Olawepo Benjamin Opeyemi, that’s his real name, but known in the music circle as Ben 7, he is one crooner punching above his weight.
Despite being young and talented, he already has what most artistes’ dream of – an international collaboration. When news broke last week of his collaboration with US rapper and super producer, Breadboi, ENCOMIUM Weekly reached out to him on it. In this chat, he spoke on it and much more…
First, what’s the latest with you?
I have a song out now entitled Akorede featuring Oritsefemi. People like the song. I just returned from a tour. Good things are happening,
There’s a story buzzing on social media and blogs that you featured American rapper, Breadboi. How true is that?
Yes, it’s true.
How did you come about that?
He just listened to a freestyle I dropped online entitled Untouchable and he liked it. He then asked me to send a track so he could jump on it. I did, I sent him Dem Know and that’s it.
How does it feel joining the league of Nigerian artistes with international collaborations?
I really feel blessed. I don’t believe it’s about how much money they pump into an artiste, but his talent. There are many artistes that their labels have invested a lot money into but are yet to break through to the top. I believe if you make good music, you put your heart to it and keep praying, everything will work out. I feel blessed and I thank God. To fellow artistes, I’ll say keep believing, keep doing your thing and do not look at the success of other artistes and be discouraged. Your time will come. I believe this is my time, let it shine!
What has changed about you since your hard work started bringing in results?
If you listen to me now, I mentioned my Military Gang. Before now, there was nothing like that.
What has changed about you since your hard work started paying off?
If you listen to me now, you hear me mention Military Gang, that’s my crew.
Before now, there was nothing like that. Also, one thing that has really changed about me is that since I started working with my current manager, he has re-packaged me. He got me proper PR, he put together the Military Gang crew and doing the right promotion. Now, I feel I’m in the right hands and I’m good to go.
Another thing is the kind of songs we drop now. When I’m recording, my manager is there giving me the ginger because he wants me to give my fans what they deserve. The songs I drop now are dope and my
fans love them.
There are a lot of young artistes like you out there, what do you bring to the table that’d make you get to the top?
All I will say is that many are called, but few are chosen. For instance, there are many traders in this area, but not all of them will sell all their wares. Some will, others will not. For me, I know I have what it takes. I do my business and I don’t care about what other artistes do. I’m about giving my fans good music. I believe my music will speak for me.
Tell us about your music style?
I do all kinds of music, except country music. But the genres I flow effortlessly in afro dance hall, afro hip hop and afro beat. I was born here in Lagos, and I grew up listening to Fela and Bob Marley a lot, so I
do raggae quite well.
What influences the theme of the songs you write?
I would say what happens my surrounding, what goes on around me, my life basically. I have listened to Fela a lot and learnt from him, so I sing about what’s happening around me. Most times, I observe what’s going on in my surrounding and I do a song based on that.
Since you’ve been in music, what has been the reaction of your fans?
At first, many didn’t believe in me. They didn’t think I came into music to stay, even after I dropped Kilode which I featured Terry G, they heard about me, but most didn’t believe I had what it takes. But I kept working, releasing songs in different styles. I even did a highlife song so I could show I could do good music. But one problem I faced was they say I sounded like Wizkid. They say that till now. I kept pushing, those that really love me and God are the reason I’m here today.
Is it deliberate that you sound like Wizkid, young artistes sometimes deliberately do that so they could ride on the wave of the bigger stars?
No, it wasn’t deliberate. I listen to Wizkid just like everybody else. Who doesn’t listen to his songs? But that doesn’t mean I would deliberately want to sound like him. I sound like myself, not like anybody else.
What’s the craziest thing a female fan has done to you?
That would be what happened at the last Felabration. I was on stage performing my song, Leave Me Like That, then a lady from the audience just threw her bra at me. I docked to avoid it and kept on performing. It was crazy. But big shout to the ladies, I love you all. Keep showing me the love, I like it. I do music for them, it’s all love.
Are you saying you really like ladies?
Of course! I like ladies, everybody does, don’t you?
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
I’m dropping my next single in early August, and after that is Dem Know which features American artiste Breadboi, also in August. After that, I will just hold on for a while and see how things work out. I have a surprise after that.
How much support do you get from your parents, considering that your father is a pastor and you are doing secular music?
Now, I’m doing well, so what do you expect? It’s prayer! They keep praying for me. Every weekend they call me, they tell me they believe in me, and I should keep doing what I’m doing. Now, they support me. But it had not always been like that. At first, my dad, especially, was against me singing secular songs as a pastor’s son. My mom kept trying to convince him to allow me. I made him understand that because he’s a pastor doesn’t mean I would become one. I chose what I want to do with my life,
But I won’t go against the will of God. I made him see that the fact that I want to do secular music doesn’t mean I’m a bad child or anything like that. He said if I could pass my SSCE exams, he would allow me, which I did in flying colours with As and Bs all through. So, I was able to convince him, he agreed and he’s still praying for me.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Benjamin Ola. I’m from Kwara state, but was born here in Lagos on July 31, 1996 and I grew up in Ogun state. I’m a pastor’s son, while my mom is a trader. I’m signed to Jebon Records, the military gang crew.
Finally, by 2020 where would Ben 7 as an artiste be?
By 2020, before you mention the best artistes from Africa, You’d mention my name. Write that down! If by 2020, you are mentioning the best artistes in Africa and you don’t call Ben 7, you are a novice. I am speaking for myself. Ben 7 is going to be the best among the best in Africa.