The name Candy Bleakz may not currently be a household name, but her viral songs preceed her name in Nigerian households. Her recent single Tikuku made rounds on social media as a dance challenge and has garnered over 305,000 videos with the sound.

Before there was a Candy Bleakz, there was BlessKido. When opening up about how Candy Bleakz – birth name Blessing Akiode – derived her stage name, she stated her stage name was formerly BlessKido. Circa 2012 and the influx of new artists with ‘kid’ suffixes to their stage names, Blessing wanted hers to stand out. In that attempt she added two suffixes instead, ‘kid’ and ‘do’ to the first four letters of her name, hence Blesskiddo. It wasn’t long before another name change was cleverly suggested during one of her studio sessions and thus Blesskido morphed to Candy Bleakz.

Candy Bleakz’s sound has many similarities to street music, a genre that has had Nigerians in a chokehold from the early days of Baddest Guy Ever Liveth. The genre is majorly characterized by inserting local slangs, and infusing indigenous languages and Pidgin English into lyrics. The lyrics are primarily odes to hood lifestyle and community. Inasmuch as Candy Bleakz’s sound checks all of those boxes, the artist describes her sound as not just Street music but ‘Afro-Street’.

This constantly earns her sets of furrowed brows from her label execs but the songstress is confident in the term. “I’m making music for everybody, not just the street” She explains to Tush. Despite her music having the sound and style of traditional street music, she assures the content is relatable for all, hence the Pan-African prefix ‘Afro’ to the genre title. One thing that’s clear is she doesn’t relent to describe her sound with a term that seems true to her.

Her confidence in her music wasn’t acquired in weeks but rather from over nine years of music-making. Before becoming affiliated with Chocolate City in 2013, the artiste had begun making music many years before that. Candy Bleakz’s musical exploit dates back to 2011 at Majidun Secondary School. After Blessing (Candy Bleakz), the young class representative emerged winner of an inter-school music competition, her interest in music was piqued. Although she became somewhat of a local champion at her school because of her musical success, it wasn’t until her second year as a physiology student at Olabisi Olabanjo University that she focused purely on music.

The music industry is famed for its overnight success stories with unpredictable songs going viral and artists careers taking off in the blink of an eye. In the many years of music-making the fast-rising artiste has had many viral songs and impressive feats including being featured on The Grammy’s Global Spin- a digital performance series aimed at highlighting global fastrising artists. Regardless of the many viral songs including 2022 hit Tikuku and 2019 hit Owo Osu featuring Zlatan and Naira Marley, Candy bleakz doesn’t believe that breakthrough has happened. An identifier of a breakthough as she explained, includes her being listed amongst the top ten African artists.

“What’s your take on being titled the Queen of Street music?” I asked the artiste. This question birthed a smile on her face. “I’m even the king of street music!” Candy Bleakz beams. “My energy is too high” she adds. It’s evident she’s confident in her talent and capabilities, having honed them for almost a decade. “I’m going to disturb, the title is mine” she adds in her much-deserved minute-long self-praise.

The Chocolate City signee’s nine-year music career has built up to this moment, the release of her first official project. Candy Bleakz’s debut Ep, Fire, is a six-track blend of amapiano and hip-pop sounds. In conversation with Tush, Candy Bleaks beams about how proud she is of her work. The release of a long-awaited project is one that artists look forward to, and the same goes with Candy Bleakz. Her excitement is hardly concealed as she spoke about the project. While making hits is this songstress’ Modus Operandi, it was a battle picking which of the hits would make it to the final project. Left to Candy, she’d have them all. The no-feature EP includes handiwork from award-winning producers including Rexxie and Niphkeys.

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