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Killertunes: I’m Always Hungry To Do More  

By Chinonso Ihekire
18 September 2021   |   4:45 am
It feels good for me. You know that not everybody can get all these artistes I got on the project. It feels amazing that I could put it together and release it.

Among the sound makers pushing the Naija music industry to global spotlight, Otaniyen-uwa Daniel, better known as killertunes, is one that stands out. From writing songs for other artistes in the hearts of Benin City, to becoming one of the most sought-after producers in the industry, Killertunes continues to shape his grass-to-stardom narrative with a consistent cycle of successes.

Having produced some of the biggest songs for artistes such as Wizkid, Mr. Eazi, Timaya, and others, the Edo-indigene has honed a habit of wanting “do more”. And it is this exact yearning that has birthed his debut album dubbed Killaextra, a 13-track sound piece that sees the artiste exit his comfort zone to flush as not just a producer, but a singer and songwriter.

Delving into the Afro-RnB/Neo-pop scene, Killertunes reflects a more emotional and introspective persona with this sound piece. Tapping “Alte” or genre-fluid heavyweights such as Minz, MidastheJagaban, OdunsitheEngine, Kida Kudz, PsychoYp, Lyta, Sha Sha, Walshy Fire, Like Mike, Nissi Ogulu, and AfroBros, he successfully creates a calming, relaxed, yet groovy sound with this project, which this fine league of singers are popular for.

A heavily Gen-Z project, KillaXtra resonates more with less-commercial music circles, but stands its ground for being a composition with value and longevity. Speaking with Guardian Music, the singer touches on his inspirations for the project, his roots as a singer, the rebirth of the Afrobeats industry, as well as making music from anywhere but Lagos.

Congratulations on your new album. How does dropping this project feel for you right now?
It feels good for me. You know that not everybody can get all these artistes I got on the project. It feels amazing that I could put it together and release it.

Not many people know you sing. What’s the motivation?
I just wanted to do more than just producing; I have been producing professionally for more than 10 years now. I just wanted to do something that I have not done before. Most other producers would rather just feature other people throughout on a project, but I just wanted to do something extra. That is why I sang.

Have you been into singing before now?
Yes of course. Roughly 10 years ago, I used to sing way before I started production; I was in a group of singers. It was the necessity that we didn’t have a producer that made me go into music production, and I blew up doing that.

How did you get your breakthrough in music production?
When I blew up, I was producing for Timaya; I used to stay in his house. I produced I Concur for Timaya featuring Don Jazzy; that was the song that blew me up. I was working with DJ Spinall at the time as well. So, through DJ Spinall, I met Wizkid and it just went on like that.

So, what happened with your group?
My group was in Benin, and I had to relocate to Lagos when I started producing; everyone else stayed back in Benin. Now, they are all doing something else. I guess I am still the only one pushing this music thing.

You dropped an EP in 2019, how would you assess your growth so far?
There is growth, especially in the sound. A lot of what we were doing two years ago isn’t what we are even doing now.

What about the choice of messages in your work?
None of them were personal. I just wanted to touch some topics, like Love, ego, pride, and all that. It is not really that personal to me.

On the features, you had access to anyone you wanted, but you focused on the younger acts. Why?
At the beginning, I was trying to give it some Alternative vibes; I didn’t want to make it so commercial. If you notice, it is Alternative/RnB. That was what I wanted to achieve; that was what inspired the features.

Truly, there is an RnB shift in Afrobeats. What do you think is the reason for that?
Yes, sounds change. Two years ago, people were doing Shaku Shaku and different things. Now, there is Amapiano, there is RnB, alternative vibes… it depends on the time. Things change. Sometimes, people like fast music, sometimes they just want to calm down. I just feel this is the period of RnB and calm vibes.

What is your creative process like?  
I don’t think I have a creative process. Sometimes, I just wake up and music is the first thing I do, even before I have my bath. Sometimes, I won’t work for like a week. I don’t think I have a creative process. When making music hits you, you do it, and when it is not there, you just sit it out.

Do you have any other parallel background?
I wanted to do Mass Communication. However, you know how our Nigerian system can be with JAMB and all that. Omo, na so dem push me o; I ended up in Political Science.

At one point, I had to stop and just focus on the music. I was in Open University because I wanted to focus on music to be able to afford to pay for school; that was around 2013.

Who are you currently feeling in the industry?
Right now, I am feeling Tems. I will always be feeling Wizkid, Mr Eazi, Omah Lay, Fireboy, Joeboy and Rema.

On making this project, what was your most memorable moment?
It was working with Walshy Fire and Sha Sha. I was not even expecting them to even respond. When I reached out, they responded; they loved the music and wanted to work with me.

So, what is next for you from here?
I would focus more on producing for others now. I didn’t really do much of that, because I was focused on producing for others. So, looking forward, I am looking into doing more singing and producing next year. And travelling as well; I want to go to Europe and America to make more music.

Is that why you like going to Ghana to make your music?
Trust me, Ghana is peaceful; they won’t disturb you there. The noise in Lagos is too much. Everyone you know is in Lagos, so whenever you are working, there can be 20 or even 50 people in the same room. But in Ghana, there are fewer crowds and it is a very calm vibe.

Finally, you titled this album Killerextra, what does that define for you?
It’s just exactly what I am doing right now more than I used to do. Before I produce to get popularity and feedback; I’m basically doing more than before. I’m singing and producing my own songs now.