Saturday, 18 January 2014

I was discovered at a radio station-Burna boy

The name Burna Boy seems to have come to stay. He is known primarily for his distinctive voice and afro infused songs but not everyone knows about his beginnings.

The young lad told Saturday Beats that his talent was discovered by his boss at a radio station in Port-Harcourt.

“In October 2010, I had just come back from the UK and was interning at a radio station in Port-Harcourt. My head of programmes listened to my first single which was then unreleased and decided to put it on air the next day and then the story began,” he said.

The dark-skinned singer said that after his song was aired, offers came rolling in. “Just from listening to that single, I got offers from labels. I strongly believe that the most important thing is to make good music that is different and hopefully enduring, other things: the style, the packaging, and the hype are just extras. I learnt to focus primarily on making good music that’s original,” Burna Boy said.

Although he headlines shows now, he told Saturday Beats that when he started out in the music business, he was not accepted. He had done so many free shows.

He said, “I have done so many free shows. They are plenty and uncountable. I don’t remember being booed but I know there were shows when the crowd wasn’t ‘feeling’ me. Initially my music had little or no pidgin and the people my music was targeted at didn’t get it. I was ‘blowing’ grammar in an accent that people barely understood. Again I kept coming out with songs that were not seen as club songs. I didn’t look like the regular R ‘n’ B guy, I didn’t sound like it, didn’t talk like it but my team is great. It became really clear early enough that I couldn’t be tailored after anyone, a new box had to be created for me and that has paid off,”

Speaking of his team, he says he is really appreciative of the family he comes from because they have really helped him in his career. He told Saturday Beats about the role his grandfather, mother and father played in his musical career.

He said, “I am very close to my grandfather, he’s my mentor. He’s mentored a lot of people in the music and media industry. I believe his DNA is why I am Burna Boy the musician. He understands the burden of creativity; he managed the greatest musician of all time from the beginning. He was in the media and music for over 30 years and still is actually. He has always lived for his children, grandchildren and music.

“My mum has been my manager since 2010; she has been paying for my studio sessions during the holidays since my JSS 3. She always knew music was my calling, just didn’t know it would happen like it did. She’s always there. We are friends; you can’t even imagine the things we can talk about.”

The rave of the moment artiste who is known for giving energetic performances on stage told Saturday Beats that he started singing in public since he was two years old and always wanted to be a super hero if he wasn’t a rapper.

Burna Boy said, “I have been singing in public since I was two years old. I remember singing Naughty by Nature’s Hip Hop Hurray on top of a table in a restaurant. I began to compose and sing my own song in public when I was probably 14 years old and it must have been at a function in my secondary school.

“Growing up was cool, Port-Harcourt is a place to be real, you know when people are friends and when they are not, no pretences. My family is cool and close knitted, I made good friends like brothers. I wasn’t quiet and I wasn’t very restless either. I loved to draw cartoons; I loved basketball, taekwondo and swimming. At home, I was either trying to be batman, superman or some super hero when I wasn’t trying to be a rapper.”

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