The New Era of Joeboy
Following past successes, Nigerian artist Joeboy speaks on navigating negativity, growth, and what to expect in his new phase.
Interview by Ify Obi
Photos by Amarachi Nwosu
“If you eat Jollof Rice everyday, you are bound to get tired of it.“ It’s really delicious food but you can’t have it all the time” says Nigerian artist, Joeboy. For the 25-year-old singer and songwriter, evolution is a necessary step for growth that gives room for realizing different facets of creativity.
Nowadays, you are more likely to find the artist shifting away from the formula that landed him on the world’s radar with the 2019 hit single, “Baby” as well as subsequent hits like “Call, “Sip (Alcohol),“ and ”Nobody “. A formula that saw him quickly rise to prominence as one of the young leading voices in African music.
“Music is dynamic so you can always mix it up. It’s not like one plus one equals to two. You can always finesse it to bring out many different sounds from different areas so why would you limit yourself?” Joeboy says. It is this understanding that informed the new approach in his latest release, “Likkle Riddim“, a dancehall-inspired single off his forthcoming sophomore album. The single offers a sharp contrast to the sugary pop anthems that lined his 2021 debut album, Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic.
Being a public figure is not a bed of rosesJoeboy
With the release of “Cubana” earlier in the year, Joeboy ushered fans and onlookers into a new era marked by a renewed sense of freedom and a unique expression of his being that transcends music. “I’m in a very experimental phase right now,” he explains. The artist prioritizes room for “edginess” and “risk” when it comes to his outward presentation, be it through music, fashion or his lifestyle choices. “I love doing stuff that makes my heart beat. My manager is tired of me because I keep persuading her to do crazy stuff. We’ve gone out to the sea, we’ve gone skydiving and paragliding.” This has also been a means of navigating the pressure, rigors, and often time negativity, that come with success.
If there are aliens out there, they need to be dancing to my music tooJoeboy
“Being a public figure is not a bed of roses,” he says. “People always come at you for no reason. Earlier in my career, it used to get to me like ‘Wetin I do you bro? Why are you coming for me? I’m just making music.’ I now understand it to be something that comes with the territory.” This view has helped shape his perspective on the purpose of his artistry. As the Nigerian music industry continues to take up space within the global music market, he sees himself serving as the harbinger of warmth and positivity. “There’s so much negativity out there. When all is said and done, I just want to be remembered as someone who came with a lot of positive vibes. I want people to see my face and feel good.”
After conquering the continent, he hopes to make his way into the current sensational K-Pop universe and eventually set sights on other genres in the music landscape. “If there are aliens out there, they need to be dancing to my music too,” he says jokingly.
The African music industry as a whole is undoubtedly growing to new heights with each generation of artists. For those coming after him, Joeboy advises “to keep moving. Everything is temporary to be honest. It comes and it goes. Even if you are feeling down at this point, you can’t feel down forever, so try not to stress over things that you can’t control.”
Watch his latest music video “Likkle Riddim” or read more interviews on MU Stories.
Production Coordinator: Vanessa Dos Santos
Videography: Israel Alao