DOTTi is a talented musician from Lagos, Nigeria.
The artist is currently leading the race to win the coveted #MTNYelloStar contest.
Hi, Dotti! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
Right now, I’m in a really good mood. I just finished a bowl of rice. My name is Okeowo Oladotun Alani Osuolale Abdulrofiu. It’s easier for all of us if you call me DOTTi. I grew up in Badagry, Lagos but moved to Ibadan in 2011. Eight years later, I’m back here in Lagos. I’m a singer and songwriter. Studied Music Technology at The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Well, the lockdown was a crazy period for me, ‘cos I actually fell sick and I was scared. It was typhoid fever. I’m obviously better now.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was fun but it was also boring. I didn’t play as much football as I’d love to as a child. It was also a lot of church activities. Music was the best thing about my growing up. I grew up in a town called Magbon in Badagry, Lagos. So, my dad was polygamous. At the time I was born, I was number 12. Around the time of my conception, my family had to move from Kano during the crisis. Settling in the South West was not particularly easy for them. I had to live with my mum’s aunt since age 3. And that’s how my music journey started.
What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
The one I can remember is definitely was Benita’s Osemudiemen. I was spellbound ‘cos I saw she was just a child like me. Man, I listened to everything on the radio plus a lot of C&S Ayo Ni. But I used to love Lemar, Craig David, and John Legend before my taste palette expanded.
Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Yes oh, my first song sounded like an Ayo Ni composition.
When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
I wrote my first song at age 6, made a parody of Craig David’s ‘So Unbelievable’ and I’ve been writing ever since. I didn’t think I was going to take music seriously but I knew it was what I am best at. I took it seriously during my last year in secondary school.
Who & what inspires you to make music now?
Well, I like to interact yet I fail at being sanguine. I make music as a way of letting people into my space. I’m hugely inspired by Mali Music, Fatoumata Diawara, and Adeolu Akinsanya.
Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
Yes, I play the piano and Agbamole [laughs]. Yeah I can produce and I don’t engineer myself. I’m usually involved in the whole music creation process.
When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
Well, I usually have one motif looping in my head and then I allow it go the direction it wants to go. I just follow. Man, I don’t try to get myself in the mood oh. if something is not working, I leave it. But, the need to change my economic status gets me in the mood.
Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
Well, I like to make functional music.
Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
Yeah. There’s this regular Jazz gig we run at Bogobiri House. Since lockdown, we never run am again sha.
How is support from your family regarding your music?
I’ve been away from home, they didn’t really have as to my music. I’m not sure about their support, I can’t lie.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist?
You know na – it’s mostly funding.
Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
Well, you see ehn. I’d like to be signed to a label at this point cos of their plug-ins.
What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
Omo no man is an island.
Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
Well. I’m a minimalist. Chuck Dipupo is my stylist.
How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
You know releasing is like the enemy of most creatives. Well, I’m presently working on an EP. But the most important thing right now is that I’m presently a top-13 finalist on MTN YelloStar and I need the support of the whole of Nigeria.
Any projects coming soon?
My next project is titled Mide – a Yoruba word that means I have come.
If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
Build a new chariot but make sure it works.
What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like?
I want to have been able to positively influence a generation. That is these people would listen to my music and be better generally.
Would you take a 9 to 5 job to supplement your income – do you currently have a job – or do you do music full-time?
Nah. No 9 to 5 for me. I do music full-time.
Where can people reach you on all platforms ?
My handle is @callme_dotti across all platforms.