WTSGems: Meet Wills- an artiste living life and paving his own way.

WTSGems: Meet Wills- an artiste living life and paving his own way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

by  Moyo Onipede  Moyo Onipede

The energetic Wolfboi who is inclined toward mixing and mastering,and will create till he gets the ‘vibe’.

Hi, Wills! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How are you coping with the lockdown?
What’s goooooood! I’m doing great. I’m Wills aka WolfBoi (Ahuuuuu!), an artist and mixing engineer involved in multiple genres like rap, grime, & afropop. I’m currently living in Lagos, the city that never sleeps! The lockdown isn’t really getting to me anymore unlike when it started. But I only go out if I necessarily have to.

What was growing up like for you?
My childhood was normal and fun. Played a lot, did a lot of silly things you know. I was always looking for trouble. I grew up in Saudi-Arabia and shuffled between there and here (Nigeria, Ibadan). Finally moved back when I was like 5. I come from a polygamous family, yeah my pups liked women plus he wanted many kids. I’m the only son out of 5 girls. I remember the first time I enrolled in a school when I finally moved here, my classmates couldn’t understand me properly because of my accent or intonation. I spoke like an Arab. I also used to set my wristwatch 2 hours ahead because of where I was coming from. Saudi Arabia is 2 hours ahead of Nigeria. I played a lot of musical instruments when I was a child like the keyboard, saxophone. I also indulged myself in a lot of sporting activities. I always loved soccer and swimming too.

What kind of music did you listen to, growing up?
When I got my first Ipod as a teen, I would load it up with so many songs. I listened to almost anything, majorly foreign artists then. Out of all those songs, I enjoyed rap the most. The ones that really inspired me were the likes of 2pac, Snoop Dogg, Eminem & Ll Wayne. I had a book, where I wrote down the lyrics to rap songs and I would memorize them over and over till I was able to rap along word for word. I would show off to my friends in school how I knew the lines better than they did.

Did your early music experiences influence you to start creating music?
Yeah, definitely. At some point, I realized I could replace the words with mine and I always had a sense of rhymes and rhythm. So I started to do that. And I used to write some pretty dope bars for that age. Bars that would burst heads of my pairs.

When did you start creating music? When did you start pursuing it professionally?
I started creating music back in high school around J. S. S. 2. I remember my first track was a cover to “Money to blow” by Drake, Lil Wayne and Birdman. I took a verse and the chorus. I can proudly say that song went viral in my school then! This was the period of infrared sharing and pre-bluetooth era. I was so euphoric! I would literally just walk down the hall or something and other students would be singing my verse. We didn’t even know jack about the music business then or Streaming platforms or whatever. I never even had the intention of taking music seriously. I just loved rapping and making music for people to enjoy. 

 I started to take music a bit seriously when I got to senior high school. Then, I would save up some money from my allowance with my friends and head to the studio to record. We started putting in more work and making more content. Exploring various ways to get our music heard. Meeting people in the music business. It was also during this period I met a lot of people who took me “Fi-diot”. I mean a lot of duping, scamming happened during this time  because those people saw the drive in us and wanted to take advantage. Some did, it hurt, but I learnt from it and moved on.

Who & what inspires you to make music now?
Mostly, I inspire myself to make music. I feel if the majority of the inspiration doesn’t come from you, then it’s really not original. My family, friends and fans also play a great role.I draw my inspiration from anything. Mostly my life. I make music based on what I’ve experienced, how I feel, what I would like to do or have done. A lot of artists inspire me. Just to name a few, Eminem, J. Cole, Kendrick, Jay Z, M. I, Burnaboy, Jhus, Jhene Aiko, Nasty C, Stormzy, Skepta.

Who & what inspires you to make music now?
Well, I make any kind of music. But, to be defined, I do Hip-hop (Rap, alternative rap, trap, grime), Afropop, Afrorap, a bit of reggae and RnB. Every song I put out is always aimed at putting the listener in a specific mood. Be it sad, happy, energetic, gloomy, remorseful etc. It all depends on the kind of emotions and information I pass across.

Do you play any musical instruments? Can you produce and engineer yourself?
I play the keyboard (not a prodigy, let’s say I’m average). I can produce but I’m more inclined to mixing and mastering. I find it way easier. I’m always fully involved in the music creation process. Always!

When you create, what’s your process like? What are some things you do to get into the zone to create?
When I create, no matter the type of beat, I always freestyle to it first till I get a ‘vibe’ that sticks and sounds super good. I usually start with the hook and I try to make sure it is catchy, or something the listener can easily recite or remember. Something they’ll be humming in their subconscious. When I’m in my zone, I must be in the right state of mind, calm, not too tensed and sometimes little bit light headed. I often times have a cup or bottle of water on deck before, during or after I record. Sitting or standing while recording also depends on the type of energy I want to put in.

Do you make music for yourself or does your audience influence your direction?
 I don’t make music for myself because I’m not planning to listen to it alone. I always make music that listeners or my fans can relate and vibe to. Let’s say the music direction is 80% me and 20% the fans/listeners.

Have you ever performed on stage? How did it feel?
Yeah, countless of times, both small and big stages. I performed a lot back in high school, and way more when I was in university. From small moments like Pageantry shows, Hall week events, club parties, comedy and music events to big moments like ‘Trace in the city’ in 2018, M.I’s CBNTour concert in 2019 , KraksFest 2.0 event in 2018, Choc Party in 2018.Performing on stage is not as easy as it seems. With a bunch of eyes staring at you and just wondering who you are, sometimes the tension gets to you. But, after a couple of performances, you get used to it and once you’re able to win the crowd, the feeling is ecstatic!

How is support from your family regarding your music?
Support from my family has always been great. So far I didn’t flunk in school, they always had my back. Right now, I’m a man of my own world and paving my way in life. The best they can do is to support me in my choices. It’s been good.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career as an emerging artist & producer?
The most challenging aspect of my music career has been funding. Money money money! If I had way more funds, I wouldn’t be where I am today. But still I’m thankful for where I am now because I have a vision of where I’m going. Not having so much funds also has been a blessing in disguise because it really helped me to think of alternatives and build on networking.

Will you rather be independent or sign to a record label right now? Why?
I’ve never been signed to a label before and still I made it this far. Yes, I would have loved to be signed to a label for the benefit of funding and taking a huge load off my back. But at the moment, I would prefer to partner with one than to be signed. Being independent for a long time has taught me so many things and given me a lot of experience. I’ll rather leverage on that than get signed and have someone tell me what to do, when to do it and how to do what I love doing best.

What have you learnt the most so far in your music and life journey?
Networking! Very important. Building your music catalogue. Never expect anything for free from anyone. Be willing to offer something in return, whether a fee or service. Also, not everyone that seems interested in you or your work actually means you well. So, I move correct and careful. Also, if you’re putting your work out there, be ready to take criticism from all types of people. The knowledgeable ones and the ones that think they know something too. Just take what you need and go. 

Many artists have distinctive visual brands. What would you say is your fashion style? Do you have a stylist?
 I dress to look good in my own way. I do not have a stylist at the moment but my fashion sense is urban and trendy. You might probably see me down the street or at an event and tell that I’m a wavy artist or I’m up to something.

How frequently do you release music? What influences your decision on when to drop music?
I’ve been working on staying consistent with releasing music. And I always make proper plans before doing so. At least, once in 2 months has been the target since the beginning of 2020. I’ve got multiple singles, collaborations and an EP titled “Wave Avenue” out. I have a joint EP with another artist, Kagedimes, dropping this August and my second EP dropping before the end of the year. I’ll be dropping singles till then though. I influence my decision on when to release music. Also, based on demand from fans. 

What was the idea behind PAMUKUTU?
My last project which was released on the 17th, July 2020 was titled “PAMUKUTU”. I recorded it late 2019 with my producer friend, Audio khemist. I decided to release it then because i felt it was just the right moment to be honest. Nothing major. And I still have lots of unreleased materials that will burst your head.

If given the chance, would you: Reinvent the wheel or build a new chariot?
I think I would try both. I would love to give the fans something similar if they enjoyed the last one. At the same time, I do not like being predictable. Give them something new, something they won’t see coming. Wolf way! 

What’s the goal for you? What would a successful career for you look like
Goals are never-ending. Every project has a different goal with me. It could be to gain more buying/super fans, increase streaming numbers, sell merchs etc. The goals are all inter-dependent. But in the end, it’s all to make good music that resonates with the fans and listeners while making good money at it. A successful music career is one where I make enough money from my music that I may never have to work a 9-5 again.

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?
Yhep. It’s only logical. Doing music is highly capital intensive. So if you are not rich, or do not have investors at your beck and call, you better have something bringing in money to create and push the music because it won’t do that itself. Yes, I currently work a 9-5 as a service engineer.

Where can people reach you on all platforms ?
My social media handles are IG – @willsayo Twitter – @willsayo
If you need to contact me, my mail is wills.wolfboi@gmail.com

About The Author

Moyo Onipede
Moyo Onipede

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