WHYTEPATCH: With Music, Success Always Finds Dedication
British-based Nigerian singer, rapper, prolific songwriter and Grammy Award nominee dance/Afrobeats producer; SegunOlufowobi (also known as WHYTEPATCH) is best known in Europe where he peaked the dance charts at number 2 with a dance tune titled “See You Dance’ ft. Andriah Arrindell”.
Catching up with him at a studio in Lagos, he speaks to Guardian Life about returning to his first love, music, his dream collaborations and his EP ‘Dust Off’ E.P.
Tell us about your foray into music and why you came back home?
I started out with gospel music. I schooled here in Nigeria and used to play the mouth organ and drum. This was my early exposure to music, and I loved it. When I moved to the U.K, I followed a friend to the studio one day and after a while; I started to write lyrics, songs and manage female artistes. I used to make gospel music but it wasn’t very popular so I switched to house music and one of my songs then rose to the number 2 spot in Europe. It was almost there but not just there.
I have been in and out of Nigeria for a while now, but I’m back home right now to expose my music project to the world, which I’m currently working on. My E.P “Dust Off” is here and I want to share it with Nigerians. I have come a long way, over 30 years in the game.
A number of your videos were shot here in Lagos. What was your experience like and do you think the Nigerian market has wider music reach for you?
There is a lot of untapped talent here and I said to myself that this is a great place to tap outstanding talent and shoot my video at the same time. We have good places to shoot abroad, but the talent here is phenomenal. You don’t need a big place to shoot when you have the talent that we have here; I knew this was the place to be, especially with the budget I had. I came back also because this is my root. I’m Yoruba. I appreciate Afrobeats and I felt coming here first, as my base is the right thing to do. More importantly, I want to share my gifts with Nigerians first and foremost before taking it around the world.
How would you say being a Grammy nominee has helped shape your career as a musician and producer?
The Grammy nomination came when I was working with a group called Five Star and I worked on a project for the lead singer of the group. I will say it gave me a bit of leverage and made me realised who I am.
What inspired this present E.P?
This E.P has taken a long time to get here, coupled with a lot of obstacles on the way, so I am telling myself that whatever challenges come along the way, I’m just going to dust it off. Most of the songs on it are about positivity. If you have a dream, don’t let it slip no matter what. I want the songs to inspire people, and that is what inspired me.
Most people assume some genres of music are for very young people. Do you share this opinion?
Music has nothing to do with age; it is a being in itself and speaks to all ages of people across different genres and classes. Age is not a barrier to music in any way. I have different songs on the E.P. that are DJ mix worthy, radio worthy and TV worthy. There is an amapiano remix on the E.P, which is already making waves in clubs, and we all know amapiano is hot right now.
How would you assess the music industry here compared to where you’re coming from?
Nigerian artistes are very consistent and put in the work and effort. A few years ago, Nigerian music wasn’t appreciated abroad but because of the consistency of these stars, our artistes are now known all over the world. What this simply means is that success always finds dedication. Our music stars are going in the right direction and are hot all over the world.
What would you say to other people on this journey?
I would say if you have a talent, focus and keep at it. Be diligent, hardworking, prayerful and doors would be open along the way. That is what I tell myself too as well. I have faced a lot of challenges along this journey, but I have refused to completely give up. I temporarily gave it up three years ago, but I came back as myself. Once you believe in yourself, others would start believing in you as well. Put in the time, effort, sweat and things would work out.