After his last solo album ‘Yahoozee’ dropped, Nigerian pop singer Olu Maintain reigned for a couple of years with the humongous single and a corresponding dance routine, and in return received accolades and rose to the top of the chain. But soon after, he made a sharp fall and disappeared from the music scene.
He’s back again with a brand new single ‘NAWTi’ and a video that has received over 300,000 views since its release in January. In this interview with Adesope Olajide of Factory 78, Olu talks about how he created his previous hit, why the Kentro World does not exist anymore and what he plans to do with his upcoming album ‘Chosen One’.
Let’s talk about your plans for this year
It’s been busy, it’s will be an exhibition year. I started on a very high note and intend to finish on the same note. I took some time out to reflect on my works so I can give my fans a hit. I want to thank my fans because of the hit on YouTube.
What’s the news about Kentro World?
Well I would say that the guys are very young guys whom I took as my brothers, and I believe the best way to contribute to a man’s life is not by giving him fish, but by teaching him how to fish. We are all humans and everybody has plans. They told me they wanted to do their own project and I never condemned that, but one of them, BONDO KRAZY insisted on staying with me, and that explains why he is the only one in the NAWTi video. We shot the video in Los Angeles and Chicago. To the other guys, I wish them well.
Tell us about your beginning in the industry?
The history is quite interesting. The dawn of this afro hip-hop as we celebrate it today came up with a song ‘Shakomo’ by the Remedies in 1997. Then remedies went on tour, in 1998 we recorded Domitila, and in 1999 we did Omotoyosi, but by 1999, the remedies split and it was Tony Tetuila having the best time. This gave way for artist like Azadus, Paul Play, Rough Rugged and Raw, Plantation Boys with ‘Omode meta n sere’, and in 2000 ‘Nibo lawa ngbelo’, 2001 was ‘Alo Alo’, 2002 I catch cold, ‘Maintain in India’ 2003, 2004 was ‘I’m looking for a wifey’. By 2005, Maintain split up, and in 2006 I recorded ‘Fatima’ and ‘Yahoozee’ but ‘Yahoozee’ didn’t blow up till March 2007. And since then, the rest is history. I saw the industry grow from nothing to what it is today and I’m planning not to go anywhere soon…I’m sorry if that disappoints anybody (laughs)
Tell me about the production of Yahoozee
Yahoozee was recorded under an hour and the studio pay then was 1500 naira, which I couldn’t even afford as at that time. I think it’s fair to say after ‘African queen’, Yahoozee is next when it comes to hit. I think it’s a blessing having such song to my name and it’s also a blessing to see the Former Secretary to the Head of State in America Collin Powell dance to my song. I have also got emails that A-list Jamaican artistes are ready to do a remix on Nawti.
What is the meaning of Nawti?
Natural African Woman Totally Inspiring. It’s necessary we celebrate the creator of life. God gives life and women create it, they give it meaning and the best way to do this is by talking about their beauty, sexiness and essence. That’s what the video tries to pass across.
People raise eyebrow on the fact that there are no Nigerian girls in the video. What can you say about this?
When I heard this, I felt bad because it ridicules my Nigerian girls. Are Nigerian girls not beautiful, gorgeous and astonishing? In fact, there are four Nigerian American born ladies in that video. The girl with the pink is half Nigerian, and the one at the tail end is a Yoruba girl. In fact, that scene was shot in Lagos.
Why did you deviate from the general commercial beat, is it not too risky?
In any field, your first primary objection is to stand out and not get lost in the crowd. I went out of my comfort zone to do something different, something I have not even done before, reggae beat. I know people will appreciate the uniqueness of it. With the views of the video, I want to thank people for appreciating my risk.
Should we expect any dance step for this video? Like Yahoozee
No. We are reserving the dance steps for Bondo crazy’s video.
Thank you so much for granting this interview.
Thank you for allowing me to. Expect more this year.