From just dropping the cover to a popular song like he’d always done, his stock has risen so much he won Revelation of the Year in Africa at AFRIMA 2015 just last month – a truly remarkable rise! The crooning visual artist is such a breath of fresh air in Nigerian music as he serves his fans with a sweet blend of pop and highlife which leaves them in the clouds.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s MICHAEL NWOKIKE, he took us into his world, what makes him unique and takes us down memory lane…
How did music start for you?
That was about 15 years ago when me and a couple of friends formed a band. The goal and the drive was to make good music. Though it didn’t work out well,
I thank God that, I kept at it, kept doing music alone.
How much success has Sade brought you?
I’ve won several awards with the song. I even got a land. Sade is actually my story. I was toasting this Sade girl some three years ago and she kept turning me down, I literally begged her.
What would you attribute your success so far to?
I’ve always had the zeal to make good music, since about 15 years ago like I said, but it’s just hard work and God.
You’ve dropped two hit singles, won a number of awards, what’s the next step for you at this point?
I’ll be dropping more singles, and I’m already working on my album. I’m working on a couple of collaborations which I’d be dropping soon. I’m so excited, it’s a great thing for me. I’d be releasing a song before the end of the year by God’s grace.
What’s the song called?
I can’t reveal that now, but just expect it and I hope you would like it.
While you were creating Sade, what was going through your mind and did you envisage the success it went on to achieve?
Trust me, it was just a regular cover. I had been dropping covers before Sade. For Sade, I just thought I should try a new sound as I was doing something entirely different before that, that’s hip hop and RnB. But I wanted something new. I decided to make music in a different genre. I thought I could bring together two genres of music that I like – pop and highlife – to create something new, which I call urban highlife. Interestingly, I had written Orente before Sade, but I thought I should put out Sade to see how the world would enjoy it since it’s a new sound. And you’d agree with me that they did.
How do you define your sound?
Like I said, it’s a combination of pop and highlife and I call it urban highlife, and you’d agree with me that it’s different. I’m one of those few that’s not afraid to do what’s African.
You tend to do love themed songs, what inspires that?
I’m a storyteller, I love to tell stories and I’m sure you can tell from our conversation. Sade was my story, while Orente is every good girl’s story. I realised that there were not a lot of songs that praise the good girls, what we have are songs that praise the other kind of girls, if you know what I mean. So, I thought, let me give them a voice, that’s why I wrote Orente. Similarly, I’d be dropping love songs, some not love songs but contain good stories. Things around me, my story and things that people are going through, relatable stories inspire me.
What drives Adekunle Gold?
I’m goal-oriented. I have my eyes on the prize. I know where I’m headed. I want to be up there in Africa as one guy that makes good sound, one guy that’s created one genre that’s not been heard before. That drives me!
You strike me as one creative artiste who does a lot of thinking…
Yeah, I do a lot of thinking. What have I not thought about? What have people not thought about? What are people not saying yet? I think about these.
You’d agree with me that Sade and Orente are stories around you, but told differently. A lot of people say they like the honesty in Sade, I practically went all out begging the girl on the song, because that’s what I actually did some three years ago.
Have you ever felt like the odd one out in the midst of the other YBNL artistes?
If I have ever felt that way, I wouldn’t have dropped Sade, because as at the time, it was like a wrong time. I mean, it was a time when the industry was saturated with a lot of banging songs, you know what I mean.
And I could go on and on to sing the praise of YBNL and, of course, Olamide. I’ve not felt odd at all, because they love my sound and they respect me, it’s been an interesting one for me.
Tell us, who’s Adekunle Gold the person behind the artiste?
Adekunle Gold is that guy that gets nervous, he’s shy. I talk a lot and I make friends very fast; like in a snap! I’m always about ‘I need to make this work, I need to get this right’. I trust a lot, Adekunle Gold is just a cool guy, really.
Aside singing, I’m a visual artist, you can tell from the kind of things I wear. And I’m an African!
When you want to get creative and birth ideas, what do you do?
It doesn’t come to me like let me get creative, no! I could see something and it would inspire something. I mean, like the way this person is sitting, the way that person is looking could inspire something. God has blessed me with a mind to be able to do that.
What has 2015 been like for you?
Oh, it’s been an amazing year, this is the year that God announced me. And I pray it doesn’t end. I’ve won awards, even on the African continent. By God’s grace, I’ll have three singles this year.
What are your projections for 2016?
I will drop an album by God’s grace, I’m looking forward to that. Also, I’d announce endorsements, Amen!
Who are the artistes you’re looking to work with on the album?
Number one person, Asa; number two person, Asa, number three still Asa, I just love her. Also, I love and will want to work with Brymo, Simi, Olamide Badoo.
10 years from now, where do you see yourself?
Adekunle Gold, by God’s grace, would be one of Africa’s finest, be known all around the world and my music will heal people, my music will touch people. In a few months, a number of people called to tell me Sade helped them get a girl; Sade has helped a lot of guys get girls; also husbands praise their wives with Orente, so my music is healing and motivating. That’s the kind of thing I want to be doing. In 10 years, Adekunle Gold would be a household name all over the world.
Finally, what’s your message to your fans?
Keep doing what you’re doing, scratch that. Don’t keep doing what you are doing, instead become better at it, it’s not enough to keep doing what you’re doing. A lot of people say I just came out of nowhere and I just laugh, I didn’t come out of nowhere, I’ve been there.
One thing is people will tell you that you’re not good enough, they’ve said so to me and even worse. But you need to know deep down in your heart that you can do it. It’s all God, hold on to Him and do not faint.