Bez Idakula as he is formally known, is a soft spoken person. As a musician, he brings a fresh angle to music as far as the ‘Nigerian Sound’ is concerned. He comes at a time when a very precious few have chosen to walk away from the mainstream staple of tin can music (or Kpangolo music as it is called) to make music for a different set of palettes entirely. The (inconclusive) list is short to say the least: Asa (Folk), Beautiful Nubian (Folk), Etcetera (Soft Rock) and Lami (Neo-Soul). He is signed to CAMP (Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions) – A production outfit owned by foremost music production maestro, Cobhams.
Their combination is an incendiary one to say the least – A symbiotic relationship of hit-beat-maker and potential hit-music-maker (think along the lines of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake). It is safe to say that Bez is genuinely good at what he does. Quiet as he usually is, he flipped the switch with us and let us truly know Bez.
Come along with us..
BN: Bez, at what point did you decide that you were going into music fulltime?
Bez: It was in Covenant University about 2005; one of my friends said to me, ‘Bez you are pretty good at doing this,why don’t you just do it full time’ and he gave me instances like let’s say R. Kelly didn’t do music or J.J. Okocha didn’t play ball then we would never have known about them or enjoyed what they had to offer. I loved music all the while but I never really thought I’d go into it full time. So after that talk with him I thought about it and I just went into it full time.
BN: You say you’ve always loved music. Have you been into it since you were young?
Bez: Yeah I come from a musical family…my late dad used to play the guitar, my mom used to sing as well. They had a choir that my dad formed so we used to sing at family gatherings and things like that. I started playing the guitar when I was nine. So I’ve always played the guitar, and it’s what a lot of people have come to identify me with.
BN: How would you describe your music?
Bez: I call my music Alternative Soul. The major genre is soul, but putting alternative in front of it you have the freedom to experiment with lots of fresh sounds; you could mix up a bit of Reggae, a bit of Hip-Hop, a bit of Jazz, a bit of World Music, just to give it that fresh sound that people are looking for. People are tired of what’s coming out of the industry these days so I aim to bring a fresh sound to the table. That’s why I call it Alternative Soul because I can infuse other genres into it and make it sound eclectic.
BN: Where do you draw inspiration for your songwriting from?
Bez: I usually have a process for writing my songs. I hear something, either music, or a random hum, or a sound from a bird or commercial or just something in my head. I take that sound and create something totally new from it, and build it up with the help of my guitar. Also, I always ask for creativity from God to help me come up with lyrics.
BN: How did you start working with Cobhams?
Bez: It was in 2008, and Asa was coming in for her first tour in Nigeria. She was supposed to have a two day gig in Lagos. He called me randomly because we had met through a mutual friend, Omolara and he said they were looking for someone to open up for Asa and they needed someone with a similar style of music. So he called me into the studio and auditioned me there. So I ended up opening for Asa for the two gigs she had in Lagos. It was fantastic, the response was great. So from then on we have been friends and we decided to work together.
BN:And how has working with him been?
Bez: Cobhams is a very busy guy. I’ve been with him for about 2 years now and we still haven’t finished the album. But I understand that, because he needs daily money to run his business. I know Bez is a long term project and I’m cool with that. Most of the time after working we just chill then work at night; most of my songs were done at night. Sometimes I get inspired and I write and show him. He stops whatever he’s doing and goes “Lets get this down”. It’s been amazing working with him. He’s got a good spirit. I feel blessed working with him and his crew. They are people with good hearts.
BN: When you initially started out, before meeting Cobhams, what was that like? What were your major challenges?
Music just like any business has its incubation period, where you hone your skills, develop yourself and grow. i.e. paying your dues. I always had it at the back of my mind that the path I chose to tread was the least traveled, so I was a bit prepared but I guess you’re never too prepared. There were a lot of difficult times when I was making nothing from gigs, there was no visible progress. Add that to people pressuring you because they have high expectations from you and so on. Some friends and family members really helped in such periods. I was housed, fed, and taken care of. I really have been blessed.
BN: What are your challenges now?
Bez: My challenges now are about the next move, how to get this music out there with minimum piracy, proper distribution and basically the rest of the challenges we face as players in the music industry. Apart from that, I take every other thing as part of the road obstacle and find a way to go around it. I think when we don’t have challenges, we should throw some our way because only by overcoming them do we know that we have grown and are successful.
BN: Speaking of your album. How far have you come, as far as recording is concerned?
Bez: We are rounding up everything, recordings and all and by the end of August hopefully we start mastering and getting the whole package ready for September 7th; that’s when I want to launch the album.
BN: So how many tracks are on it? Are there any songs we should watch out for? Are there any that are your favorites?
Bez: The proposed name of the album is ‘Super Sun‘ and there’s a song on it with the same name that I like so much, so yeah that one. I wrote most of the songs on the album so I guess I pretty much like all of them. We are looking at either 11 or 13 tracks for the album because once we are done we will have a selection process that will decide which songs go on the album.
BN: Tell us about your Singles
Bez: Yeah I have two songs out on air: Zuchiya Daya which means One Heart and Stop Pretending which is a clean acoustic track and like a bonus for the single Zuchiya Daya. They have been playing on air for a bit. We just released a video for one of the songs from my album called More You.
BN: What was the shooting experience like, for this video?
Bez: It was amazing. We had a photo shoot on the Monday before, because of the storyline of the video so we needed pictures for the photo album in the video then on Tuesday we had the exclusive shoot – for just me and my love interest. It went on from about morning till 1am the next day. Then on Wednesday we had the last scene which was a funeral scene. The video was directed by Kemi Adetiba.
BN: What determines your sense of style?
Bez: I’m a creative, so I tend to want to do things differently from the lot by sporting something new and fresh once in a while . Even though I am not able to achieve that all the time, I think I’m heading towards a stage where with more resources I can venture into experimenting the ideas I have and what other people come up with for me.
BN: The glasses that you wear half the time, are those recommended?
Bez: Half the time like when I’m not in the shower or in Bed? (Laughs) Well I have been wearing glasses for a long time, so yes they are recommended.
BN: Do we see you taking them off soon?
Bez: Hmmm, I doubt you’ll ever see Bez without his glasses, well..not if you bribe him with a nice home cooked meal and wine though (Laughs)
BN: With your status as a ‘celebrity’ how has that affected your private/love life?
Bez: (Laughs)Ii like how u put that in quotes…well I don’t think my present status has affected much. I’m just aware that I have to work harder and make whatever I’ve built, with the strong help of people around me, grow very well. I still have my friends and loved ones around me and I respect them because they’ve supported me so much. Also, if I need to throw a random peck here or there while in public, why not?
BN: What advice do you have for upcoming artistes in your genre of music?
Bez: First I believe in things going according to God’s plan and purpose for you and if something is really your purpose things always work out. Doors always open up for you. I’ve come this far because of God’s favor on my life; because I’m walking in His will for me. It also includes a lot of hard work. Some people will want to take your art for granted. You have to get the right people to work with. Of course you will have to do free gigs coming up but that’s part of the whole journey – the process. You just have to be resilient and you have to keep pushing. I always say there’s enough space in the sky for stars. It can never be too crowded. So don’t bring someone down to move up. If you are gonna compete, compete with yourself. Challenge yourself to become better every day.
Watch Bez – More You