Every artiste has a story. It’s different for everyone, and no two paths to success are the same. But, it is all important. And most of all, beautiful to watch unfold. In the midst of the fast moving pace of the world, I found time to sit down with Elton Odoemenam, also known as Eltxn. He’s our first artiste on RADR Africa’s New School.
C: When was the moment that you realized that music was something you wanted to pursue?
E: I’ve dreamt of doing this for as long as I can remember. I’ve been obsessed with music since I was 4. And I discovered my talent as a singer at really young age too, maybe 5 or 6. I never thought it would be a possibility though, especially with how my parents were, you the really strict and protective type. So for a while I gave up on it, especially because I was never an “afrobeat” guy, and I’m still not. The kind of music I was influenced by and thought I could make wasnt popular in Nigeria. But when I saw how the “alte scene” did it, and how successful some of them were, I thought I could pull something off myself too. So here I am.
C: You were involved in music for a while while you were in Whitesands. I remember you being in some collective, BFTU or something? What made you pull away from it at that time, and what motivated you to come back?
E: *laughs* I’m shocked you remember that, honestly I thought no one was paying attention back then. There was a time I was messing around with the idea of being a musician, like most of us did, but I didn’t really have a concrete plan or vision because I still didn’t think it was possible. B.F.T.U was actually my stage name then, it means “Break From The Usual”. Ridiculous, but you get the idea of what I wanted to be, the name is pretty self-explanatory.
C: Who are your influences? Both musicians and people around you who you have a relationship with?
E: I have a lot of influences and I listen to a ton of music everyday. I grew up on a lot of R&B, so I’m a pure R&B boy, to the core. I’m talking Usher, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Mario, Joe, D’Angelo, Donell Jones etc. Right now, the guys I admire the most, and want to shape my style after are AYLØ, Tay Iwar and Odunsi. (AYLØ is actually my favourite African artist.) Those guys are just at another level of creativity and skill, and that’s the level I wanna get to.
As for those I have a relationship with, I’d say a long time friend who goes by the name of ’60. Talented producer and engineer, and helped me understand some of the basics that go on BTS of the music-making process. I met Fefe Fab when I got to BU, and he’s been a big help too, and a great friend. Been able to pick some of his knowledge too.
C: How has it been trying to carve out a fan base for yourself? You have two new singles out now, has there been a plan to help it get pushed further?
E: Most people don’t know this, but building and MAINTAINING a fanbase is the most difficult part of being an artist. Cause like 20-30k songs are being uploaded everyday to streaming platforms, but who’s actually listening to all that? So you gotta have fans, or no one’s gonna play your shit. For me it’s been slow, but organic. I try to relate with the few fans I have on a personal level. It’s tough but it’s fun too, you know. I’m gonna try to keep feeding this core fanbase, because I believe in the power of people, and one day this core of like 20, could easily turn to a 100, and then a 1000, and then 10k and so on. It [pushing the music] is difficult to do without the fund. So I just want to build a reputable catalogue of songs first, so I have some sort of track history when I eventually make the step up.
C: Describe your first studio experience.
E: I’ve never actually been to a proper studio, almost everything I’ve recorded has either been in a dorm room, or in living room somewhere. So I can’t really answer that yet.
C: Who do you record with? When’s your fave time to record?
E: I record with my other music friends. I’ve recorded at Fefe’s house. I’ve got a couple of guys who are producers that I record with also, namely Big Mike, and Killah Bass. I like to record on Fridays so I can listen to the file all weekend and decide if I want to change anything.
C: You’re studying law now, in the second semester of your final year. It must be a dilemma in your head trying to balance music and school?
E: Big dilemma really, especially since I don’t really want to be a lawyer. Not sure how I’m gonna break it to my parents, lol. But I’m gonna try my best to get this music thing to pop off, and as where life takes me from there. Might have to run one or two 9-5’s if need be. Hopefully not.
C: Have there been people who have tried to be closer to you because you’re back making music? You must have had a few groupie stories from back in Whitesands.
E: *laughs hysterically* Bro PLEASE don’t kill me man. Big big LOL. I don’t have any groupie stories man, and I haven’t reached that level of people tryna get back into my life. No toxic Christmas texts yet. We’ll get there sha, by Gods grace.
C: Congrats on your work with Fefefab and Foresythe and getting to grace the stage to perform your art. What are your goals for the new year?
E: My goal is to give my fans as much good music as possible, play as many venues in Lagos as I can, and try to land a distribution and marketing deal. But first right now, its about the music for me.
C: What has been your most difficult moment so far, in terms of the music?
E: Hasn’t really been a very difficult moment so to say, but there are many things about making music that have been difficult. Finding time to actually work on the music and juggling that with other responsibilities of being a student, getting beats you can actually use from producers, trying to build a fanbase. It’s a struggle, but it’s a beautiful struggle, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s come on this journey with me. We’ll make it happen somehow. I’m sure.
RADR Africa’s New School is dedicated to giving budding artists a voice. Every artist has a story to tell. Their struggles and successes are important to us and our readers. RADR Africa’s New School will continue to validate the voice of the artist.