YOUNG and talented artist, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Whizkid, might be new in the Nigerian music scene, but his songs are signals that the 20 year-old crooner is going somewhere. At the moment, his single, Don’t Dull, is on top of the musical chart, following closely on the heels of the success of his debut single, Holla at your Boy, which earned him serious recognition.
ENCOMIUM Weekly met the young man on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, and he bared his mind on many issues, including his career and alleged romance with Nollywood actress, Tonto Dike.
How did your career begin?
I started in the church when I was 11. Later, I met OJB and I started going to his studio to learn the musical style of great acts, especially Nigerian artists. Thereafter, I met Naeto C, who taught me how to be a better writer. So, I have a lot of people around me and this actually helped to discover my talent.
What about Banky W, how did you meet him?
I met Banky W a year and a half ago. Our meeting was funny. That day, we were with some other artists like M.I in a room, after a show and we were all gisting. After sometime, someone called my name, Whizkid and Banky asked, ‘Are you Whizkid?’ and I replied, ‘Yes’. He told me he had been looking for me for three months. That was how we met.
What actually inspired your going into music?
I loved music from infancy and I knew I can sing and rap. I started developing my skill and talent. So, music is something I love so much and I am so optimistic.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on my new album. It’s going to be a 10-tracker. By the grace of God, before the end of March, I am dropping the album.
How do you feel about the acceptability of your songs, especially Holla at your Boy and Don’t Dull by Nigerians?
I feel very great and blessed because no artist has ever received such honour I am getting from my fans. The two singles I dropped were hits, topped the musical charts for weeks. Don’t Dull is currently on top of the chart. I am pretty fine right now.
Since your sojourn in the industry, what has been your most memorable experience as a young artist?
I have so many, but the most memorable was my performance at UNILAG. My shirt was torn by fans. The students went haywire when I got on stage. It was crazy. I gave out almost everything I was wearing. I have never seen anybody treated the way I was treated. It was a memorable one for me.
What is the craziest thing a female fan has done to you?
Waoh! I think the craziest thing was when I performed at The Bells University and fans tore my shirt, they ripped off my shirt’s buttons. Two months later, I met a girl who said that she’s my big fan and I was very happy to hear that. She told me that she had my button that she ripped off two months ago at The Bells University show. For a girl to have done that to me, it was a very crazy thing.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Right now, I don’t have a girlfriend. I am seriously single, even though I have a lot of girls around me.
How old are you?
I am 20.
But you’re not too young to have a girlfriend even if you’re not into a serious relationship?
I will say it’s difficult for me to have a girlfriend because I have a lot of them around me. I can’t just start a relationship without proper understanding of what it entails. I need to take my time to study girls and pick what is good for me.
It was very funny when I read it. Tonto Dike is somebody I have not actually met. We only met at a shooting of a video. We became friends on twitter and one day, we were just twittering and she called me her husband and I called her my wife. It was just a joke, we were only joking and everybody started taking it very serious.
What is your relationship with Tonto now?
We are friends, she is a very good friend of mine. Tonto is also my big sister in the industry.
Can you go into a relationship with someone who is older than you?
I don’t really know because age is a number. But I can only date someone who is, at most, a year older and not five, six years older. That is too long. I think it will be good if we wait till the right time because we would really understand the situation well.
Does that mean you can’t date somebody like Tonto because she’s five years older than you?
No! Don’t misquote me. I am not saying I am dating Tonto or I can’t date her. What I am saying is that Tonto is my friend and a sister.
How would you feel if you read something scandalous about you?
I will feel very bad because such scandals, especially when it’s not true, can pollute one’s career and tarnish one’s personality. In fact, I don’t know if journalists do their findings well before going to press. They are after what they want to publish without considering the person’s personality. As a person, scandal weighs me down. At the same time, I have also learnt that such a thing will happen, so I am prepared for it. As for me, I love to read or hear good things about me and not rumours or bad news, like that of Tonto Dike.
You should be in school now?
Yes! I am in my second year at Leed City University (International Relations).
How are you combining school with singing?
It is stressful, especially when you become big at an early stage. It’s difficult to do some things in school. But I am pushing it and it’s going on pretty well.
Who are you looking up to in the industry?
I look up to D’Banj, Don Jazzy and many others. Wande Coal is like my big brother, an inspiration to me and I am also looking up to 2Face. Banky W is my boss and he has done a lot of things for me. I am currently on his record label.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a very reserved and quiet person and I don’t talk too much. I don’t like going out except if I have a show.
What about your family?
I am Ayodeji Balogun. I have three sisters and I am the only boy and the last born in the family. My mum, dad and sisters are very special in my life and I don’t mess around with them. I trust them so much.
How did you come up with the name, Whizkid?
I got the name a long time ago. I have always been a smart kid. Basically, I got the name from one funny incident that I won’t want to talk about because it is a personal thing. So, when I joined the industry, I felt the name is okay and good for me.
Who among the Nigerian artists will you like to have a collaboration with?
Good question! I’ll like to have a collabo with all the artists I have mentioned. It’ll be crazy having all of them in one collabo. For instance, D’Banj is a success story, a legend in the making. He has been in the industry for long and he’s still doing well. Don Jazzy is also great. Before I met him, I used to think that he was an introvert and arrogant, but now, I have realised that he’s humble. The same goes for 2Face. He has been in the industry for more than ten years and he is still consistent. He’s also a legend and a mentor to me. Wande Coal is crazy musically. He has an incredible voice and Banky W is like a godfather to me. So, I will be very happy to have these greats in one collaboration.
Where will you like to see yourself in two years?
Whizkid is going to be a brand everybody will celebrate. I am going to be more than what I am today, aiming for something bigger.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 15, 2011