When MI dropped his sophomore album in 2011, he had a huge audience anticipating the release largely because of the tactics his team used in dropping the album. Amongst the songs included in the album was Epic, where he featured Praiz and we were all made to wonder who the talented singer was. Then in 2012, Bez got him featured on his ‘Stupid Song’ and yet again, we all marveled at the serenity at which this talented individual sang.
Moving on, Praiz released his first official single titled “Rich and Famous” – a song that importantly stamped his spotlight glee. Interestingly, this once MTN Project Fame finalist had his story.
Praise Ugbede Adejo was born in Lagos but had his upbringing in Kaduna. At age 2, his family moved to Kaduna when his father got transferred there. An Igalla by tribe, Praiz is from Kogi State and is the second child of his parents’ five children. He attended Kaduna State Polytechnic where he studied Computer Science. Here are excerpts from the interview we had with him.
Tush Mag: You recently dropped your debut album, how would you rate it in your own expectations?
Praiz: Personally for me, the Rich & Famous album is one of the best albums out of the country and I’m proud of them both. Although it took me a while to put them out, I’m proud to have released two albums as my debut.
Tush Mag: What is the idea behind the double albums?
Praiz: The idea behind my double albums is to showcase my versality. The Rich album is the RnB album while the Famous album is the Afrobeat album. Both albums came on the number 1 spot on the iTunes chart and quite honestly for me that was huge and I’m proud to have achieved that.
Tush Mag: Putting together the albums, you worked with other artistes, how would you explain the experience?
Praiz: It was awesome, I had a super packed album working with the likes of Wizkid, Sarkodie, Patoranking, Shaydee, Seyi Shay, Chidinma, Sammy, Sound Sultan and a couple of others and basically for me, it was huge working with these talented acts.
Tush Mag: Let’s talk a little on how music started for you
Praiz: For me, music started in the church. I could remember as a little kid, I played the drums quite well in church and after secondary school there was this studio I visit where I occasionally play live drums for recording when they need it. Although I haven’t played the drums in a while, the skills are still in the blood [Chuckles]
Frequenting the studio during that period actually influenced my abilities as an artiste; I learnt how to produce beats, engineer songs and record there, I also had my first recording there – just to hear how I would sound basically.
Tush Mag: How was the feeling and what followed next for you
Praiz: It was actually fantastic. After recording, I played it to a couple of friends and family members and they all gave me positive feedback, so I kept recording and recording to perfect my vocal strength. I went as far as putting out two singles back then and it grew to becoming number 1 and 3 respectively in a local radio station in Abuja. I was in Kaduna State Polytechnic while still pushing, then a friend advised I participate in some of the reality shows being organized which I did; Infact I participated in virtually every reality show back then but I couldn’t make any headline till 2008 when I entered for MTN Project Fame West Africa.
Tush Mag: From participating in MTN Project Fame till now, how would you describe your progress?
Praiz: [smiles] From Project Fame till now has been one word – progress. I have moved from being underground to participating in reality TV shows to getting featured by a great rapper, getting signed on a label and releasing my own albums; there is no other way to describe it apart from one progress to another one.
Tush Mag: Between participating in Project Fame and getting featured on MI’s Epic track, which would you choose as the milestone that broke you out?
Praiz: Like I earlier said, my musical career has been one progress to another. Participating in Project Fame sort of shot me into the spotlight and then MI came through as well. It didn’t end there for me; I worked on Bez’s “Stupid Song” which ended up becoming the first Africa song to premiere on BET 106 & Park, after that I released my own single which was received positively from everyone. Each move has always being a milestone for me. I try to always make my next move greater than the last and I’m grateful for his mercies.
Tush Mag: Trying not to come at you but what is the reason for you switching your style now?
Praiz: I am usually surprised when people ask me why I changed my style of singing. Nobody questions R.Kelly when he does a party jam or a gospel song and then goes back to his normal RnB pattern but when it comes to a Nigerian, many speculations and criticisms fly around. For me, being an artiste doesn’t limit my capabilities; Yes! I’m RnB and I forever would be, but then again as an artiste, there is a responsibility where you need to satisfy your fans and not all the time are they in for RnB, so doing a different genre of music for them only shows your versatility.
Tush Mag: You are one of the brand ambassadors for MTN, how is it being such.
Praiz: Being a brand ambassador to the biggest telco firm in Africa one of those factors that keeps me working hard and I’m grateful for being one of their ambassadors.