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FaveSZN… A Voice Full Of Riddims

By Chinonso Ihekire    
18 December 2021   |   4:20 am
I will say that it’s a blessing because at this point, a lot of people are paying attention to Nigeria, paying attention to Africa, paying attention to what we have to offer.

FaveSZN

Her thick black locs stood out across the room, sprouting radiantly from underneath her beanie. “Yeah, I was recording,” she says, flashing a broad smile. The room was bathed with her high-pitched, silky vocals. Within that serene highbrow Lekki axis of Lagos, Godsfavour Chidozie, professionally known as Fave, had been creating vocal elixirs all day. And her mission remains the same as always: to steal hearts and minds with melodies.

Prior to major industry co-signs, as well as a record deal with Mr. Eazi’s EmPawa imprint, Fave was just another young university student bootlegging her career with favours from student-producers.

Within the middle of a pandemic, a viral freestyle brought her under the radar of Afro-fusion rapper/singer, Olamide. That relationship midwived two duets between the duo dubbed, Pon Pon and Want. Now, with several charting songs including the acclaimed love ballads, Beautifully, and the more recent, Baby Riddim, the 21-year-old chanteuse is steadily expanding the league of breathtaking female voices in Nigeria’s music scene.

For Fave, her musical foray has been an emotive, and deeply poetic experience. From her debut dubbed, Me or Mask My Sins (MOMMS), she has charted a course within herself, mapping her discoveries with these vocal documentaries that is her music. And in an era where poetic lyricism is beginning to make a global renaissance, Fave’s musical journaling is definitely at the brink of stardom.

Peering into her iconic rise-to-stardom story, she talks with Guardian Music, detailing her inspirations, creative processes, working with Olamide, curating her debut soundpiece, as well as her never-ending plan to become everyone’s fave!

How does it feel for you coming into the Nigerian music scene at this time?
I will say that it’s a blessing because at this point, a lot of people are paying attention to Nigeria, paying attention to Africa, paying attention to what we have to offer. And in the course of social media too, and the whole digital thing going on, it’s easy to get music across to a lot of people in different places at the same time. Maybe at this point in time, I think it’s a blessing. I wouldn’t have had it happen sooner or later.

Did you envision it?
Saying I wouldn’t have had it happen sooner or later is me trying to say that I do not have any regret. So it’s like if it’s happening at this point in time, there’s a reason why and I don’t want to question that. But I definitely did envision it.

When did you start making music officially?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always just loved to write songs, make melodies and try to sing like other artistes you know.  I mean a couple of songs I listened to while growing up. I listened to Adele a lot while growing up, I listened to Sia, I listened to Sean Paul and I also listened to P-Square while growing up. Just a vast number of people, basically. I was always just trying to listen to different people, different artistes, and what kind of music is appealing to me. I just fell in love with music basically. And I started singing at quite an early age, like 5 or 6. As early as I could write.

When did you write your first song?
Probably at that age too. I would always write songs and show my parents. They were quite encouraging and I was writing gospel songs at the time. That was what I was closer to, and I also wouldn’t want to get a bad comment from my parents if I write a song that is not gospel-like. And I was also in the choir.

When did you start making extra effort?
I can’t say when exactly, but I remember always bringing it up to my parents that I want to go to the studio to record, and stuff like that. That is there anybody they could talk to. So I think I was pretty young to want them to do the whole connection for me. And they like they want me to relax, they don’t want it to affect my education. And yeah, I waited. I don’t think it took anything from me because if I had started at quite an early age, I don’t think it would have been the greatest choice to make. So you know and it probably would have been a distraction at that time. Who knows what would have happened. So, I am taking my time with it because I didn’t see myself starting music officially at the age of 13 or 14 you know. I would rather be more focused.

When was the first record recorded?
I think that was actually 2019; when I was 19. That was my first song and recording, MOMMS.

How did you make the music?
Well, I let it flow. When we were recording MOMMS there was a producer who just happened to be in my school at OAU. So I hit him up, and I said okay that I have this song that I think I want to record finally. And I was like can I come to the studio to record, and he was like yeah sure. And I went over to record. So we recorded it there and he said he was going to mix the song and it was really quick. I kind of rushed him, actually. I was like I just want to put this song out there. I didn’t know anything about putting the song on streaming platforms. It was just audiomack and sound cloud that did it. And he was even trying to advise me at the time, that I should relax, get some money and put it on a streaming platform. And I was like I just want people to hear it first, that who knows what opportunity can come from putting it out here. I don’t have to wait till there’s a big deal in front of me for me to do that. I think I put that out and I started doing a couple of freestyles. Not really freestyles though, but like attempting singing competitions on Instagram, for Coca-Cola. Just those shows that people do on Instagram and Twitter and say people should audition by sending a video of themselves.

Were you ready for it?
I think I just saw an opportunity in front of me to record, because I just got into school. So it’s like I’m finally out of the house and there’s literally a guy that I know. But the studio is here, I don’t have to pay for it. Normally, if you want to record in a proper studio you would have to pay for it, like one or two hours or whatever time you want to record for. But he just said I should come and record. He was like a student producer, so it’s like he’s not charging for people to record at his studio. So it was an opportunity for me and I happened to just come across the beat and I sang a song on it that night. I felt like I should record it, so I hit him up.

How did you come up with the name FaveSZN?
Well, it was Fave at first, but it’s still Fave anyways. It was Fave that I wanted my handle to be, but social media didn’t want that. They said the following words were too small. So I needed something that could probably be associated with it to put at the end. So I think the best I could think of was szn. So my name is Favour, and that is how I got the name Fave.

How did Olamide find you?
It was actually the freestyle on Twitter. I think someone sent it to his dm, and that’s how he messaged me.

What was it like seeing him?
It was great honestly. I wouldn’t say that I saw myself meeting him at the point that I met him because it was such an early period for me you know. It was like 2020, and I started music in 2019. And I’m meeting Olamide 2020, you know it’s crazy. It was like how is this even possible, cos I thought I was supposed to go several steps before I got to meet him and he just happened to see my video and liked how I sang. He liked how my song was, and he decided that we should record. He decided that he should even reach out in the first place. It was just great meeting him. He was chill, there was no crazy pressure. So yeah, he was great in general.

How did you make Pon Pon, and the other songs?
I felt like I could not disappoint. You know it wasn’t planned. I was just there in the studio and Baddo is playing a record and I’m like I’m supposed to be on this record. So it’s like I can’t disappoint even if he possibly plays something I probably don’t like. I have to like it, I have to sing on it and it has been so great. Because I don’t know how many chances I’m going to get. So it is so great that what he played I really loved. It was just crazy, I was singing along with him and I had to, you know, drop my voice on it.

How did he feel when he saw what you did?
I started noticing his reaction when I was still recording my own part. So once I started I could see his reaction. He enjoyed what I was doing so that gave me increased the energy and all.

Do you think it was going to make the album at that time?
I don’t want to make it look like I’m cocky, so I felt like it should be among his selection. I felt like the songs were good enough to be among his selections.

When did you record the song Baby Riddim?
I don’t even know when I recorded the song but it was this year.

What’s the drive behind that one?
Well, it’s a story that I thought of. You know, usually, whether or not something is happening to me, it’s still a thought. It’s still a story that I think of in my head. Sometimes I already have that story, I already have it written out before I now ask myself if it’s actually really related to me. So sometimes I’m not actually inspired by something happening to me at the moment but I might just feel like I should write about that at the time. So I can’t say it was inspired by something happening to me.

How did the whole Empawa deal come through?
I think I got to know Eazi through the freestyle on Twitter, but we only started really talking of late this year before Baby Riddim was put out. So we developed a relationship; he got to understand what I wanted. I think at that time, beautifully had dropped so I was kind of looking forward to figure out what was next for me and stuff like that. So we got to make a deal with Empawa; we got to make a deal with them for the licensing of Baby Riddim.

You have an EP out soon. Are you ready for that?
Yeah. I think I say that I’m ready because my sound definitely has improved. I’ve done a lot as an artiste. If I’ve dropped an EP maybe some months back, it will definitely be different from what I’ve been dropping now. So I’m happy with where I am right now and there are a lot of people, and I also have lots of people’s attention at the moment. And people want to hear more of my sound. So I think I’m pretty confident.

Let’s get personal a bit. What’s your fashion style?
Yes, I like comfortable clothes. I like baggy clothes a lot. So I’m pretty comfortable with them. I love them. I like black on black; grey on grey or grey on black. Just dull colours, but mostly black.

Any celebrity crush?
I can’t think of anybody. Channie the actor; I think he’s nice.

Your top five musicians of all time?
Adele, Sia, Eminem, Celine Dion.

Top three things people don’t know about you?
Yeah, I’m a shy person. I watch a lot of movies, and I think it’s an addiction really.

Finally, what’s the future for Fave?
I would love to take over the world with my music. I don’t think my sound or music is restricted to a particular place or territory. There are different people I want to work with; different sounds I would love to explore. And I want to touch not just a few people with my song but also the entire world. So that’s the way I definitely see myself.

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