Wande Coal- Mo’Hits to Black Diamond
If you’ve ever listened to Wande Coal then you’ll know that his sound isn’t ordinary. His style of music, which embodies a cross between RnB and Afro beats, never gets old!
The first impression of the musician was hilarious; he’s a happy chap who randomly starts dancing and singing at odd times. He walked into the studio, and immediately took himself on a tour round the place with a huge grin on his face. The most captivating part of his character as he walked was his sudden movements accompanied by his boyish nature, which made it really hard not to laugh.
On a chilled Sunday afternoon in Abuja, Guardian Life had an interesting chat with Wande Coal who talks about his transition from Mo’Hits, to Mavin Records and finally Black Diamond. He also gives us some interesting facts you probably don’t know about him!
Before the Wande Coal persona, he was known as Oluwatobi Wande Ojosipe from Ijaniki and Mushin who spent most of his time entertaining his peers at Federal Government School, Ijaniki. Music had always been on the agenda from a young age. When he recalls being in the choir from the age of five and his days in high school, he adds, “I had to dance in front of the whole school because I had to build my rep; people never knew I could dance so I gave it a chance on stage.”
After high school, he went to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) where he describes singing and dancing in the hostels to “make ends meet”. His journey to stardom officially started when Don Jazzy and Dbanj performed at his school. He explains, “I was in UNILAG when Don Jazzy and D’banj came to school to perform and a couple of friends and I just wanted to entertain them backstage before they went on stage, so we started singing and my life became so serious after that.”
Mo’Hits to Mavin Records
When Wande Coal entered into the Mo’Hits family he had this lover boy charm about his music, particularly Ololufe, which catapulted him into the limelight. In 2009 Wande Coal released his debut album, Mushin to Mo’Hits, which is notorious for its back-to-back hits, from You Bad to Taboo to Kiss Your Hand and won several awards. These included the African Artist of the Year in the Ghana Music Awards 2010 and Artist of the Year at the 2010 Hip Hop World Awards.
At the time, working under Mo’Hits with Don Jazzy and D’banj was a bonus as he fit right into the Mo’Hits family. The team dominated the scene with memorable songs such as Booty Call, Pere and Close to You. He talks about his role in the label when he says, “Back then, I used to write for everyone, a lot of songs I wrote back then many people don’t know.”
Subsequently, things went downhill after a dispute between Dbanj and Don Jazzy. While Dbanj signed to the famous American rapper, Kanye West’s record label, Good Music, he made the decision to leave the team in 2011. Following the split, by 2012, Wande Coal was under Mavin Records with Don Jazzy as the CEO.
Transition to Black Diamond
On September 2014, Wande Coal launched his label, Black Diamond Entertainment with his single, The Kick. According to the artist, “I am the CEO of my own label. The main thing is back then you had to work with others, so you listen and share ideas. Now I call the shots with my own label.”
Recently, he released his latest single Iskaba, which has over three million hits on YouTube, under his label. According to the artist, “My fans have given me a really good reception, it’s doing really well.”
While the artist keeps his fans buzzing with his unique sounds, it’s clear that his style of music has transitioned from the lover boy we once knew to a mainstream sound.
The artist talks about his upcoming album, which is scheduled for release next year. When asked if his fans should be expecting a comeback with his old school love tunes, he says, “These days people want to dance and have fun, so I decided to change it up a bit.”
Moving forward, Wande Coal’s vision includes opening a music academy as well as recruiting more artists into Black Diamond Entertainment.
During the course of the interview, Guardian Life found out a few things about Wande Coal.
“Back then, I used to write for everyone.
A lot of songs I wrote back then,
many people don’t know.”
How did you get the name Wande Coal?
Wande is my real name and Coal is because of my dark colour.
What was the first song you wrote?
At the time I just would beat my chest and sing, Ololufe was the song that put me out there.
Which artist inspired your music career?
It was my 300 level, I remember Tuface came to the school, and everybody went wild. People were on him, and he came to one of the hostels and he sang. In my mind I was like wow, I want this too. I have always been a big fan of Tuface.
Who were you a backup singer for?
I started off as a learner, I used to be backup singer to D’banj and we would go on trips together until I became a main artist.
How did D’banj treat you as a boss?
He was a militant! But in a good way, he was always positively driven and I learnt a lot from him.
Word on the street is that Nigerian artists are mimicking Ghanaian sound. What do you think about that?
I look at Ghana and Nigeria like Canadians and Americans. They are family, so both of us have something, but a fusion of it is what creates the sound. We speak Pigeon, they also speak Pigeon so they can flow with us, and I would say both of us rub off on each other.
Who are your main industry guys ?
My guys are many, I’m that guy that hangs out with everyone. Just to mention a few, Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy and Flavour.
What is your favourite album of all time?
The Konvicted Akon album and Face 2 Face Tuface album were my main inspirations.
What’s your dream location and with who?
If I could be anywhere I would be in America, particularly Atlanta because it has a music vibe. I would be in the studio with Jazzy Fizzle or Wiz Khalifa.
What do you do in your spare time?
I play basketball; I’m usually the point guard when I go with my guys. I also swim sometimes.
Choose between Ghanian or Nigerian jollof?
I love both of them so there’s a problem, I can never choose which one I like better!
Favourite series at the moment
I am in love with Power, I’m actually watching it right now and Ghost is my favourite character.