Naomi Rogue runs an Aromatherapy Candle and Healing Crystal Store while working on her music.
Hi, Naomi Rogue! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
Well, I’m actually feeling super fantastic, thank you for asking. I’m Naomi Rogue, though a lot of people still call me Roguebanz, lol. I’m an Afro-centric/Afro Futuristic artist, 23 years old born in Lagos; May 11th and I’m from the Southern Part of Nigeria, Delta State to be precise. I’m presently in Lagos, Nigeria. And the lockdown has been super crazy, I’d mostly say that I’m grateful regardless, because this period has been more like a learning period for me and my craft.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up for me was a roller coaster- I got to see things I don’t think any 4/5 years old should have seen. I grew up with my mum in Surulere, Ore-Ofe, Love Garden was the popular name. It was my grandpa’s crib yeah, never met him though. So basically I was raised by my single mother, had a whole lot of uncles around too, still baby boys at that time. Communication with my dad then was alright, but barely enough for a child and it wasn’t always pleasant. I tried to decipher so many things from a young age of 5, topped that up with waking up to go to school and you see a dead body from last night’s gang fights, crazy shit. Shitta was a rival then to the Street I stayed on and when I was 10, my mum, my cousin and I moved to lju-Ishaga and from there it was a whole lot of moving between Abule-Egba & Agege. My mum is from Rivers and my dad is Delta.
Around age 12, I started getting a lot of backlash cause of my style, I was always in male or big fitting clothes and that didn’t sit well with my dad’s peeps, my mum tried to help me “change” but she always knew cause when other girls were looking for their Barbie dolls from 2/3 she says all I wanted was a ball of any kind to play. Don’t tell anyone, but when I was like 7, one of my Uncles took me to OJB Jezreel’s Studio that was along Gbaja Road in Surulere, I legit met a lot of our very big stars that day, but what stood out the most was that there was this boy with so much energy and he was sent to go buy Amala Shitta, one of the best spots for Amala, dude picked up the plates and went, that person was Wizkid he was like 14, I think he still called himself Lil Prinz then. He went without any fuss and so much joy. Just so fucking crazy how that person is our StarBoy now, lol. That story motivates me like hell.
What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
My earliest music experience would be when I used to stay in Surulere with my mum, I was really tiny, and my mum’s brothers would play whatever Feel Good Music they could lay their hands on every morning. Blaring from the parlor into the backyard, talking about the likes of Fela, Brenda Fassie, Bob Marley, Tracey Chapman, Psquare, Styl Plus, Infinity, UB40(especially my mum), Tuface and so on. Music kept my household together cause anytime there was music, food comes out, everyone’s laughing together and it just sets the morning mood right. From the great names I mentioned earlier, I’d say Reggae, Soul, R&B, there was little bit of jazz music.
Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Oh yes, I had an uncle who tried to chase his dreams in music. He used to write, rap and sing about a whole bunch of stuff. I’ve even used some of his write ups from then to finish some of my works, lol. I never thought about it then of course until a couple more years later.
When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
In 2010 I was in Secondary School, I think I was in SSl then I would cover every Nicki Minaj or Lil Wayne song that was out then. Before then I would sing, rap and harmonize anything but I had my first recording session in Egbeda early 2010. It was a cover, but it was worth every feeling. I think something in me always knew I was going to pursue music or something artsy, cause I wanted to play soccer and you know most African parents would never allow their female child go into that sport, well now that’s changing and I’m glad to see it. I picked up music at the time where I was denied that, went to Science class, but I had my eyes on music and basketball. I started taking music seriously in 2017, although I had recorded a bunch of songs, I had to finish Uni and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to push my music the way I wanted in CU, got my degree and started focusing on my music.
Who & what inspires you to make music now?
Honestly, I’d just say my love for music, because I haven’t seen a soul out there that doesn’t like music or just little nice sounds, which in itself is always enough inspiration to get me creating. I draw my inspiration from Universal Forces around me and from the deepest parts of my mind. My sound is always evolving, but I’d say Burna Boy, Dej Loaf, 6lack, The Marley Brothers (Damian, Stephen and Julian), 50 Cent, Rihanna and so many I can go on cause I love the versatility that comes with Art/Music.
Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
I don’t play the instruments on a professional level but I dabble with them. I love sounds, and I’m learning the Acoustic guitar presently. I also use a MiDi for beat production and that sort. I can produce and engineer myself, shouts to Teemix for teaching me the basic stuff. Very involved ever since I started producing myself, I started taking control of how I wanted my track to sound, but I also leave room for other people’s thought processes.
When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
Firstly, I have to remember not to overthink anything when I’m creating, cause naturally I’m an over thinker lol, and that affects my work process/progress, but once I can get a clear mind, focus, relax and enjoy the present moment. I’d be creating with no break in mind. Ouuu, that’s a very sweet question, I most definitely have to roll up herbs of flowers/leaves for whatever vibe I’m in, light a Serenity Candle; all these I get from Herbs n Art. I clear my environment with a White Sage and then listen to one or two of who I might be channeling. When I’m done with all that, I invite the spirits to guide me and I just create from there. I enjoy the process. If that wasn’t available I’d definitely still create but I love me some good vibes and setting right intentions.
Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
I just create mostly not thinking about anything, whatever and wherever the wind takes me with the sound of the beat or what I’m feeling I just go with it. I don’t like to force a vibe.
Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
Oh yeah, I’ve performed at a couple of events especially as Roguebanz, 2018 I peiformed at AfroVibes Live in Ikeja GRA, LoudnProud Live with Dotman in Surulere, also NYSC Orientation Camp in Lagos, in 2019 I peiformed at A-Town Fest in Anthony Stadium and also Make Music Lagos (World Music Day) at the PGM Club but as Naomi Rogue.
How is support from your family regarding your music?
I’d just say they see the vision and can’t wait for that big break because, I’ve been very adamant about my music since I started taking it seriously. In the beginning it was basically finish school first, finish school first, lol. I did that, got my degree and said to them: no one/nothing can stop me now and went on to face my dreams.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist?
My biggest challenge has to be getting my music, my sound to the right ears, but I believe with necessary steps and investments, I’d be able to achieve that feat.
Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
For real, I’d rather just ride my indie wave. If whatever terms I’m being offered are not favorable to what I can achieve by growing my own thing, little by little, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day. A sponsor would probably be great, someone I can share my vision with and can see what I see. I like to be in charge of my creation, I like to take full control of things, be in the know and stuff like that.
What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
I’ve learnt that both in life and music you keep learning and growing cause that’s the only thing that’s inevitable in life asides from death. No matter how much of a thing we know, there’s always more to know and room for growth. I also have to remind myself that nothing good comes easy.
Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
I’m a Tomboy at least that’s what the general term would be. I love comfy clothes, big things, sweats, casual but clean drip, basically just being me in my kind of clothes. Yes, I have a stylist on most days, that’s BANE she designs custom fits, not like she’s a cloth plug, not like that’s bad, but I fix my wears other times.
How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
As often as I can, but I still don’t like to rush my creations. Yes, as a matter of fact, it’s already titled, putting final touches to my debut project, while preparing promotion materials and resources for said project. Most times promoting my songs, somewhat influences if I’d release the track(s) or not, if I can’t run a little bit of promotion no matter how small, it makes me stall and other times I just go with the vibe and let the Universe cause something to happen.
Any projects coming soon?
GREY is my next project and it was inspired during the lockdown. Lockdown started in March and I just moved into my crib, you know how crazy that can be for young blood just trying to achieve so much, thinking of all the next steps to take, to make funds, grow my brand, and then there was a lockdown. In that space of time, I asked myself if I shouldn’t have just put in all that money for rent into my music and just remained homeless, lol. I was unemotional, steady avoiding attention of any kind, conservative, bluntly neutral to everything and in that period I broke repeating cycles, that wasn’t leading me anywhere, fear, guilt and so many other emotions. I felt matured and protected cause I felt like something new had opened within myself and I started producing tracks I didn’t know would be a major part of me, I started my project process sometime in August.
If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
I love creating and one thing I’d say is I don’t like is being put in a box, I’d most definitely go crazy with my creativity and I’d love for whoever is listening to me to just stick around because it would always be good vibes. No capping.
What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like?
My goal in general would be to grow my brand to be a recognized household name, globally and internationally. Bring my African heritage to the world, while making Mama Africa proud. To be in as many collaborations as I can and just take on the music scene in my own way, without competing with anyone. A successful career for me would be leaving a legacy that empowers and breathes sincerity, true love, and magic to the ones coming and also to the ones who were there before.
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?
Mehn, I’ve worked so many 9-5s and the saying ”Na person wey wear shoe for leg sabi where e dey pain”. I’m not going to lie, all the times I worked for someone else, more than 90% of my life was dedicated to whatsoever job was at hand. I wouldn’t do that to myself again. Now I run an Aromatherapy Candle and Healing Crystal Store with a very dear friend while working on my music too at my own pace.
Where can people reach you on all platforms?
I can be reached on Instagram & TikTok @naomi.rogue, Twitter @naomirogueworld, Email email@example.com, and if you search Naomi Rogue on any search engine that would bring out more content.