As Nigerian music industry keeps growing, we’ve had a lot of up and coming artists who step out to share their stories through music. Nigerian born Rapper, Folarin Ayeni popularly known as Folasheva is a recording artist, rapper, producer and a lawyer.

Folasheva started his musical journey at an early age. He has a musical background from childhood, knowing how to play instruments like the piano and the guitar.

Nicknamed back in high school after the famous footballer Shevchenko because he was a fast football player back then, Sheva also enjoyed listening to music especially RnB and this has always been his forte.

As his interest in rap grew, young Folasheva took interest in rappers like Jazreel, eLDee the don, Terry tha Rapman, Nas and Dido.

When he started his career as a rapper, he faced the problem of juggling his career and his education. Although it was tough, Folasheva was able to create a niche for himself with music from his school days.

However, he was and is still known not to have a specific genre of music.

“Different people know about Folarin at different times. This has been one of my advantages as well as my disadvantages at the same time, in the sense that people have not been able to get a stamp on my music. They are always like “we know you do music but what type of music do you do” he said

As a versatile artist, Folasheva, unlike some other artists, doesn’t see music as a job but an emotion. “I don’t think music is one sound….”

“When I first started, I felt like I was a rapper, it didn’t matter what instrumentals they were going to play for me, rapping was like my go-to area. That was my default mode.”

However, Folasheva further explained that he has learned to become a versatile artist, who doesn’t just rap but also sings.

“When I hear a beat and it speaks to me in a manner that I feel I need to sing on it I sing on it, if I have to rap on it I rap on it, and if I have to do both of them I do both of them on it. I have learned not to go into the studio with a preconceived plan or thought”

 He also shared that he tries to protect his mind and music from being influenced by different sounds from other artists.

“I try not to listen to music; you can’t come to my house and meet the TV on a music channel. I don’t want to be influenced by the sound.”

Sheva, known as a storyteller by his fans, when asked what he thinks he gives to the people who listen to his music he said, “I feel like I’m giving honestly to them. I feel like music is the one thing that helps speak my truth”

“One thing I want people to get when listening to my music is honesty. I write all my songs and anytime I write music I feel like I’m giving a part of myself.”

Sheva has a day job as a lawyer and even the thought of juggling a corporate job and music seems impossible to the average man. I guess we can call Folasheva a superhuman.

He explained how he has learned to balance both being an artist and a lawyer;

“I’m still on that journey on learning how to balance music and law together. I take each day as it comes. It’s almost like having a misplaced identity.

All through the 6 years Sheva has been in the music industry, he has also been a lawyer. He didn’t deny that there are a lot of challenges he faces, juggling both law and music together.

He says; “At some point, I will have to let go of one of them. It is unrealistic for me to be trying to chase these two as aggressively as I am.”

For a year and a few months now, Folasheva has had more time to work on his music without the usual break that is caused by his job as a lawyer. Having more time to music has opened his eyes to see the difference between the period he gave more time to work as a lawyer and the period he has given more time to music. Since he doesn’t have his education to interrupt the development of his music unlike when he was an undergraduate, he has been able to stay consistent.

“The large chunk of my brain is dedicated to music at the moment…. I think my biggest growth as an individual in terms of learning individually has occurred in the last 8 months, I’ve discovered certain things I didn’t know about myself. This uninterrupted period has also made me a strategist”

Sheva further shares that he already has a roster for the year containing all the things he needs to do and has gotten better with organizing.

Sheva who didn’t have a team before said he used to be his own manager, PR, Writer, Producer, and brand manager.

“I found out that I was only chasing my tail; around and around.”

People know Sheva to mostly talk about women in his music. “I love women!” he said, explaining how easy it is to write about women.

“The attention from women is something I’ve been used to. Even from primary school and college. I feel like first some of these women like me because of my honesty. I’m always really honest with what I say, I don’t do pass myself.”

He also shared that writing about women comes with the “brand” and that it’s his default mode.

Folasheva talked about his Album “When The World Turns Story” which was released in November 2017 just when he started becoming a bit consistent with music. However, he had a break for some months, which led to his first music video from the album to be released in September 2018.

He said within that break it felt like life has been stuck and he then got his perspective together.

“I woke up one morning and said to myself, time is going ooo, I’d not been making the right moves….In an actual sense, I’ve been playing around”

Sheva talking on his genre of music, he explains, “At the moment I’ve coined my own world, I’m not just Hip Hop, I’m more! I infuse rapping, singing, and folk; I’m just doing my own thing”

This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets

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