Talented and determined Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel, better known as Yungskillz, though already achieving success at 17, understands the value of education and thus is not allowing his success distract him from graduating with outstanding results in his final exams.
In this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Michael Nwokike, he shares how he copes with a hectic academy activities timetable and being an artiste…
You are so young, why did you decide to do music?
Music has always been a part of me, it’s like my life, passion, everything about me has always been music. I started when I was 11, then any song I heard, I keep singing it. The hottest song then was Yahoozee (by Olu Maintain), I used to do stuff like them. Later, it was D’Banj. I told myself that I can do what this man is doing, but I wasn’t sure of myself. When Wizkid came out, I told myself that this guy is young, I can do this, too. The collection of all these artistes inspired me into music.
How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to do music?
I’m close to my mom, so after I decided within myself, I walked up to her and said: ‘Mom, I love music, I have passion for it. And that’s what I want to do”. She said: ‘Go and face your books’. But with the help of my uncle who had a studio in his house and convinced my parents to allow me, though it was rough at the beginning.
Define your music, what makes you different from every other artiste…
My music style is actually very different from any other artistes. Normally, as an artiste you’d have the artistes you love, what I do is I listen to the songs of the artistes I love. Then I sit back and wonder: ‘what’s the difference between this artiste and that’. I noticed where there are lapses and try to improve it in my own music.
Who are your musical influences both locally and internationally?
Locally, I’ll say D’Banj and Wizkid. Internationally, Wiz Khalifa and Chris Brown.
How many songs have you officially released and how many recorded?
Just one, that’s ‘Fine lady’, which I’ve shot a video for. For the ones recorded but not yet released, I have about five – My mother, Pariwo, Rita dance and Things fall apart.
What’s the response to the video of Fine lady?
The song’s doing fine, actually. People give me kudos and say that they like the song as well as the video.
Apart from the fact that you are still very young, what else makes you unique?
Everything – my name, my style, my appearance. I am me, just being myself. The world should expect the very best from me.
What are you working on currently?
The promotion of my music, that’s ‘Fine lady’. I’m planning on featuring Dammy Krane on a song. I am also working on featuring Ice Prince and Javelin, an upcoming rapper, on a track titled, ‘Loving you’. So, these are the things I am working on and I pray they work out. As you know, man proposes, God disposes.
(Cuts in) How about the song with Dammy Krane, what’s the song called?
The song with Dammy Krane hasn’t got a title yet, because he is someone I would like to sit down with and we think about what we can create.
Now, tell me about yourself…
My name’s Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel Bello, I’m 17 years old and a final year student at St. Joseph Secondary School, Lagos. A hip hop artiste with a difference. I’m the only child of my parents and I’m getting support from them, especially my mom, who is like my everything. I’m a cool headed and calm guy. I hate people looking down on me. I am someone that if you tell me I can’t do something, it’s that thing I’ll try to do until I do it.
How do you cope with the attention you get in school by virtue of you being an artiste?
Actually, I get support from school, too because everywhere I go I represent my school. Also in my interviews I mention my school, that way I’m making them proud. A lot of junior students walk up to me saying they saw me on TV, they saw me here or there. But it is much easier now that I’m in my final year, unlike before.
(Cuts in) But you are ensuring it doesn’t affect your grades…
How about the girls in your class, I’m sure you get attention from them, too?
Yeah, a lot. I do get attention from my classmates, both the guys and the girls. But they also try to kill that vibe so it won’t get into my head. Sometimes, when I start feeling like a superstar, they’d go: ‘What is wrong with you? You are still our classmate’. So, when I’m with them, I don’t try to act like an artiste, I’m just me the student. But the junior students give me a lot of attention, they’d say they want to be friends with me and all that.