SirBastien makes music to make day to day life more exotic and interesting.
Hi, SirBastien! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
Hey, I’m very well. You?
My name is Fajebe Babatunde, with the stage name Zahzah, an artiste from Lagos, Nigeria
Basically, I spent the lockdown with my family and friends, I also recorded a lot of songs along side reading the books I have always wanted to read.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was very relaxing, I used to play with a lot of sticks outside. Wasn’t the type to watch TV much. I grew up in UCH Ibadan. I’m from Edo State. My childhood was mostly quiet, always looked forward to the occasional hob nobs and coke that came home with my Dad after work.
What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
My earliest memory is of myself listening to Wyclef’s “the Ecleftic” (I probably know every lyric on the album by heart). I was always listening to (and still do) Coldplay, Wyclef and Linkin Park. I also listened to the Graceland album by Paul Simon which is a major inspiration on my music today. And there was Eminem as well, I made a lot of videos trying to rap like he did.
Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Yes they did significantly.
When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
I started playing the guitar around 2012 and I started producing in 2014. I didn’t do anything serious until 2016. I didn’t know I was going to. I started taking it seriously when I met Eri Ife, we made a lot of music in 2016 together.
Who & what inspires you to make music now?
I’ve always wanted to make music that my family and friends would listen to and genuinely have a good time. I wouldn’t ever want to make “okay” music that people close to me would only listen to because we are close or related. So I guess my major inspiration are the people around me. I draw inspiration from my friends, who often assist in the writing process, I also draw inspiration from African musicians and all the Western musicians that came to Africa to draw inspiration themselves (Paul Simon, Johnny Clegg, and maybe Vampire Weekend). My influences are Beatenberg, Bon Iver, Juls, Santi and many many more.
Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
I play the guitar and a little piano. I produce and engineer myself, although I’ve been trying to work with other producers more often to improve and grow the sound. I am super involved, mostly the only one around when making a song from start to finish.
When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
I always think of whether I’m moving my head to it, or if I feel any chills. If I don’t enjoy the music myself, then I delete haha. To get into the mood, I take a shower or learn how to play a popular song to enter the mind of a ‘musician’.
Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
I find it very hard to describe what I make. I like to call it “Contemporary Afro Beat”. It’s groovy but not too groovy. I want to make my listeners enjoy their daily duties more like cooking, washing dishes, taking a walk. I want my music to enhance those activities and make day to day life more exotic and interesting..
Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
I have. I was always the guitar player in a band, and that felt fantastic. I had a solo gig once, I forgot my lyrics haha.
How is support from your family regarding your music?
Support from them has always been phenomenal, they’re my number 1 team.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist & producer?
13.Writing lyrics, I find writing extremely tough..
Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
I’d rather be independent. Wouldn’t want to start churning out “Baby girl, hold my hand”.
What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
I’ve learned that everyone has a part to play in your life and leaving people out of it isn’t the best. Most people I’ve worked with have become my very close friends and we always help ourselves out whenever and however we can.
Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
I don’t have a fashion sense and that bothers me. I always find myself wearing an orange or red tee shirt on woolen pants. No stylist either, looking for one :).
How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
I try to release two things every year, a single and a body of work. I have something out this month. Details shall be flooding in soon enough. My manager and I decide what day would be best considering everything that’s goes on in the world and in the music industry.
What was the idea behind MANGO?
The idea for “Mango” my last project was to envision yourself in a tropical rainforest at night. I see it as a very dark album even though it has a couple of highs. The new project is going to be a tropical beach side during the day, so mostly highs and one or two lows. Night and Day, physical releases will include the two projects.
If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
I would definitely build a new chariot. Bon Iver has constantly changed their sound over the course of their 4 album discography. Each album was attributed to a season and that really struck a chord with me. No one wants to anticipate listening to more of the same.
What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like?
My 2021 goal is to do 1M streams. I don’t know what next from there haha. But one step at a time. A successful career for me would be the possibility to work on more music with a more diverse lineup (from Africa to Asia) and be recognized in my efforts towards that. More everywhere and not just Nigeria.
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 would totally take a 9 to 5. Right now I’m a musician full time until the pandemic ends I guess.
Where can people reach you on all platforms ?
You can see me on @sirbastienmusic on Twitter and Instagram. If you have music you’d love to work on with me, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.