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Meet Kelly Bran: The prince of new school Afrobeats

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Kelly Bran

Emerging music star Mustapha Balogun, better known by his stage name, Kelly Bran is poised to carve a space for himself in the vibrant Nigerian music industry. The youngster’s latest track, 20 Years (which features Dr Dolor Entertainment artiste Hotkid), is currently gaining momentum on various music playlists across the nation. In this chat with The Guardian Life, Kelly Bran speaks about his life and music.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
My Name Is Mustapha Balogun, popularly known as Kelly Bran. I’m a recording artist born in Kogi State, Nigeria. I have been honing my musical skills for years now, but due to resources it was hard for me to get my music produced properly done back then. I actually came from an average fair background, my parents loved music so much, I think that was the major factor that influenced my foray into music. I loved to see other people make music and I wanted them to make mine.

What inspires you to make music?
Basically, the everyday hustle and bustle of an average Nigerian inspire my music to a large extent. My parents inspire me too, a major reason is that I want to make them proud.

Your track “20 Years” is quite a hit, how do you plan on following up that success?
I didn’t really expect the song to turn out as well as it did. It had no prior PR plan, I just wanted to put out something because it’s been a while since I released a song but I’m glad it’s been well received. We give thanks to God.

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Following up the record, I will be dishing out a project later this year, an EP precisely. The EP will be worth the wait, I won’t disappoint.

In an industry saturated with new artists, what do you plan on doing differently?
I plan on introducing a new sound, a new blend of Afrobeats and maintaining it because there are lots of music artists trying to sound like Wizkid and Burna Boy lately, shoutout to them, they are the giants of Afrobeats. I’m just trying to stay through to my own sound basically.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself doing my world tour, making more music, impacting lives, selling out concerts. There’s a lot to mention actually but I’ll just stop here for now.

What are your biggest challenges so far?
My major challenge is trying to balance my music business and everyday life. I’m trying to make ends meet without affecting my growth. I’m independent and in no rush to get into a record deal that’ll affect my growth, I’m savouring the moment, learning and growing. It’s preparing me for the big stage and it’s understandable.

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Who would you love to collaborate with before the year runs out?
I’ve collaborated with Hotkid already on my latest single, 20 Years. To be very honest, I just want to focus on owning my sound and make people know me for what I do.

If you could change anything about the Nigerian music industry, what would it be?
I’d change the latest trends by upcoming artists, everyone is trying to sound like the greats, Wizkid and Burna Boy like I mentioned earlier. They don’t know that bringing an original sound will help that career longevity in the Nigerian music industry.

Also, artists feel they don’t owe anybody. I’d like to change that. We all owe society one way or the other. I’d use my music as a tool to empower the youths, especially the Nigerian youths, help them realize that we’re powerful in unity.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself, that is not related to your work.
I’m actually a shy person lol, a lot of people don’t know this. I don’t really like to speak much, I just allow my work to speak for itself.

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In conclusion, the acclaimed record “20 Years” is the first step towards Kelly Bran’s forthcoming project. For months, the youngster has been locked in the creative process, making records for what would be a promising body of work. “It’s titled Welcome to Reality,” he says, revealing that the EP will house five tracks. It’ll have “different characters,” he affirms, hinting at a colourful appropriation of several genres and styles.

Though there’s been no announcement of a release date, Kelly Bran is sure that the project will be out this year. When that happens, lovers of Afro-Pop will no doubt be more aware of Kelly’s music. Until then, it would be great to check out “20 Years” and get familiar with this talented, young musician on his journey for greatness.

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AfrobeatsKelly Bran
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