VRSD is a fresh graduate rapper from Ogbomoso in Oyo state, Nigeria.
Hi, VRSD! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
Hey, fam. I’m alive, pushing. My name’s VRSD (pronounced Versed), I’m an artiste and writer. I hail from Ogbomoso, a large town in Oyo State. It’s the nexus point of the country, you can directly face and journey to any part of the country from here. It’s my hometown and place of birth. That’s where you can currently find me. Been on lockdown, it’s deep man. Home feels like a big cage. Indoors, no job, no pay. But I’m not here to fail, I respirate, and I’ve been making the best that I can out of it. Been writing, writing, writing, becoming a better person, a better artiste and songwriter, recording here and there too; still a major problem for me, though. Also, been learning how to use my social media better as a tool as regards my music and brand
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was very nice, ngl. It was lots of love. At the early stage, it was lots of church (my dad doesn’t go to church, though. I’ve stopped going for a long while now too). Plenty of music than movies. We had freedom too. Born and grew up in Ogbomoso. Family of six. I’m the first child, three siblings. My family possesses a very thick and decent Yoruba background, culture, and pride. My mum was a teacher. She taught in the nomads at a time; I used to follow her to her work and it was a good experience— relating with the nomads. My dad’s an author, poet, writer, songwriter, culture promoter, and media consultant. He had a career as a journalist in his earlier years. He provided me many books to read, especially biographies. I read countless newspapers too. I remember I used to frequent NTA, Ogbomoso with my uncle. It was interesting. I’ve great friends too.
What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
My earliest memorable music experience as a listener must have been K1’s “Obele Ton Jo” – some gospel songs too that I can’t remember – so K1. I remember listening to Craig David’s “Walking Away” and Darey Art Alade’s “Not The Girl I Used To Know” too, I was young. I listened to a lot of D’Banj and Mo’Hit’s music, King Sunny Ade, Barrister, Saheed Osupa, Shola Allyson, Odunlami Ayeloyun, Ibrahim Labaika, Ayinla Omowura, Fatai Olowonyo, Da’Grin, Lil Wayne/Young Money, Ice Prince, Wizkid. I jammed plenty of music. I still do.
Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Kind of. It was DaGrin in JSS3. I was biting his “Democrazy” song flow and lyricism. That was when I wrote my first rap, at our dining table.
When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
I started creating with DJ Delex, now known as RSPKT. I would rap on Lil Wayne’s beats, YouTube beats. Yes, I knew I was going to do this professionally, especially when I realized I was the only person left still writing and recording songs among all my friends. I started taking music seriously in 2016. Later in that year, I dropped my first EP, “Youth N Truth”.
Who & what inspires you to make music now?
What inspires me to make music has always been the same things that inspired me at the start; to use it to reflect my society, express myself, speak for those that can’t, and make positive changes. For the money too. I can make a great impact with my music. Like Ab-Soul said, “if we can’t change the world, we will manipulate it.” Since I’m great at rapping, writing, I can get better always and make great music too. I draw inspiration from my environment, my knowledge, and experiences, vices, events too. I draw inspiration from other creatives too. PayBac Iboro, Show Dem Camp, Kendrick Lamar, and Mick Jenkins all influence me so much.
Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
None currently but I used to play maracas when I used to go church. I’ll get one for my entertainment soon. I can’t produce and engineer myself right now but I’m always pretty much involved in the music creation.
When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
I’m always very focused anytime I’m writing or recording. Omo, I will do a million takes and rewrite lines till I get it perfect. I just get right into it, get into the perfect headspace for the song I’m working on, but I get really quiet before creating. It gets me more immersed in what I’m doing.
Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
I put myself, my craft, and my goal first when creating music but I pay attention to what’s out there too.
Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
Yeah, I have performed on stages several times when I was in Unilorin. My favorites so far are the two editions of O’TOBI’s “Positive Chillz” concert in 2018 and 2019. They happened in Ilorin. I also performed at D.S.6’s “Deuces 2.0” inside Palms Mall, Ilorin; it’s the biggest stage I’ve been on so far. Every performance has been wonderful. They boost my confidence, morale, and help me to better with the audience engagement next time.
How is support from your family regarding your music?
I’m blessed to have a very very supportive family. They have been very supportive from the start. My fam, we support each other equally. Everyone’s cool. I love and appreciate them so much.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist?
Consistency has been my biggest challenge so far. But now that’s changing. More consistency onwards.
Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
Signing to a label that knows what it’s doing and what to do with my music and brand is very important. Providing adequate funds/budgets, connections, getting me and my product into rooms that wouldn’t just open (easily) if I take the indie route is what being with a properly structured label will get me. It’s alright to have both experiences and see the one that works best. I most definitely want to have total control over my creative processes and creation though.
What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
Hard work, discipline, patience are some of the crucial things I have learnt. It’s important to read extensively and practice too. Rapko said, “practice, practice, that’s the recipe.” Collaboration and building great and healthy relationships cannot be overlooked.
Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
I’m still finding my style and visual brand. I’m not there yet, but in due time. Everything will come together. I don’t use a stylist now but I’d love my younger brother Rhude, to be my stylist.
How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
I’ve not been consistent but I intend to change that with the release of my new collaborative tape – HOMEMADE – with Bionic the Soul King. It is a solid Hip-Hop project and it’s out now. The music climate influences my decision to release music and also, I check-in with some experienced musically-inclined people I trust.
Any projects coming soon?
“Youth N Truth” dropped November , 2016 and it’s like a wake-up call to my fellow teens/youth to open our minds, eyes and fly. HOMEMADE with Bionic the Soul King is out now. HOMEMADE puts light on some of the vices and misconceptions in my society; also touches my setback, fears, frustrations, belief and philosophy, family, reminisces, and optimism. It’s done in a simple style as if made at home.
If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
Whether given the chance or not, I will invent a new chariot. I love pushing boundaries. I prefer to be radical with each release; HOMEMADE exhibits that quite much. It is a great project and I really want people to listen to my shit.
What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like?
The goal is to build a solid and sustainable career. Take care of my loved ones. I don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow. I want to be here for a long time. I want to have a remarkable career. I want little girls to have a VRSD shirt on in twenty years, even if they don’t know what my face looks like.
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 just got out of school so I don’t have a 9-5 yet. But omo, I go get a job. Gotta use the money to push my music till it pops. Survival versus impact mehn; I will keep working it till I can survive on impact, you get?
Where can people reach you on all platforms?
I use the same username everywhere; Twitter, IG, Facebook. Holla me at @ALLCAPSVRSD. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Link to my new EP – https://fanlink.to/vrsdxbionic