Nigerian Music Industry Not Fair to Up-and-Coming Musicians - Singer, Priesst

27 December 2022

Priesst, best known for his second official single titled 'Puff-Puff Pass' featuring Falz, shares what it takes to break into the Nigerian music industry.

Afro-pop and rap sensation, Caleb Odugbose, popularly known as Priesst, is a fast-rising Nigerian singer best known for his second official single titled 'Puff-Puff Pass' featuring Falz, released in September.

Priesst, whose parents are clerics, kicked off his official musical career against all odds in 2014.

In this interview, he speaks about his foray into music and how he hopes to impact his fans with his music.

Excerpts:

PT: How did you come about the stage name, Priest?

PRIESST: A movie. "Superfly".

PT: Tell us more about your background.

PRIESST: I hail from Ogun State and was born into a family of six. My dad is a pastor, and I am the last child. I'm currently schooling at the University of Abuja and in my final year, studying Political Science and International Relations.

PT: Let's hear more about your music career.

PRIESST: I got into music unexpectedly. My dad is a pastor, so I was in the church choir playing the drum, playing the keyboards, and switching both when there was no one to play the other instrument. I was never into music, especially rap. My dad should never hear me rap, that kind of stuff.

I was more of a songwriter. At first, I would write for my friends; then, in secondary school, they would use what I wrote to flow and get the audience. So, before I ventured into it, I knew it was something I liked because seeing someone using my piece to wow the audience has always made me feel like I got this! But I couldn't come out to the forefront.

PT: Were you shy?

PRIESST: Maybe a mixture of shyness and more of - I don't know what my dad would say.

PT: So, what does he say now?

PRIESST: At first, he wasn't in support. I was hiding it from home up until now, that he is aware. But I don't know if he's in complete sync with it.

PT: As a talented singer whose father shouldn't know about his craft, how did that make you feel?

PRIESST: I was scared. I was ready to let go and not even make the music. I was good with that.

PT: So, you're not the typical rebel child of a pastor?

PRIESST: I Think I wasn't, then. But, I think I am now.

PT: What genre of music do you do?

PRIESST: I have been singing Afro-pop since 2016. People classify Afro-Pop as a type of Afrobeats and a touch of Hip-Hop. While some call Afro-Pop Afrobeats, I think I'd go for the first, which is the blend of the popular Afrobeats with a touch of Hip-Hop.

PT: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

PRIESST: I think it depends on what I want to write about, but it is mostly from sad moods... that's weird!

PT: Who do you sing for now? Who is your audience?

PRIESST: The ladies. To become more successful in the Nigerian music industry, you must have a solid female base.

PT: What are your thoughts about the Nigerian music industry?

PRIESST: It does not favour up-and-coming artists. But I think, generally, this Yoruba proverb says, "olowomamba olowo re". It means "the rich rolls with the rich, the poor rolls with the poor.

One thing that has affected me the most is fake promises. That stuff is painful! It just gets your hopes high... somebody texted you that they would do this and that; you try to follow up for months, and that's just it. I think it is painful. If you can't do it, don't promise it.

PT: Have you been able to work with any of the big names in the industry?

PRIESST: Well, I have a couple I'm grateful for, the likes of Falz and Dremo. I love Don Jazzy, and it is even beyond singing with him. I feel like he can make me the best version of myself. I'm open to that.

PT: Thoughts on the 2023 elections?

PRIESST: I would be sincere, not to impose my choice on anybody - I'm also a political scientist, that's what I'm studying--more of an aspiring one. I've listened to all of them speak. I feel like there's something about being obedient. I can hear this intentionality - he (Peter Obi) wants to fix the country.

PT: Do you think he can fix the country?

PRIESST: Well, it isn't easy. I'm still listening to him. I don't want to follow the trend. I'm still listening to Peter Obi, but so far, so good.

Click HERE to watch Priest's interview, where he freestyled and rhymed like never before.

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