‘Nigeria Is Setting Standards For Other Music Industries’
Benjiflow is one of the UK’s most exciting prospects. The North London multi-instrumentalist with Jamaica origin seemingly emerged from nowhere with the infectious rhythm Deep End, making listeners want to dance, to move and to exist louder. A multi-instrumentalist, Benji uses rich harmonies and a subtle, snaking beat as a backdrop to tell a story about who he is. The artiste, who started playing classical piano at age seven, has appeared on Boiler Room London’s Energy series and has also been featured in several UK media outlets including Hypebeast’s Latest Rising Stars in UK Music feature. After unveiling his latest single Can’t Lose via Virgin EMI, he has secured performance slots at festivals, including The Ends. In this Interview with ENIOLA DANIEL, the talented producer, who is currently in Nigeria, spoke on his musical journey and prospects in the Nigerian music industry.
Who exactly is Benjiflo?
I’m Benjiflow; I’m from London town, I’m a Nigerian. I’m a singer, songwriter… just a man of music in this world to create something that makes people’s lives better.
You just mentioned that you are a Nigerian, what’s your connection?
It’s quite funny because the world actually thinks I’m from Nigeria because of the number of times I’ve been here. Actually, I’m a Jamaican and that’s like a shocking thing because obviously, I have family here and I’m here all the time. But my heritage is actually Jamaican.
How easy was it for you transitioning from producing music to becoming a singer?
It was quite easy for me; it was easy because I was always creating ideas for myself. My friends always told me to do music instead of allowing others to take the shine, while I’m on the background producing music. So, one day, I decided to make music with my friends and we made such a jam; a jam nobody else can interpret the way I could. From that point, I made up my mind to give the world something I think they deserve.
What’s the purpose of your current visit to Nigeria?
I’m here to make music; I’m visiting friends and family but music is the main goal. We are also here for a few shows.
Your song Deep End practically set the tone for your music career in terms of acceptance, how did it happen?
Surprisingly, I never thought the song was going to be accepted the way it was. I said to myself, ‘if I want to come out in the world, I want to be myself; I want to be different. I want to stand alone.’ If I was to rate myself, I would try and give myself a 10/10 on the effort, and then we have to let the rest of the people decide if they like the song or not. But it was widely accepted, that’s why I’m in Nigeria because that song resonated in so many different countries. The world accepted it in such a great way and I’m so thankful and so happy.
Deep End highlights the relationship between temptation and desire, what is the idea behind it?
The song is actually about me telling a girl that she can trust in me with all her insecurities, so, it’s quite deep. When you listen to the words, it’s actually talking about a girl. It says, ‘I left my door wide open, True love and devotion, Everything is in motion, I just want to see you out in the open, Baby girl where you rolling. Are you rolling with me? Are you coming in or not?’ That song was done one night; we didn’t think about it too much. Then, a couple of days later, we discovered that it was really good and we decided to put it out.
What is music to you and why are you in the industry?
Music is a universal language; everybody can relate to the melody. So, when you hear a song, no matter what language is in, it resonates in you, no matter the age, no matter what colour or size, and that’s the connection that everybody has. Music is one of the most powerful tools in the world; it connects everybody together and it makes us smile. So, that’s why I feel blessed to be born into music.
Is music in your family?
My dad is a pastor; he has his own album. My auntie sings, my sister sings and my cousin play musical instruments. Every single person in the family either sings or plays an instrument.
One of your reasons for visiting Nigeria is to be part of the music industry. Do you think fans here are ready for your kind of music?
It’s just about being yourself; you can only be different when you are yourself because we’ve been made individually. So, the moment you stop being like somebody else, then that’s when you become the real person you want to be. If you are coming into music and you just be yourself and you don’t try to be like anybody else, that’s when you’ll be accepted because people will really see you for who you really are; that’s also when your music will also be accepted.So, I’m into music to create happiness through my song, hopefully, people will see the message of me being myself and it could be accepted.
How would you describe your brand of music?
My music doesn’t fit into one genre; it’s a feeling. It has influences of many genres, but it’s its own thing. It’s love, happiness, and energy. My music is just groove; you just want to dance and be happy. You want to smile; you repeat the song over and over and over again. But in every song I make, I try and make sure people feel good about every single song.
Can’t Lose is a track you want everyone to listen and dance to, what’s the idea behind it?
When you listen to the song, you will get uplifted. When you play that song, you will smile and your worries get pushed aside. Majority of my songs speak on relationship. Can’t Lose is basically me telling a girl, that if she’s coming with me, there’s no way she can lose.
How many tracks do you have in your latest work?
There are three songs out now and we have an EP coming up in 2020 and that’s why we are here; making bangers on bangers nonstop. Can’t lose is in the market right now and I have the latest one called Somebody, which is out too.
How much do you know the Nigerian music industry?
I listen to everyone’s music in Nigeria; I’m a huge fan of every single person. I think they are amazing; I think they are setting a standard for other music industry. I even think that the industry is better than the American and the UK industry in terms of musicality and rhythm. None can be compared to the Nigerian industry in terms of rhythm; it is amazing. No matter the trouble anyone is going through in their life, when they listen to the music from Nigeria, they dance with joy and happiness and I think that’s the one thing that Nigerian music has over everybody.
Should we be expecting collaborations with Nigeria artistes?
Hundred per cent, but I can’t give out the name now; I’ll be spoiling my surprise if I do that. I still want to keep it under wrap because I like to present things to the audience in a way it will stick forever.