Interview: Rema Opens Up On His Music, Inspiration, Growing Up, Record Deal With Don Jazzy At Young Age

Interview: Rema Opens Up On His Music, Inspiration, Growing Up, Record Deal With Don Jazzy At Young AgeNigerian sensational singer, Rema has spoken at length about his record deal with Mavin boss, Don Jazzy, his music, career, inspiration, and more.

Speaking on his smash hit record Rave & Roses, he said:

“It was all organic, to be honest. There weren’t a lot of people in the room. I made most of the songs in my house, actually. I got a couple of producers to match up with my vision and we worked hand-in-hand. London worked mostly on this project, in terms of recording and arrangements and beats, but I must say a big shout-out to 1 Mind, Kill September and Andre Vibez too, as they also worked closely on it. I feel like this project is doing what it needs to do for Afrobeats and this new generation.”

About his song “Are You There?” and the themes he addressed in it, Rema said:

“Over time, I’ve addressed different topics on different types of records, but I’ve not really gone into much depth. I feel like as a young person, I should be allowed to grow. I don’t want others putting their expectations on me—I want to create my own path, my own journey, and talk about what I like to talk about. But yeah, “Are You There?” started with that, but as the song goes on, I talk about the situations we’re facing as a people, and how we shouldn’t let the heavy burdens take us to our grave. As much as we are fighting for our rights, we should enjoy our personal lives. The people at the top don’t actually care about us, so that’s what the whole song is about.

Interview: Rema Opens Up On His Music, Inspiration, Growing Up, Record Deal With Don Jazzy At Young Age

About growing up in Benin, he said:

“Benin City is my home. It has great culture and religious diversity, everyone’s big on family, and everyone knows everyone. I have some siblings—two sisters and a step brother—and my mom, and that’s the only family I know. I started in the church; the church embraced the musical side of me. I did art in school, because I was quite shy to show my music side there at first, but over time, the church gave me that confidence and I started showing that side of my talent to my school. From there, I needed to hustle. I needed money to settle some things, so I started branching out, going to competitions, performing at bars and stuff like that. I left Nigeria, I did my time in Ghana, and I came back home and worked on music a bit more. Then I met Don Jazzy and D’Prince and it went on from there. But the journey has been great and I’m grateful to God, for his guidance, his mercy, and his favour.”

About signing the deal with Don Jazzy and Mavin Records at such a young age, Rema who recently claimed he is a virgin, said:

“Nothing less than a blessing. To have a boss, a friend, a counsellor and a father like him is a blessing.”

About the Arabic and Asian influences in his music, he said:

“Funnily enough, I had never listened to Arabic or Asian music to develop my sound. It took a long time before I even had a phone; I listened to whatever I could come across. And, to be honest, if there was a route I followed or I follow now, it would be the route of least expectation. Everything in my life has been quite organic; I’ve learnt how to let go and, you know, just let the universe arrange things for me. I started with rap—I never used to do the African sound and I never used to do this Afrobeats sound. I’ve been rapping since my church days. I tried to dabble around in Afrobeats, but it just wasn’t clicking for me at the time. But in 2018, when I met D’Prince, I kept working on myself.

So when I was given Afrobeats instrumentals, I gave my all to make sure I crack this sound. And in that push and hustle, there was an unlocking and I unlocked something with that drive, because I didn’t want to go back home saying I didn’t get the chance or I didn’t get the opportunity to lock in. My sound just evolved over time. I listened to whatever my sister or my brother was playing, from D’Banj to Victor Uwaifo to Fela [Kuti] to Wizkid to Davido and Burna Boy. My brother played a lot of Burna Boy. I listened to a lot of hip-hop, gospel hip-hop too. I listened to rock… I listened to everything! But yeah, over time, everything gravitated towards this person everybody knows right now. I listen to a lot of calm music now, music that soothes my soul. All in all, though, my personality, my state of mind, that’s what bred this sound more than any musical influence.

It’s tied to my personality and my spirit, not just my ears and music taste.”

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