Sal Ly is a multi-talented musician who grew up in Jos, Nigeria.
The artist recently released a project – Premiere – that has received rave reviews from all corners.
Hi, Sal Ly! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
Hi! I’m doing great! Thank you for having me on WTSGems. My government name is Susanna Salamatu Musa. I absolutely love sneakers and I’m a natural hair enthusiast. I’m passionate about my faith, and about advocacy for women and disabled persons and helping them get better lives. I studied Linguistics at the University of Jos, and I’m currently serving in Lafia, Nasarawa state.The lockdown started out very discouraging, but I got my behind up and ended up getting a lot of work done. It’s great.
What was growing up like for you?
My childhood was pretty normal, I think. I was born in Jos, Plateau state. Spent my whole life there as well. I’m part Buzu [Tuareg], part Fulani and I’m from Zamfara State. My parents moved to Jos as missionaries from Sokoto before I was born. My father traveled a lot though. That’s interesting, I think.
What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
My earliest experience as a music listener was watching my father sing. I always used to be so impressed by his skills. I was definitely not impressed by his vocal training for my siblings and I though [it was always really stressful], but it was useful in the end. I grew up listening to a lot of Black-Gospel and RnB music. People like: The Clark Sisters, Cece Winans, Commissioned, Whitney Houston and more. I got into hip hop when I was in JS2, and I never loooked back.
Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Definitely, they did. I’ve always looked up to these people and admired them.
When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
I started making music when I was in primary school. My family still sings my first song. It was all just for fun though, and I didn’t ever think I was going to pursue music. I thought I was going to be like a professor or something.
I started taking music seriously after my friends literally took me and forced me to make a cover of a song and put it out. I put out a few more songs, just cause, but then I really started to create from my heart and I really loved it, so I decided to take it seriously. This was in like 2018. I was still in university, and I didn’t want to let the music affect my schooling, so I took it easy. Now however, I’m all in.
Who & what inspires you to make music now?
Okay, so, the content of my creation is always from the place of my heart, which is my faith, so my music will always reflect that. My music is filled with my experiences, things that I know people will be able to relate to. I listen to a lot of hip hop, and my music is heavily influenced by that and RnB. I’m inspired by artists like Kierra Sheard, Trip Lee, Natalie Lauren, to name a few.
How would you describe the kind of music you make? What genre?
I would describe my music as urban and new age. It’s majorly RnB/Trap/Pop. I like to mix a lot of stuff, so in the future a lot of different genres are going to make it into my work.
Honestly, I want people to listen to my music and be happy. Feel peace. Be motivated to become better people.
Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
I play a little guitar, but not enough to call myself an instrumentalist. I’m re-learning though. I’m currently learning sound engineering as well. I’m very involved in my music creation process. I create all my musical arrangements and also pitch my ideas for instrumentals as well.
When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
My creative process usually begins with me getting a line, or a melody and building on it. It almost always comes when I’m deep in a mood. Peaceful, chaotic, loving, assured, and so on. I choose the direction I want the topic to go in, and then I just build from there. I prefer to make the instrumental after the song is written, but sometimes, when the creative juices are a bit dry, it’s nice to have an instrumental to write to.
Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
I always make music that makes me happy and satisfies me, where I can express my heart either through the lyrics or in the melodies I create. Music that I’d easily listen to on repeat.
Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
Yes, I’ve performed on stage a number of times. When I first started performing, I had terrible experiences because I would always forget what I wanted to say, and my awkwardness would always jump out. I’m working on channeling it though, and working towards curating mad performance sets.
How is support from your family regarding your musicy?
Support from my family is top notch! They’re always doing the most. I’m really grateful for them. It hasn’t always been this easy, but we’ve come a long way and it’s great.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist & producer?
I think the most challenging aspects of my career as an emerging female Nigerian, Christian artist – not creating the typical mainstream Nigerian church music – are achieving the levels of perfection and excellence I want with the very limited resources, and getting access to the platforms that are important to [the nature of] my music.
Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
Currently, I don’t think I would be willing to sign to a record label. Reason being that generally, the cons outweigh the pros. I need to have full control over my art, and many deals do not give that complete autonomy.
However, if a really really exceptionally good deal comes, I’d definitely consider it.
What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
It’s so important to wait out the learning process! Learning takes time, growth takes time. Strong foundations must be built, otherwise, when the pressure comes, you will cave in and lose everything. That is not a chance I’m willing to take.
Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
My fashion style is basically street fashion. I think I’m going to get a stylist soon though. Fingers crossed.
How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
In previous years, I didn’t release music very frequently. For the next two years though, a lot of music is going to be coming out. In fact, I’just put out my very first project last month! It’s titled Premiere and it dropped on the 21st of August. It has been doing really well on the charts and I’m super excited.
What are the ideas behind your recent music?
My last song before Premiere, ‘All Love’ was a celebration of family and friendship. I put it out in the height of the lockdown to help encourage people and make them feel better about the conditions we found ourselves in.
Premiere is my first project, hence the name. It’s very random, content wise, but it capitalizes on aspects of my life, love and faith. I worked with my friends on this project – I believe in building and growing with your gang. It’s lit.
If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
Oh I’m all for building a new chariot. I love to explore new aspects of my creativity. It’s super exciting, being able to create new things from a new perspective every time.
What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like?
The goal for me is to make music that lasts, music that touches millions, music that makes a lasting impression on everyone who listens to it. A successful music career for me is one that has these things as the result. Where people will say they listened to my music and felt better, and came out of the holes they were in, got their spirits in alignment and their lives on the paths they were made for.
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?
I’m currently working as a speech therapist. In as much as I would absolutely love to pursue music full time, I cannot currently do that, ’cause I have to make money to support myself and fund my music. The moment the music starts to pay enough though, best believe I’m going full time.
Where can people reach you on all platforms ?
My social media handles are @salxsally on Instagram and Twitter, and my email address for bookings and enquiries is: firstname.lastname@example.org.