Chocolate City has become known for its successes at nurturing and guiding music talents to climb the big stage of the music industry. Some of the biggest names in the music industry today are mentioned with reference to the brand that gave them the platform to share their talents with the world, the brand whose style of recruitment and development of music talents has been justified again and again.
This brand recently introduced a new generation of future music superstars to the Nigerian audience, and as expected, the climb to the zenith of the music industry started almost instantly for these artistes. One of such artistes is Ckay, another soldier of destiny, who left the far East to Lagos, to pursue his dream of becoming a music superstar. Ckay comes in a mould of a multi-talented individual whose singing ability is complimented with his ability to produce songs, with these and the resources he hopes to gather along the way, he believes he would be another success story for Chocolate City and personally, he believes he would be sharing spaces in the clouds with other music superstars in the near future.
Ckay discussed his childhood, his music and his targets in an interview with a representative of Tush Magazine. Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about yourself
I am Chukwuka Ekeani aka Ckay. I’m a native of Anambra, I was born in Kaduna. I started singing since I was like 4. I started playing the piano at 7. I started producing at 12 -13 and writing music started for me at that time too. I started music officially, in Lagos, in 2014. So, there are many dates in there.
How do you describe your style of music?
I describe my style of music as colorful music, because the same way music embodies emotions, colors too embodies emotions. If you want to talk about excitement, yellow is the color that comes to your mind. If you want to talk about sorrow or sadness, black comes to your mind. If you want to talk about fertility and wealth, green comes to your mind. I like to see my music as colorful music, I do not like to be restricted to a particular genre of music; Afro-pop, Afro-trap. Ckay can make any type of music. I am a very versatile artiste and you know, I would be dropping a project next year, an EP and you’d get to understand what I mean. You’d get to see more sides to my sound. The point is that I can make music of diverse kinds, so I like to describe my music using colors. My music is like a color palette.
Do you think there is a gap in the music industry that you plan to fill?
Well, I’d say I’m trying to become the next pop star in the Nigerian music industry. I definitely feel there is a gap. The Wizkids, the Teknos, the Davidos; all these people make groundbreaking music, their music is African, it is danceable, it is pop music but at the same time, it is different. I feel like I’m going to be the next person doing next level music. I try as much as possible to make every song I do different. If you hear a CKay song, you cannot play another song that sounds like that song. It is different. It sounds familiar to you because it is pop music but it is different, that’s the gap I’m trying to fill in the industry. I want to give fans different kind of music, a kind of music that is missing.
Who are your music influences?
In terms of music production, I will say Timberland, Dark Child, Don Jazzy and Sarz. On an artistry level, I draw inspiration from a lot of people. I listen to Party Next Door a lot, I listen to Drake, I listen to Chris Brown, and I definitely listen to Rihanna. I listen to a lot of people; I pay attention to everyone making good music around the world. I listen to British music as well; Emeli Sande’s music inspires me. Sometimes I listen to tropical music, Caribbean music; I also listen to Classical music a lot, from the Beethoven, Mozart.
What would you consider your best song yet?
The best song I have made is Goddamnit, with Dremo. The best song I have produced for another artiste, I’d say it is Ella by Dice Ailes.
How about the song with M.I & Pryse, titled Box?
I only co-produced that song.
Would you tell me what the atmosphere in the studio was like, when you were writing that song?
M.I was working on his project. I just came by the house that day, he was playing all his stuffs and while listening them, I heard a particular one and I told him I needed to be on the song and he said Pryse had already asked to be on the song, and so many other people had asked to be on the song. So he told me to record my verse first, that if my verse is good, then I’d be on the song. Then I said, ‘you know what, I’d show him’. I went to the studio and recorded it. At the end of the day, I would not say I tried overly hard, I just caught the vibe of the music and delivered according to the vibe and it happened to just work out. It was dope and he (M.I) liked it; through that song, many people started to pay attention to Ckay, because that song got a lot of traction. It got over a million downloads, in fact the first download link, crashed. So a lot of people heard about me from that song.
What is your relationship with artistes outside the label, how easy has it been working with artistes outside the label?
Well, I’m friends with Masterkraft, Babyfresh of Mavin, Chopstix. I’ve met with so many other people. I’m friends with other artsites, Niyola, Oritsefemi, Attitude, Terry Akpala, Niniola too. All these people, we know each other. I’m not equally close to all these people; there are some people I’m closer to.
Do you think you can meet the standard that M.I, Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince have set?
Yeah we can meet the standard and beat it. Let me go the bible, it says that the glory of the latter shall be greater than that of the former. It is only right and it is what they want too, that we do more than what they did. For instance, Tuface, D’banj took it to some point and the next generation took it further. D’banj got signed to Kanye West’s record label; Wizkid is taking it even further. So, the next generation always takes it further. I believe we can do take it further.
Should we be expecting more of you in the line of production or more of you as an artiste?
For me, the two sides are inseparable. I cannot stop singing and I cannot stop producing. One cannot do without the other. They are two different ways of self-expression. I cannot do with either of the two. I’ve got stuffs already lined up; I produced a song and it is dropping soon, M.I featuring Diles. I got DJ Lambo featuring Skales and Victoria Kimani, it is coming out soon too, plus a host of other songs.
What is an average day for Ckay like?
In my house I have a studio, so I just wake up stretch my hands and start working. I work every day. Every day I put down ideas. I try to come up with something at all times. I wake up to do that, sometimes I go to the office, if I have an event, I go for the event, if I have an interview, that’s where I’d be. Of course, I forgot, I have to brush my teeth and bathe first *giggles*. If I feel I need to cool off, I hang out with friends.
What projects should we be expecting from you?
I’m dropping an EP [at] beginning of next year, 2018.
Which featured artistes would be on the project?
Surprises, but you know the EP is going to be about me. I’m not trying to feature too many people to be honest. It is not an album. If it were an album, I could go crazy about features. But this one, there are just some few strategic features. I don’t know all the songs that would make the final cut, I have so many songs, so when I’m done working, we will sit down and finalize these things. For now, just expect next level music. There are some types of music that I cannot release as a single, which I would like to include in the project.
Culled from Issue 17