Olamide Adedeji, otherwise known as Badoo, has everything working for him at the moment. His record label, YBNL, has produced two of Nigeria’s superstars – Adekunle Gold and Lil Kesh. Olamide, on the other hand, has recorded success with his brand of music that has made his name a sought after in the music industry. In this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO, the rapper says the journey has just begun.
What has been happening to Olamide?
I have been concentrating on music. Music is my life. It is the only thing that I know. Music gave me the heading when every other thing failed me. I have been travelling to different countries for tours and promoting my brand. YBNL has become a big brand that needs to be well propagated in the right direction for us to achieve the target we set out to achieve.
What is your target?
To keep entertaining Nigeria, Africa and the world at large with good music till I breathe my last.
You have become a popular brand within and outside the shores of the country. You have had sold-out shows across Africa and parts of Europe. But some people believe that your brand may not last. How long do you think you can go with YBNL?
Those who are saying that don’t know how passionate I am about music. My relationship with music is not something I really can explain to you. It is beyond me. Sometimes, when I look at the songs I have done and how everything was arranged, I always ask myself how did it happen? In the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that God and my passion for music have brought me this far and it will take me even higher than this level. I have zero time to attend to other things except music. When I am not performing at shows, I am either recording a new song or working on something that is closely related to music. I don’t know where God is taking my brand, but I will continue to work hard. I am a positive person. I have never believed I would not be successful. I have always known that my talent will pave the way for me.
You said you have been going on tours, could you tell us about it?
I have had tours in the US, London and even Malaysia. It has not been easy because you have to be up and doing. This is the best time to make my stay count and I am grateful to God for how far we have come. Some people say I am at the top, but I laugh. I usually laugh because I have not even got to the level that I am aiming for. I have more than five gigs lined up for me across Europe in September. This is my job. I am ready to take on any challenge that comes with it.
How would you describe the transformation your life and career have experienced in the last few years?
I am enjoying my career. I am having fun with what I am doing. I really don’t see it as a transformation, because nothing has changed about me, except for the music business that has grown and expanded beyond what we expected. We can’t complain but to keep working hard in order to meet up with the demands of the industry. Yes, things have changed in one way or the other and one has grown over the years. There are bigger responsibilities now and I thank God for how far I have come. I appreciate my fans, who have always been there with me since Day One. I would not have come this far without them. That’s why I always connect with them in my songs. I pay attention to their reactions to my songs. I know what they want, they know I can deliver and that’s exactly what I am concentrating on. The music will continue to flow from my side and I will appreciate if they keep embracing my songs. People call me a workaholic and I am comfortable with it. God has used music to turn my life around and I remain thankful to God and my fans for the love
You were once rated as Nigeria’s most featured artiste. How do you manage to jump on different songs without sounding the same?
It boils down to my passion for my craft. As I said earlier, music is my life and I am very passionate about it. My love for music makes the job easier for me. I don’t have to think twice before I jump on any song. It comes naturally. I embrace collaborations regularly because they help me to reach out to people. Many people don’t know Olamide. I am very passionate about making people happy. It is not even about the money. When I see people singing my songs, I am always moved to give them more. Anytime I am approached for collaborations, I find it hard to turn down the offer.
Some people say money connects you to any new collaboration, how true is this?
That’s not true. If it is money, I would not have been in most of those songs that I have appeared. You know why? If I don’t connect with something, I don’t do it. No matter how juicy that thing might seem. I don’t rule out money, but money does not motivate me. Let me tell you that if my spirit connects with any song, then I believe it is the right song for me and I’ll give my best to see it come to reality. I will use everything I have to push the song.
How would you define good music?
Music, for me, is a combination of good sounds and melodies healing to the bones and appealing to the soul. People must be able to connect with your music. That is what I understand as good music.
You are a father and an entrepreneur. You also run a label that has become very popular in the music industry. How have you been handling these responsibilities?
For me, I just have to focus on the right things. I can’t do everything by myself. I have a team that works with me on every project that I am involved in. As one grows in life, there is the tendency that responsibilities will increase. One has to be very careful not to mix up the whole thing. That is where what I called focus comes in. As an entrepreneur, I know what I am supposed to do and it does not clash with my responsibility as a father. We all want to be responsible in life. Nobody wants to be a nuisance. Being a father is one of the things we all crave for. The level of one’s success in life is measured by how one is able to manage his responsibilities effectively. If you can manage these things very well, you won’t have any problem.
Tell us about your relationship with Lil Kesh and Adekunle Gold. You have been able turn their lives around; you should be proud of what you have achieved with their careers. What is the feeling like?
There is no special feeling. It is just the grace of God and I give all the glory to Him. To me, I feel like I am doing what God wants me to do, which is to help others grow. I have always said it that I would use whatever God has given me to better the lot of others. The irony of it is that, whether I do it or not, God will raise another man to do what you feel too big to do. If it is the will of God that Lil Kesh and Adekunle Gold will be successful in music, whether I support them or not, they will still fulfill their destinies. They already have what it takes to succeed; I only helped them with the platform to make it faster and better.
The competition in the music industry is rife, especially among rap artistes. How do you intend to catch up and stay relevant?
I don’t even see the competition that people keep talking about. Maybe that’s why I am not bothered. Everybody is busy doing music. Nobody is stopping. I am not doing music because I know there is competition. I am not doing it because I want to edge out some people. I am doing it to entertain my fans. So, there is nothing to catch up with as far as I am concerned. The only competition that I have is myself. Once I am able to understand the concept of trying to be better than my last production, then I am okay.
What’s your relationship with MI, Vector and other top rappers in the industry?
We are cool. I have worked with Vector, same as MI and others.
But you seem to have a special bond with Phyno…
I don’t know what you mean by having a special bond. I can only tell you that we have the same story. We are very close to the people and the people love our songs. We both know what our fans want and we don’t shy away from it. I think one major thing is that we have almost the same background. We struggled from having nothing to creating platforms for others to grow and succeed.
How successful is Olamide and how big would you want to go?
I will stop hustling until I am more popular than Coca-Cola. That tells you that I am not stopping. I have not even achieved 10 per cent of what I want for myself. Let me put it this way, I have achieved 10 per cent of my 150 per cent target.