Know as the Afrobeats Queen, singer and songwriter Duzzi is a force not to be messed with, her music pays tribute to her roots with celebrational and cultural productions that will warm up anyone’s heart and make the hips move. Vanessa Petters had a chance to talk to her about her upcoming projects, her upbringing and more so check out our exclusive interview.
So first thing’s first, tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Oluwagbemisola Theodo Rowland aka Duzzi and I am a singer, songwriter, performer. In all, I am a musician.
How did you know that becoming an entertainer was something that you wanted to do?
In the early stage of my life, I never knew I would take music as a career. My brothers Slasher and Eldon started before me with the single “Oxygen” which I was featured in. I started in the Church but just honesty I didn’t choose music, music chose me.
So you were on project fame? What was that experience like for you?
Project Fame added value and class to my profile. I learned a whole lot but most importantly I learned and picked up amazing work ethic. Which has improved not only the music but every aspect of my life. The Project Fame experience made me understand that music is not a ball game, you always have to be aware of everything around you to be conversant. I made good friends with the likes of Niniola and Immaculate. Above all, it is the experience I cherish the most. Life changing!
So how did you come up with the video concept for ‘Ade’?
ADE in the English language means “CROWN”. I wrote the song in such a way that everyone can relate to it, but my video signifies my purpose. The type of guy I want is the “CROWN” and that’s all. I want the CROWN. I think Unlimted LA interpreted that well.
Certain scenes in the video are eerily similar to Rihanna’s ‘Pour it Up’ Video, what would you say to people who call that a rip-off or unoriginal?
I will tell them that we are all human. An old adage says “there is nothing under the sun that has not happened before” so if they say it looks like Rihanna’s then it does and I completely love it. I would never have done it differently. Don’t you think it looks cool?
What was the hardest part about shooting the “Ade” music video?
The hardest part was the water scene because I had never done that before. To be honest I was super nervous. I waited anxiously before we went on set. it was stressful because I had to do it over and over again, I even took home a few bruises in the process (LOL) but in the end, it was all worth it. I was even shy o (LOL) but I was extremely happy with the result.
So who exactly is “Ade” is he a real man?
Well to me ADE is not a real man. To me “ADE” means “CROWN” and that’s all I aim for. But, we all can make “ADE” be whoever we want it to be as long as it makes you happy.
How was it working with the director “Unlimited LA”?
Unlimited LA is just the best! The man is a perfectionist. He is a mixture of street and funny. He made me understand that your life depends on your video. I learned so much from him. It was so much fun. GOD bless him a lot.
What do you believe sets you apart from other Artists in your genre?
My Vision. I just don’t want to make records that will last 6 months. I want to make music that can’t touch the heart and soul of people listening. Music that makes you happy, makes you dance, even makes you sad I don’t care I just want to bring out some sort of emotion. I also looooove performing. Most especially when I perform live with my band. I connect with my fans and the audience. Let me just say “It is a spiritual something” (LOL).
Are you a signed artist or are you independent and what do you believe the positives and negatives of each is?
I am Happily Signed to 202 Entertainment and I always say it is a home away from home. We share a boneless love, a Legendary Future. Being an Independent artist is not a bad thing, but there’s always a time in one’s life when you need motivation, times when you can not stand alone. A Label will always keep you safe by taking care of your brand and the business so you can focus on only one thing. “Your Music”. An independent artiste, on the other hand, will always worry about being safe. Keyword “Safe”. A lot of artists don’t think it is necessary but it is very essential. So whichever you choose to lean on just Be Safe.
What artist are you dying to work with?
I will love to work with Wizkid, Cynthia Morgan, Davido, Seyi Shay, Burnaboy, Niniola.
What is the definition of a hustle to you?
Hustle is a way of life. It is in relation to survival. Everybody is hustling o. Everybody wants something. It does not necessarily have to be money. Some people hustle for the career, some even hustle for husband (LOL). Hustle to me is working hard/smart without giving up no matter the situation. Someone once told me “being on the street doesn’t make you a hustler, being a hustler is what makes you street and street means being strong”
Who is a really overrated celebrity in your opinion?
Hmm… Is this a setup? (LOL)… Ok, so long as everybody is working, and making good music. I don’t believe in overrated or underrated.
Who inspires you the most musically?
Musically the only Man that inspires me to date is Fela.I love that man because he made African traditional culture live on. I personally love Afro I will do anything for it. I’m so happy Mr. Femi Kuti continued his Legacy and Wizkid is making it relevant especially for the younger ones.
Do you have any celebrity crushes at the moment?
At the Moment I don’t have any Celebrity crush…Afro is my crush and Music is my love
Do you have any notable interests apart from music and entertainment at the moment?
Apart from Music I also love to design/create. I got that from my Lovely Mom Mrs. Florence Rowland who designs most of the clothes I use for shows.I got it from my momma. I love to Create, I love to think of new things that can be produced. I’m simply just a creative mind. I also like cooking but I’m about to learn from the very best My other mama Mrs. Omotosho…she’s the only woman that makes me eat beans with joy (LOL).
Name a pet peeve that you have had for as long as you can remember?
I can never walk on the floor even in the house bare-footed. It irritates me.
If moving to the US to expand your career was an option would you rather live in new york or LA and could you explain either choice?
I would rather live in New York because of the vibe. It almost feels like Lagos. Everybody is up and running, up to something. I love to live amongst people who work hard. I guess we all know the song from Jay Z and Alicia Keys.
What do you believe is the most difficult thing about being an afrobeats musician?
Finding your sound. Afrobeats is very deep and most people just ride the wave of trending sounds. It takes a lot of work and consistency to find your sound, perfect it and own it. It took me a while to find my sound. Thank God for my producers and team. I can say that only a very few artiste have their own sound.
Okay here is a random but interesting question all the same, If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
I don’t believe in such things. I only serve GOD and whatever comes HE will handle it for me. I tell HIM all the time I want to be an example in my generation and I simply just want to happy.
What can we expect to see coming from Duzzi next?
I always say in all my interviews that I never plan I just come like a thief in the night (LOL).
No, but seriously I love to surprise my people. We are all in this together. I have a few projects that are ready and set to drop in due time. Thank you so much for having me. God Bless You All.