I pressed play and like the Matrix movie I immediately envisioned myself at a pool party or riding top down cruising the street on a beautiful day. I do not remember if my mask was on in this vision or not but anyways… From there I just began flowing nonsense lyrics but the rhythms were what I wanted to hammer. Before I knew it, I began adding small lyrics piece by piece and the record came together in about 45 minutes. We were all satisfied.
Q. How do you see the current state of the Afrobeat movement?
Afrobeats is growing like mad all over the world. Afrobeats is undeniable. It speaks to your soul. There’s no coincidence that American artists are doing records with the Afrobeat artists and even releasing their own Afrobeat records. An afrobeat record can literally say the same line over and over but the rhythms of the drums and accompanying instruments will sweep you onto your feet every time.
Q. What artists have you worked with and would like to work with in the future ?
I can not disclose the records that are dropping too much but so far this campaign will feature artists and producers like Kenneth “KFam” Fambro (grammy award winning producer), Masterkraft, Mayorkun, Danagog …ok I will stop there :). I am so grateful and privileged to have an opportunity to work with my team and all of these talented creators!
Q. What’s the mystery behind the mask?
The mask is an expression of rebellion. A commitment to being undefined, unlimited, and uncontrolled. In short, I felt like a slave to my profession and the company I contracted to in financial services when I graduated college. I managed people’s life savings in the stock and bond market for 8 years of my life. I did very well and reached complete financial freedom from the revenue streams I built in my practice. You would think that this is what life was all about right?? Well for me the answer was no. I was so committed that I lost myself in it. One day I looked in the mirror and noticed that I was at least 25 pounds over weight. I had formed dark circles under my eyes from the stress. I had no real personal life outside of work and then going to drink loads of alcohol to ease the stress after long days at the office. And the various activities that defined me as a person I no longer participated in. I had truly lost myself. I wanted to make a change. I began to grow my hair on the top to change up my look. I even began to sport a beard just to try something new. Well the company I contracted my practice to felt I was damaging their personal brand and began to advise me on how I should carry myself in order to represent them properly. To be brief, that’s when I said fvk it and walked out. They never saw me again. I went rogue. The mask is a part of going rogue. Being rebellious. No body can tell me what to do. I am my own person and I am undefined by anyone’s expectations.
Q. What song is currently on replay on your playlist?
“Je Je” by MixMasterChu X Ajaeze af
Q. What differentiates you from other music stars?
There’s so much talent out there. So much good music. My story defines me. The mask is a product of my story. My image is a product of my story. I have an edge from life but my heart is big and I feel the art. I am not afraid to express and get lost in the feelings or a record. My strong suit is creating ballads. I really want the Ajaeze Klan to feel my emotion in the ballads.
Q. When are we expecting the video to drop?
May 2018 we will drop my debut video! It is actually a madddddd Choreography Film.
Q. What’s the most surprising thing fans can find out about you ?
I hate the draw in okra soup. It reminds me of saliva.
Q. What message do you have for future Ajaeze Klan members out there?
Eat your fkn hearts out!