Juggernaut… Fresh voice from Black Haus
After years of working behind the scene, Afrobeat musician Seun Kuti has finally unveiled Demilade Egbeolu, otherwise known as Juggernaut, as the first artiste on his label, Black Haus Music. Already, the relationship has seen the release of first single by the artiste entitled Obirin Asiko.
Produced by JG (son of popular Nollywood actress Shan George) with a video shot by Camworld, the track is expected to set the tone for the official release of Juggernaut’s debut album, which will see the young talent travel across the country and beyond for promotion.
Meanwhile, coming on Seun Kuti’s platform, it’s won’t be a surprise to see the young artiste join widely traveled musician and the Egypt 80 Band on one of their numerous international music tours, which has become a regular routine for years now.
Born on July 7, 1981, Juggernaut attended Corona School Gbagada, King’s College Lagos, Babcock University and eventually earned a B.A in Counseling Psychology at E.C.U.A in 2012. His music career took off in 2007 as a member of Triple X, a group made up of himself, Faloads and May D. Though they were able to record a few tracks and performed at campus gigs, the group eventually went separate ways.
“We had a couple of songs back in the days, but the thing about group is that, at the end of the day, everybody is rooting for himself. It gets worst if fans start liking one person than the other person; it has a way of damaging long time relationship. But we didn’t have any fight; we just had an understanding that we should go our separate ways,” he said.
Before his solo career, Juggernaut used to frequent Fela’s Kalakuta in Ikeja, Lagos, where he engaged in freestyle battles with other young talents. It was during one of those sessions that he men Seun Kuti, who saw his raw talent.
“We used to do rap battle among ourselves just to showcase our talents. So, one day, Seun was upstairs listening to us, but we didn’t know. When we finished, he asked me to come up that he likes what I’m doing. From there, we started working together and we are here today,” he enthused.
One would have expected Juggernaut to be an all round Afrobeat artiste like his boss, but the Ogun State native has resolved to chart his own path.
“My stage name is Juggernaut, which means ‘unstoppable force.’ So, I can’t exactly say I rap or sing; all I do is paint pictures on my mind, depending on the inspiration I get. You might hear me in different kinds of ways because of the versatility my character stand for,” he noted.
Notwithstanding, there’s a bit of Afrobeat in the mix.
“Sure, my music is versatile. I’m trying to come to you as a regular Nigerian person; I basically sing more about the things you can relate with. So, yes, there’s Afrobeat in my music,” he affirmed.
When it comes to lyrics, Juggernaut prefers making sense as against seeking commercial viability.
“We just dropped a single Obirin Asiko; it’s music with meaning, not juts the regular Nigerian sounds. I’m trying to educate minds with my music, though it’s not revolution music,” he noted.
For the young artiste, whose deep baritone voice remains his biggest asset, it’s been a long way coming.
“Actually, we were supposed to do this unveiling back in 2014, but on April 5 of the same year, I had a car accident; I almost lost my life. I broke my two legs; it wasn’t easy. I was trapped in the car for more than 3 hours before they could get me out. So, I needed some time to heal properly before we commenced on the project; that was what slowed us down.”
Asked if he’s under pressure to impress as the first artiste on Black Haus, he said, “Well, I’m kind of, but I don’t like to work under pressure. However, it puts me under pressure because of the fan base that I eventually have to satisfy; Seun has fans all over the world. But I try to make a kind of African music that will travel without losing the touch of Africa,” he said.
On what stands him out, he said, “It’s all in the name; my lyrical content gives me an edge. If you sit down and listen to my music three times, you can decide if you want to keep the song or not. Besides, the topics I choose to talk about in my music stands me out from the crowd.”
Though not yet public, there are indications that Juggernaut already collaborated with his boss Seun Kuti on a track, which will form part of his debut album.
“Of course, we’ve done something amazing together, but it’s not yet out. But I can assure you that at the right time; you will get to hear the song. We are ahead in terms of production; so, expect to hear more releases this year.”
Already, there are two albums set for release.
“We have two albums ready, but we need to take our time and drop them one after the other. All the while I was in the hospital till when I was released after three moths, I was writing songs. I was in the wheelchair for about six to seven weeks, used a walker, then walking stick before I got myself back. All these periods, I was writing.
For the young artiste, it was another opportunity to appreciate God’s gift.
“You can imagine being in a private ward all by yourself; I got a lot of inspiration during that period. More importantly, I learnt to enjoy the gift of life,” he enthused.
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