BEZHIWA Idakwa Emmanuel, popularly known as Bez is the first Nigerian and African Black Entertainment Television (BET) would premiere his video. Bez is very excited and says he is here to stay. With his debut album, Super Sun, he said he would be working with more international acts. Bezhiwa is from Nassarawa State but was born in Jos, Plateau State.
Tell us how your journey began.
My journey began many years ago as a young boy influenced and groomed by a musical environment. I grew up in Jos where a lot happen regarding the arts and the community. My father played the guitar and sang, my mum sang with him, my sisters sang. It was too much to be ignored, I was taught how to play the guitar by my dad at nine and that was the beginning of the dream.
What should we be expecting from you in 2012?
2012 started off with a bang. My debut album, Super Sun, was mentioned on the Boston globe as number three of the Top 10 world music albums. Later on, I became the first African artist to premiere my music video, That Stupid Song on BET internationals 106 and park. I have a speaking engagement at the Africa Business Conference in Harvard in March and we hope to tour America and Europe really soon. There’s a lot going on this year, we will continue to represent Nigeria positively.
So, how did you feel about your video that was premiered on BET?
It was a really great moment and it’s still a great feeling because history was made, and that day shall be referred to a lot of times. It was trending on Twitter for hours and a lot of people kept telling me how proud they were to be Africans and Nigerians. That was success to me.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by God. Every other form of inspiration comes through things He created and the people He has placed in my path to help me. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning with a complete tune and I start writing without thinking, that kind of inspiration is unusual.
How did your parents feel when you started music?
I had embraced music as a hobby all my life, I doubt they saw it coming because even I never saw it coming. But when I decided, my mum saw a strong conviction in me and she trusted it.
Tell us briefly about your educational background.
My primary school was in Jos. I attended two schools, Corona Primary School and Kent Academy, I moved on to Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja. This was where I formed my great network of friends, and till this date, we are some of the closest friends ever. High school is a great foundation for the rest of your life. Finally, I graduated with a degree in Information Communication Technology from Covenant University in 2007.
How do you intend staying at the top with the competition in the music industry?
The competition is even more intense now. We have players from all over the world coming back home to be involved in the industry, but most importantly growth. I will keep doing what I know how to do by learning and constant practice.
Who are your role models?
My role models are ordinary people who rose to have great stories of success and achievement. There are many of them but one of such would be the great Irish band.
What would you call the kind of music you do?
My kind of music is called Alternative Soul. It’s an eclectic sound that fuses hip-hop, soul, R n B, jazz and African sounds. To find your sound you need to experiment a lot, at the end of the day the sound grows into its own.
Apart from the guitar what other musical instrument do you play?
I play the piano and the drums, but not on a professional scale.
So, tell us what it took to put your debut album together?
It took a lot of years, they say your first album is a combination of experiences from your years spent before you release it. We worked hard on it, morning, day and night. We tweaked, deleted, mixed, mastered, got depressed, got happy, tired and a lot more emotions that have no name. You never know where it would go and how it would resonate with listeners, so it’s a tough process.
How many tracks?
It’s 15 tracks.
Who were the artists you featured on your album?
I featured Praiz, Ice Prince, Eva and Eldee.
Are you in a relationship?
Yes, but I don’t want to talk about it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A lot of places, my dream is to tour the world and garner millions of fans through this great tool God has provided, music. In five years, I would have done that, and then a bigger dream will be formed.
Do you plan doing anything with any international artist soon?
Yes, sure. Collaborations opens doors for cultural integration. You learn a lot about people’s way of life through collaborations and a lot of doors can open for you.
How has it been working with Cobhams?
Working with Cobhams has been a blessing, I call him a genius but he doesn’t think he is one. It’s simple, he says, put in a lot of hours into what you do, invest time, invest emotions and resources and see if people don’t call you a genius. That’s a lesson for me and for everyone reading this.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 28, 2012