It was a Sunday. A couple of days before Christmas so you can imagine the festivity in the air. Everyone’s either thinking about the next motive or recovering from the litness of the last one. December 2019. Life was pretty simple. I pulled up to his apartment. There Bliizzy was on the couch, with his two iPhones (why does he have two?) on the table and a blunt in his left hand. Shirtless as usual, but never unkempt.
I had it in my mind to sit with him and discuss his music life. The life that was more open to the general public. People only realize that they know you for something notable, but most times never actually know the story of how you got to that point of acknowledgement. I realized I might not have this chance in the near future so easily. So I took the opportunity to take myself, and you, the reader, into Bliizzy’s world.
“Being in the industry is hard man. Anybody wey tell you say e easy, dem dey lie to you.”
Of course, nobody expects it to be easy. But the sincerity in his eyes showed that it was even harder than you probably once thought. Bliizzy continued, “Show promoters want you to pay them before you can perform at their shows. I mean, if you don’t want me to perform, just say so man.” This is a reality that several other budding artists face in a bid to showcase their art. The opportunity to steal even five minutes of a show’s time comes rarely. And mostly at a price of ill-treatment. A lack of hospitality that is spread not just only in Nigeria but across the world.
How has is it been for you to build a fan base for yourself?
It’s just like getting people to try out new food. Honestly it’s not easy to achieve at first because human beings are conditioned to prefer things that they see often. So, it’s hard to achieve without money. People don’t really know what they want when it comes with music. You gotta convince them [with the sound].
Obviously that comes with periods of self-doubt…
As an upcoming artist, you gotta have a team. Not necessarily people who give you money, but people who keep you sane. A support system, if you will. Sometimes I wake up and I don’t wanna record. Other times, I wake up and scream “we die here!” *laughs* This support group has other artists. We all help each other in times of self doubt. When it gets tough for me, someone else could call and give me some powers. And I’d do the same for them.
It’s not all thorns for Bliizzy though. Despite the issues an artist of his growing level faces on a regular basis, he has had his fair share of wins.
Voice2Rep was a big deal for you, wasn’t it?
Yeah man. It kinda came out of nowhere. One thing led to another, next thing I know, I’m being flown out to Abuja to perform. I got flown out twice. I even shot a video for “Darkside” off the Voice2Rep album, all paid for by Chocolate City.
Voice2Rep is an initiative set up by an NGO called Accountability Lab in partnership with Chocolate City.
So that means you met M.I Abaga…
Yes. I remember when he first walked in. The first thing that came to my head was, “omo, this guy short o!” *laughs* But yeah man. As he spoke, I realized that his thought process was different. He might have his little flaws but he’s a great mind. I look up to him.
Bliizzy did come across Vector during the well publicized back and forth with M.I late last year. He had a little chit-chat with Vector that seemed inconsequential but stuck with him. Bliizzy dropped the blunt and put his shirt back on. Now in an obviously lighter mood, we continued.
Since all this happened, surely there’s been guys and girls trying to get on the Bliizzy train.
Yeah, but I don’t pay so much attention to them. There was this girl who would leave my texts on “delivered”. I had this picture with M.I and I posted it. A few days after, she texts me.
Her real dad!
On God bro. I had to tell her to fall back. I’m not even signed yet.
The conversation drifted towards school and how he balances it with his music. He spoke his piece on how social event organizers treat artists with a lack of respect. Bliizzy said, “There was a time during Moremi’s Hall Week, I tried to perform there. Of all suggestions, they asked me to perform while the cooking competition was going on. I know I’m trying to get my music out there, but there’s a limit to the disrespect. How’s anyone supposed to pay attention to my music when they’re paying attention to the food?” He highlighted some mainstream artists who have had similar poor treatment during their time as students of UNILAG.
As a budding artist, you want to work with the so-called “big” boys. The producers who have worked with your faves. So that maybe, just maybe, you could recreate the same vibes. Bliizzy spilled some tea on some shady (to put it lightly) business he has witnessed in the hands of big producers. For the purpose of this interview, real names of the people involved will not be used.
What actually happened with that though? The shady dealings.
My friend who’s also an artist hit up this producer, you know. To give him a solid beat. Same producer’s worked with Wizkid and Burna previously. So my guy hits him up, and this producer bills him 300,000 Naira. Which he pays. The beat comes in, and it’s not good. It’s not the same type of beat he’d give Burna or Wiz.
But that’s fine. He records on it, and it’s time to get it to another sound engineer for mixing. This producer had previously agreed to get the song to the engineer to work on. But he doesn’t. The mix comes back, and it’s also not good. This same producer bills him again to get the song to the previously agreed engineer. He pays, and next thing we know, my guy’s blocked. I tried to make some noise about it on Twitter once, I don’t know if anyone noticed. But that’s what we face as young artists.
The story comes with ups, downs and a lot of things in between. But, Bliizzy is taking it all in his stride. He has a new EP out sometime this year, titled “GVNDM” (pronounced Givin Dem). The promo merch for this is available on his Twitter page. As it all comes together for the Ikorodu-bred songwriter, we stand in optimistic hope for the achievement of his goals.